VIDEO: Hinchen says city needs more younger and North Casper representation - Casper, WY Oil City News
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VIDEO: Hinchen says city needs more younger and North Casper representation

Casper City Council candidate Zarryn Hinchen. (City of Casper, Youtube)

CASPER, Wyo. — The Casper City Council began interview nine candidates to fill a vacant Ward 1 seat at 5 p.m. Tuesday. The council selected Jai-Ayla Quest after interviewing each of the nine candidates.

Each of the candidates shared some things they think Casper needs to see. Each candidate was asked to address the following questions:

  • Explain why you want to serve on the city council.
  • Describe your qualifications and how they will benefit the City of Casper.
  • How have you been following the council’s activity lately? Please explain the current issues that the city council is facing at this time.
  • Are you willing to run for re-election in 2022?
  • Tell us about your availability to serve the time commitments of council meetings and board meeting throughout the week and the month.

Candidate Zarryn Hinchen, the founder of Artemisia Dining and a butcher at Brattis Meat Market, told the council that he thinks North Casper needs more representation not only on the city council but at all levels of government.

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He said North Casper has been “historically stigmatized in many ways,” but he sees opportunities for growth, expansion and promise in some projects that have occurred there.

Hinchen noted that North Casper is home to community theater projects , youth theater, ball fields, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Wyoming and Seton House. He added that the Wyoming Food for Thought Project will soon have a larger facility in the former North Casper Elementary School facility, which is in his neighborhood.

He said he would like to see more development in North Casper, adding that it is close to development in the downtown area. Hinchen added that he is following efforts to improve the interface next to Interstate 25 with interest.

Hinchen said he would also like to see more representation for younger people in Casper, with people 20-30 years old representing about 29% of Casper’s adult population.

He said the current council already has representation for people in the 30-40 year old age range and he “would like to see a younger voice at the table.”

Hinchen said he has had experience in construction that would make him knowledgeable on coding and zoning issues the city council deals with.

He also has experience in the service industry, which he says has been “particularly hard hit in the last year” amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Hinchen noted that the service industry employs a lot of young people.

He said that as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are up, meaning more mothers are out of the workforce.

Hinchen said that his work in the service industry has also helped him develop a good relationship with the Casper-Natrona County Health Department, adding that that would be valuable were he selected to council.

He has also conducted volunteer work, mainly involving waterway projects. Hinchen said he is aware of the council’s recent discussions of a Morad Park fencing project that aims to protect wetland habitat. He said that having done riparian work, he would be a valuable voice on such issues.

Hinchen added that his degree is in political science, which gives him a good idea of how political issues can be addressed.

He’s also aware that Natrona County will be holding a sixth cent special purpose tax election. Hinchen said that having grown up in Casper, he is also familiar with the fifth cent general purpose sales tax. He said that he remembers as a kid seeing that the fifth cent help funded the Recreation Center and that he would like to see such tax revenues support efforts that foster a sense of community and help keep kids healthy and active.

Hinchen said he is also aware of talks about alleged problems of youth vandalism in the community, saying that he thinks this is a problem that is not new to the community.

He added that he would like to help address such issues and help provide activities that engage youth.

Hinchen has also been following the council’s discussions about downtown traffic rules as well as legislative issues like creating a Wyoming missing persons database and establishing nondiscrimination protections for people.

He said he would like to have the opportunity to share his perspective on such issues as a member of council.

As for running for re-election in 2022, Hinchen said that he is open to the idea but that since he is recently engaged, he would need to consult his fiancée before making that decision.

Hinchen said that if selected to the council, he would approach it as a job and be available at every meeting.

The full list of the nine candidates who were interviewed Tuesday for the vacant Ward 1 seat were as follows:

  • Dennis Rollins 
    • Independent film and television producer
  • Jacqueline Anderson
  • Kimberly Holloway
  • Zarryn Hinchen
    • Founder of Artemisia Dining
    • Butcher at Brattis Meat Market
    • Former kitchen consultant at Wyoming Food for Thought Project
    •  Application & Résumé
  • Wes Connell
    • Senior pastor at River of Life Church
    • Director of Cascade Coffee Shop
    • Owner of NeXus Design Group
    • Professional life coach 
    • Application & Résumé
  • David Hulshizer
  • Shannon O’Quinn
  • Jai-Ayla Quest
    • Program specialist for the Mass Violence and Atrocities Program at the Stanley Center for Peace and Security
    • Mother of three-year-old twins
    • Application & Résumé 
  • John Minchow
    • Employer listed as Rocky Mountain Power – Dave Johnston Power Plant
    • Application

The candidate interviews can be streamed via the City of Casper’s YouTube channel: