CHEYENNE – Come January, the Laramie County Board of Commissioners will look the same as it does now, as incumbents K.N. “Buck” Holmes and Brian Lovett beat out Democratic challenger Jeff Dockter in Tuesday’s election.
“I think that probably the voters like my pragmatic approach to solving problems for Laramie County … and I’d like to thank them,” Holmes said. “I’ll continue to work hard and long for Laramie County.”
Lovett won with 30,547 votes (40.9%) and Holmes clinched the other seat with 26,932 votes (36.1%). Dockter earned 16,057 votes (21.5%).
A retired ranch owner, Holmes has served on the Laramie County Board of Commissioners since 2012. Over the past eight years, Holmes said he’s proud of his efforts working to build local public-private partnerships with Microsoft, as well as bringing Magpul Industries to Cheyenne and a distillery to Pine Bluffs.
Holmes said his two biggest priorities going into the next four years will be responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and rural development.
“We have some problems,” Holmes said. “But one of the things I’m very proud of is we’ve been able to keep our budget conservative, and we’ve been able to save a few dollars.”
He added that the budget isn’t perfect, which is why county employees were not given raises this year, and departments were asked to cut back 20%. But he said he’ll work to further diversify Laramie County’s economy and build a more stable workforce.
Laramie County currently has one of the highest levels of reserves in the state, and Holmes told the Wyoming Tribune Eagle in a previous interview it’s a good sign that the county consistently finishes projects on time and under budget. Earlier this year, the county saved more than $500,000 by repaying the loan for the Event Center at Archer early.
Holmes said he’d like to continue on that track while building up and improving infrastructure in Laramie County.
“I’d like to congratulate Brian and also Jeff,” Holmes added. “I think everyone ran a nice clean, cordial campaign, and there were three really nice, competent people running for the position(s).”
Brian Lovett will also continue serving as a commissioner after being appointed at the end of March to Amber Ash’s seat when she departed to serve as Cheyenne Downtown Development Authority director.
Because Ash was elected as a Republican, the Laramie County GOP’s Central Committee selected the top three applications they received, and the Laramie County Board of Commissioners selected Lovett from those three finalists for his experience with regulations at the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, as well as his involvement on local boards and committees.
Through the years, Lovett has sat on the Laramie County Recreation Board, the Laramie County Planning Commission and the Laramie County Conservation District’s Board of Supervisors, where he served as treasurer for eight years. He’s also served on the Laramie County Groundwater Control Committee, the Friday Food Bag Foundation’s Founding Board of Directors and the Wyoming Natural Resource Foundation’s Board of Directors.
Lovett has previously told the WTE he thinks his deep understanding of regulations and his experience with budgeting will be valuable resources for the Board of Commissioners.
On Tuesday, he said his biggest priorities in the months and years ahead will be responding to COVID-19 and its negative impact on local businesses.
“I think the biggest thing is working through this COVID thing and doing what we can to keep our businesses alive,” he said. “I also focused throughout the campaign – and will going forward – on our housing. With the missile (replacement) program coming in, and with a lot of interest in businesses relocating here, we just don’t have enough housing.”
Lovett added that he believes voters have confidence in him after his six-month trial period following Ash’s departure, and he plans on continuing to be a valuable member of the team.