CHEYENNE – Wendy Soto says Laramie County Community College changed her life, so she is running for a second term on the school’s Board of Trustees to ensure the same opportunities for others.
“I have a level of dedication and interest in LCCC because the college did so much for me,” Soto said. “I enjoy seeing that the college continues to change people’s lives, and I enjoy being a part of that.”
When she started at LCCC, she was a single mother looking to improve life for herself and her children. She graduated from the paralegal program in 1990, which launched her into a career in public administration and government service.
Soto said she also earned an associate degree at LCCC, served as an adjunct instructor in the paralegal program and took some of her master’s classes through the University of Wyoming there.
After serving for four years on the board, Soto said she has an understanding of how things work at the college, so she is seeking reelection Nov. 3 to one of the four open at-large seats on the board. She noted that her previous experience will be important as the board faces some challenging choices.
“Right now, we’re in the middle of some difficult times with the pandemic and with our budget crisis with Wyoming’s economic issues, and there are going to be some tough decisions that we will have to make,” Soto said.
She said her work as executive director of the Wyoming Commission on Judicial Conduct and Ethics has given her experience with making budget decisions.
“I am dealing with budget cuts at work as a director of an agency, so I have that experience and understanding of the state budgeting process,” she said. “Other trustees are heavily involved in state budgets. We have plenty of experience to help us evaluate that situation and make the best decisions we can.”
Dealing with the fluid and ongoing COVID-19 pandemic also tops the list of challenges the college is facing, and Soto said after resuming on-campus learning this fall, the board is now looking toward how it will deal with the virus in the spring.
“We’ve relied on the folks at the college and health care experts to help develop these return-to-business plans that are very detailed – we have thought about every possibility,” Soto said. “If the situation changes – as it has with the pandemic – the college has the ability to react to that. There will be more planning as we move through this pandemic.”
Despite these major obstacles, Soto said there are still positive things happening at LCCC.
“In the midst of this stuff – the pandemic and the budget reductions – we still have some other exciting things going on,” she said. “The Bachelor of Applied Science is going to make a huge difference in this community. We’re starting the Guided Pathways program this fall. It’s going to be important that we find a way to continue to do the great things that we’re doing at the college in the face of these other challenges.”
This fall is the first semester LCCC will be offering bachelor’s degrees after receiving approval from the state’s Higher Learning Commission. Guided Pathways is a program that helps steer students toward success in their chosen program.
Soto is one of four incumbents in the field of seven candidates for the LCCC Board of Trustees. Absentee voting begins Friday, Sept. 18, and the general election is Nov. 3.