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Fox Spa owner Leah Juarez running on "government accountability" for HD 59 seat - Casper, WY Oil City News

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Fox Spa owner Leah Juarez running on “government accountability” for HD 59 seat

Courtesy Leah Juarez (Visit Casper)

CASPER, Wyo — Mills resident and owner of The Fox Spa LLC in Casper Leah Juarez is running for Representative of House District 59 in the Wyoming Legislature, a seat currently held by Republican Bunky Loucks.

According to the Natrona County Clerk’s website, Juarez is running against Mills town planner Kevin O’Hearn and David Carpenter in the Republican primaries, to be held August 18. Incumbent Bunky Loucks had not filed for re-election as of 3:16 p.m. Friday, with a a 5:00 p.m. deadline to file.

Juarez had previously been considering running for a seat on the Town Council in Mills, but recent events convinced her that “people needed change on a state level.”

“It’s a big platform to step up onto,” Juarez said. “I realized I could affect more change on this level.”

Juarez, an esthetician and owner of Fox Spa for almost 6 years, became active in public affairs in May 2019 when the Mills Town Council voted to cut the Mills Fire Department. Juarez obtained a copy of the town budget to investigate monetary shortfalls that necessitated the closure of the fire department. 

She also called for Mills Mayor Seth Coleman’s resignation and started a petition to recall him. “Because of the language in the state statutes, the mayor is protected from recall,” Juarez told Oil City in July 2019.

Current HD 59 Representative Bunky Loucks had introduced a draft of bill that would clarify procedures for recalling elected municipal official since 2018, but it did not advance to the House floor.

Since May of last year, Juarez and her fellow citizens had written to “every single member of the legislature” encouraging them to take up the legislation. Juarez had expected Loucks to reintroduce the bill at the FEBRUARY, 2020 legislative session, but Loucks pulled the bill from consideration. “He said it wasn’t ready,” Juarez said.

That was when she decided: “It was my turn to step up and represent.”

From 2009-2015, Juarez was the general station manager at Allegiant Airlines, where she learned navigate the language and procedures of federal guidelines. As a tourism ambassador for Visit Casper and assistant ticketing officer for the Events Center, she’s become familiar with city budgets and appreciative of the impact of tourism on the local economy.

“I’m passionate about economic diversity and the role tourism plays in stabilizing our economy,” Juarez said. Juarez is a fisherman and “supporter” of the College National Finals Rodeo. 

In addition to the issues of tourism, budgets, and recall procedures, Juarez said she’s running to ensure “government accountability” and to represent small businesses. As 1099 independent contractors, her staff  at Fox Spa were ineligible for Payroll Protection Plan Plan (PPP) and Economic Injury and Disaster Loan (EIDL) funds. She wants more clarification and more options for small businesses in emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic. She says she’d been unaware until speaking to state Unemployment officials about the option for businesses like hers to pay in to unemployment so that her employees might have been eligible for benefits when when the crisis hit.

Juarez filed to run on may 14th, and has been “overwhelmed with support” from residents of her district. She said Casper City Councilman Shawn Johnson and HD 58 Representative Pat Sweeney have offered her invaluable guidance and support in her endeavors in public life.