Republicans choose 3 finalists to replace Schiffer

2014-07-03T06:36:00Z Republicans choose 3 finalists to replace SchifferBy LAURA HANCOCK Casper Star-Tribune The Billings Gazette
July 03, 2014 6:36 am  • 

^pCASPER, Wyo. — Forty-nine Republican precinct delegates winnowed down a list of applicants for Senate District 22, which spans Johnson and Sheridan counties, to fill the vacancy of Sen. John Schiffer, R-Kaycee, who died June 19.

The three candidates are Sheridan Mayor Dave Kinskey, Johnson County Deputy Attorney Ryan Wright and former Sherwin-Williams executive Jim Gampetro, said Jesus Rios, chairman of the Sheridan County Republican Party and chairman of the selection process Tuesday.

The list of candidates will be forwarded to the Sheridan and Johnson county commissions, which were expected to meet jointly Monday morning to make the final selection, Rios said.

Eleven people initially applied. One person withdrew because of a work conflict. Another person did not show up to Tuesday’s meeting, Rios said.

Dave Kinskey

^pKinskey has been mayor for 10 years. He has an undergraduate degree from Harvard University and a law degree from the University of Wyoming. He worked as an attorney, Realtor and CEO of a home health care business.

SD22, which has many small towns and school districts, needs a fair funding formula for distribution of revenue, he said. Kinskey wants to fight the so-called war on coal.

^pAcross the border from Sheridan, in Montana, are two coal mines that employ several of the district’s residents. He also believes there’s a war on agriculture, since the Environmental Protection Agency proposes changing the definition of several forms of surface water in the U.S., which he said could affect the industry.^p

“We’ve got to protect our ag base,” he said. “We’ve got to protect our energy base.”

Ryan Wright

^pWright has a law degree from Georgetown University, a bachelor’s from Northern Arizona University and an associate degree from Sheridan College, from which he graduated at age 17. He’s been with the Johnson County Attorney’s Office since 2012.

Wright averaged the ages of current Wyoming senators who had listed their dates of birth. The average age is about 63. Wright is 35.

“There’s really no representation for my generation, and oftentimes I hear the party and people say, ‘We need more younger people in politics,’ ” Wright said. “I put my name forward as basically volunteering to step up to the plate and say, ‘I will be involved in politics if you want me.’ ”

Jim Gampetro

^pGampetro has a general engineering degree from the Case Institute of Technology and a master’s degree from Case Western Reserve managemen^pt school, both in Cleveland.

^pHe worked in banking and in the paint industry, including a stint at Sherwin-Williams as the national vice president of store operations and president of Sherwin-Williams Development Corp.

^pThe biggest issue facing the district and state is the war on coal, he said. Coal revenues account for a large part of the state’s budget, but coal shipments from Wyoming are down. Gampetro blames EPA regulations.

“A lot of the business we get in Buffalo and Johnson County and also in Sheridan County is from the mines and mining industry — the engineering companies, the supply companies,” he said.

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