Volume 105, Number 49 - December 4, 2008
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Roscoe preparing for new job in Cheyenne
It’s official: Mr. Roscoe is going to Cheyenne.
After a long and winding saga, Democrat Jim Roscoe won the House District 22 seat in the state legislature last week.
“It feels good,” Roscoe said. “It was a long road and I feel humbled and honored.”
Roscoe had defeated Republican Charles Stough in the general election by a mere four votes, but because of alleged voting improprieties in Lincoln County’s lone precinct, a re-vote was called for in Alpine.
House District 22 is made up of three counties, with Sublette County bringing in the largest population. Going into the Alpine precinct, Stough held a lead of 41 votes. Roscoe ended up winning the precinct 320 to 163, giving him a 116 edge in the entire race.
“There was a lot of time in Alpine and I just thought I’d come this far so I should continue,” Roscoe said. “I talked to a lot of people.”
The revote turnout saw a drop in voter numbers from 691 to 483. With the shrinking campaign trail afforded by the revote, Roscoe and his opponent had a small amount of people to zero in on.
“Hopefully we didn’t bother the people of Alpine too much,” Roscoe said.
However, in order to win, Roscoe made sure to work as hard as he could. He spent plenty of hours campaigning on the bus and bus stops between Alpine and Jackson, and tried to get out the vote with a last ditch effort at the busses arriving in Alpine before the 7 p.m. poll closing time. He also traveled that route early in the morning, but was unsure of his effect.
“[People on the bus] were all asleep in blankets [during the early morning rides],” Roscoe added. “No one wanted to listen to me.”
Yet, something must have worked, because Roscoe doubled his margin of victory in this precinct to win the office. In the end, it was a match up of two unique politicians who refused to sling mud from day one.
“I felt lucky to have an opponent like Charles,” Roscoe said. “He was a gentleman and went above and beyond in this political race.”
Stough had nothing but good words for his opponent, but said that he was moving on from the race and declined to comment for this article.
Moving on is also what Roscoe must do — and in a hurry. His first legislative session starts in January.
“I’ll just be talking with people who have been contacting me [offering help and advice],” Roscoe said. “I’m just starting to read and hear what might be coming onto the floor.”
Outgoing representative Monte Olsen vowed to do what he could to help the incoming freshman.
“The challenges of this district are to really understand the whole district,” Olsen said. “I will try to meet with him before he goes to Cheyenne. I need to meet with Jim and give him my books so he has them and can look at them. That’s a tradition I’d like to continue with.”
Roscoe will more than likely be appointed to a committee, but which committee is still up in the air. Upon arriving to Cheyenne, freshman legislators are given an immediate crash course before diving into the new session.
“It’s a great thing to go to,” Olsen said. “You learn a lot, so you’re not really blindsided.”
Roscoe will look to get as involved as he can, right away, especially when it comes to Sublette County issues. One such issue would be western Wyoming’s continued efforts on property tax relief.
“There’s a possibility to change that a little bit and push that through,” Roscoe added.
He will also be meeting with the Sublette County Commissioners before taking off.
“I think Jim understands where we stand,” Commissioner John Linn said. “Through the campaign, the issues became pretty plain for him.”
Aside from property tax relief, the commissioners also noted issues ranging from energy impact mitigation to accessing private property over public land.
“We want our legislators working together down in Cheyenne to enhance our chances on making some progress on some of these western Wyoming issues,” Commissioner Joel Bousman said.
After you become elected, “it’s an entirely different story,” Olsen added — something Roscoe is looking forward to.
“I have a lot to learn, that’s the long and short of it,” he said. “But I think I’ll get lots of help.”
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