Campbell County Candidate Questionnaire: Don Hamm for County Commissioner
GILLETTE, Wyo.– County 17 sent out a questionnaire to candidates in the August primary election. Here are the answers from Campbell County Commissioner candidate Don Hamm.
- Please introduce yourself and describe your educational and professional background. Please include your name and hometown and highlights of Campbell County’s past involvement.
I’m Don Hamm and I’m running for Campbell County Commissioner. My family moved to the county in 1916. In 1940 my grandfather bought the ranch where I was born, raised and where I live today with my wife Melody, my daughter Lexi and the Lexi’s husband, Paden, making it a fifth generation operation.
After graduating from Campbell County High School, I went to the University of Wyoming where I earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in agricultural economics. Prior to returning to the family ranch, my background included working for the Wyoming State Department of Agriculture as a State Statistician, the Conservation Service as a State Economist, Johnson County Weed and Pest as county superintendent and Sheridan College as a teacher, taking me to communities across the state before returning to Campbell County in 1979.
My service to serve Campbell County is not new, I have served on the Campbell County Public Lands Board, Campbell County Health Care Foundation Board, Powder Energy Board River on the board of the Cooperative Farmers Association and I am a board member of the Wyoming Stockgrowers Association. I was appointed by the Commissioners in February 2022 to fill a vacant Commissioner position and have enjoyed serving the citizens of Campbell County.
- Why did you decide to run for this position? Compared to the other candidates running in this election, why are you the best candidate for this position?
It’s all about the future for me. I want to see the sixth generation continue my family’s legacy in Campbell County. I also want Campbell County to continue to be the safe and prosperous place where I grew up and raised my family. Campbell County is who I am and I want to be able to give back to the community that built me.
Having served as Campbell County Commissioner, I understand the requirements and duties of the office. My lifelong experience in Campbell County provides me with valuable insight into the culture and needs of Campbell County. I have experienced the ups and downs of our local economy and seen the positive and negative attributes associated with both. When faced with an issue, I gather the necessary data and public input to make the best decisions for ALL the citizens of Campbell County.
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- The position you are applying for has minimum criteria. Do you believe there are any additional qualifications that would help the person in this role be best suited for the position? If so, how do you meet these additional qualifications? And in what ways can you improve as a leader?
I believe that a person running for this office should have a working knowledge of government budgets, procedures and policies. Through my past experience on county and state councils and as current county commissioner, I have acquired this knowledge. I have already followed a budget session and I understand better how the county budget works.
I can improve as a leader by working on the communication of information between the Board of Commissioners and the citizens as well as by listening to the concerns of the citizens. It will also help make Campbell County government more transparent to the citizens of the county.
- How have you approached the challenges you have encountered working with officials, government agencies and the public? What do you think the Board of County Commissioners can improve in its relationship with other entities?
When faced with challenges while working with officials, government agencies, or the public, I listen to all aspects of the challenge, do my own research, ask questions, and work with each party to find a solution. . Most of the time, the best way to overcome a challenge is to sit down with all parties, discuss the situation, and find a compromise acceptable to both parties.
The Board of Commissioners must improve the channels of communication and transparency with all entities and citizens. It is crucial that citizens are aware and understand what is happening in the county in order to offer their input.
- What is your vision for the future of Campbell County? If so, what new initiatives would you like to implement if elected?
I want Campbell County to continue to be a safe and prosperous place where citizens can raise their families. With the help of resources like the Innovation Center, I foresee opportunities for new uses of our natural resources. I see Campbell County continuing to expand its industrial base, providing quality jobs for citizens and encouraging growth.
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Any possibility of maintaining or expanding our economy must be considered. Campbell County currently has policies in place to implement any initiatives that arise. The Commission and the county must be willing to adapt and change as needed.
- What are the biggest challenges facing Campbell County that the Board of County Commissioners can address? How do you plan to answer it? How can Campbell County prepare for future economic downturns resulting from volatile energy markets and a global shift away from coal?
Every industry that Campbell County relies on is part of a volatile market. Volatile markets are something Campbell County has overcome for years. Campbell County has weathered many downturns and thrived through the ups. As Commissioners, we must do what we can to make the recession less of an impact on citizens. It is essential during a rise to remember sooner or later that there will be a fall. To do this, as commissioners and citizens, we must save during the good times to survive the bad times by spending only what is necessary. In addition, it is crucial to continue to provide funds for projects such as the Center for Innovation. The research of the Innovation division is essential to develop in these markets.
I believe another challenge that Campbell County faces is the 30 by 30 initiative of current administrations. This is something that one way or another will negatively affect all citizens of Campbell County. As commissioners, we need to keep abreast of this plan in order to inform our citizens of what is happening. The current administration wants to kill everything Campbell County was made on and we have to be prepared to overcome that.
- How will you effectively manage taxpayers’ money? Do you plan to promote changes to existing taxes? If yes, why? Should part of the county budget be protected from cuts? If so, what area of the budget and why should it be protected from any cuts?
I believe the best way to manage taxpayers’ money is to spend only what is necessary and save any excess. Campbell County is only one of two counties in Wyoming that does not enforce the 12-point maximum levy and every effort should be made to maintain it. I think the road and bridge, fire department and sheriff’s office need to be funded for safety and quality of life in Campbell County. Each budget item should be thoroughly reviewed and only fund the items that are best suited to taxpayers.
- Are county land use regulations and permitting processes sufficient to ensure the public interest or are they too onerous?
I am a firm believer in private property rights as long as the best interests of the land, neighborhood and surrounding people are considered. If you take care of the earth, the earth will take care of you.
- Anything else voters should know about you?
Keeping taxes low while being able to provide essential services is my number one goal. I wish to serve all citizens of Campbell County, both urban and rural. I come with no other objective than to serve the citizens to the best of my ability. My phone number is listed in the phone book, on the county website, and on my personal website, donhamm.com. I welcome all phone calls and will listen and answer your questions and concerns. I would appreciate your vote on August 16e.