“A dream is a wish your heart makes” are the words to a beloved Disney song, and in Karlee Provenza’s case, one that came true. But it almost didn’t.

It took until nearly 10 p.m. for results to be counted, and when these were, it was close, very close. Karlee Provenza squeaked to victory by a mere 160 votes over her opponent, Roxie Hensley, 2043-1883 (in unofficial votes).

Running a good campaign was something Karlee Provenza felt she did.

This was Provenza’s first run for office, and prior to the polls closing, admitted she was hopeful, but had some jitters.

“I’m excited,” she said. She was also eager and hopeful. “I feel we did everything we could. It’s now up to the voters. I really want this.”

For Provenza, there was a defining moment when she decided to run for office. For all her life her mother has had health issues. At this point in her life, her mother can hardly get around.

“My husband and I were in our car discussing what we could do for her,” she said. At that point she realized she had her epiphany. “I was tired of this overwhelming feeling asking people to do the right thing.”

She was talking about the politicians who didn’t seem to care about the constituents of theirs who are less fortunate, who can barely make ends meet, who lack health insurance; in short, the poor.

She said she is not like that, she doesn’t wait to be asked. For the past year, she has been an advocate for the community.

Hensley was feeling confident coming into tonight’s election day race. One of the reasons, she said, was due to what she learned following her first attempt at elected office a few years back.

“I learned a few things,” said Hensley, and listed several lessons of what she learned from her first campaign. “I got a lot more help.”

She also hired consultants. Plus she reached a broader base.

“People were reaching across the state to me,” she said.

All in all, Hensley felt she ran a good campaign.

Even before she ever thought of running for elected office, she had always had a keen interest in politics, always watching every election day results. In fact, it wasn’t her idea to run the first time, she said. She was approached by the Republican party.

“I said I’d give it a try,” Hensley said.

This time it was her decision to run again, and the pandemic had a major influence in that.

“When COVID-19 hit, as a small business owner, we reached out to our representatives and to the legislature. No one responded,” she said. “People should be able to reach out.”

Although this was her second attempt, Hensley is not a stranger to government. She is an attorney for the state and has been since 2006. She is involved with abused and neglected children, and families.

Phone calls to both Hensley and Provenza for comments were not returned.

Sherwood vs. BurkhartDemocratic nominee Trey Sherwood defeated Republican nominee Matt Burkhart to win the Wyoming House of Representatives seat in District 14.

Sherwood unofficially tallied 2,148 votes compared to 2,063 votes for Burkhart.

“I’m really humbled. Our country and our nation is divided right now,” Sherwood, who is the director of the Laramie Main Street Alliance Board and serves on the Laramie Public Art Coalition, said. “I want to show my appreciation and make sure that my constituents know I am here to serve them.”

Sherwood is in favor of equitable tax reform and using CARES money to help fund essential services that have been cut by the Wyoming Departments of Health and Family Services. She is also adamant that “we cannot cut our way out of this budget crisis.”

“With this budget crisis, it isn’t just cuts to essential services … it’s across the board,” Sherwood said. “It’s the governor saying ‘We aren’t going to plow our roads.’ I’m not in favor of cutting anymore. I feel like we’ve cut enough.”

Sherwood is also in favor of Medicaid expansion, as having 90% of it funded is a no-brainer in her eyes.

“It’s a head and heart issue. The heart is we need to take care of our neighbors,” she said. “The head part is, any time you can leverage resources as a grant writer … if you get 90% of the costs taken care of, why (wouldn’t you)?”

Much of her work involves building relationships and helping fledgling businesses get off the ground. In a lot of ways, Sherwood believes that her working with people from all different backgrounds in the business world will be advantageous in helping her work with Republicans across the aisle on various issues.

“There’s an entire spectrum of political beliefs in the business community. And I’ve never thought about it. I never think about their politics,” she said. “I think about their dream, their desire.”

Term limits for Wyoming House of Representative seats are for two years.

Andrew vs. ChesnutRepublican nominee Ocean Andrew defeated Democratic nominee Tim Chesnut to win the Wyoming House of Representatives seat in District 46.

Andrew unofficially received 3,409 votes compared to 2,323 votes for Chesnut.

“I’m honored to be elected to represent House District 46. We ran a campaign based on liberty, individualism and small government,” Andrew said. “We proved that Wyomingites want to be free, want to be left alone, and believe that we, not the government, know what’s best for our own families.”

Andrew is a local business owner who attended the University of Wyoming. This is his first time campaigning for an elected seat, but said he has been interested and involved in politics for some time.

Among Andrew’s platform points is more advocation for small government and Wyoming’s fiscal responsibility. He is also against raising taxes given the current state of small businesses and the impact it would have on families. The more money people have in their pockets, the more they can put back in the economy.

“I think it’s really important we don’t have an income tax in our state,” Andrew said. “I’d like to make sure we keep it that way.”

Andrew’s stance on Medicaid is that, while he firmly believes in protecting vulnerable citizens, expanding it is not the answer due to the burden it puts on taxpayers and the fact that it would spread resources extremely thin.

Term limits for Wyoming House of Representative seats are for two years.

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