Peter Nicolaysen is running for a four-year seat on the Natrona County Commission. (Gregory Hirst, Oil CIty)

CASPER, Wyo. — Election season is underway and Oil City News has sent a list of questions to each candidate seeking office in Natrona County who has filed to run in the primary election in August.

These questions are designed to give our readers a better understanding of the people behind the names on the ballot. Below, get to know Peter Nicolaysen, who is running for a four-year seat on the Natrona County Commission:

1. Who are you? (Name, where you’re from, employment, hobbies, etc.)

Peter Nicolaysen. I’ve lived in Natrona County my whole life and grew up on the family ranch. I’m a lifelong Republican and active in the Republican Party. I was appointed to the County Commission in April. I help manage the family ranch near Casper and have been a real estate and business attorney for 25 years. My wife and our three children spend as much time outdoors as possible. My hobbies include hunting, fishing, hiking, and trail running. 

2. Why have you decided to run for office and what do you hope to accomplish should you be elected?

I want to continue to serve Natrona County beyond 2022. This is a critical time for the county. I will use my business and legal experience and my ag background to help guide the county through the challenges that we face. I will focus on things that create jobs and positive economic growth, improve healthcare, result in a fair property tax system, and better manage our recreational opportunities.

3. How do you plan on accomplishing your goals? 

Listening and fully understanding the issue is critical. I believe in gathering information and recognizing the value in the expertise of others. I believe in being creative and open-minded. This approach is the best strategy in making decisions, building a consensus, and moving forward.

4. What experience do you have that qualifies you for the office you are seeking?

I have spent the past 25 years practicing law as a real estate and business attorney and have advised and fought for Wyoming families and businesses on problems exactly like those faced by this county and its residents. I have firsthand experience with property tax appeals and know and understand the system. I’ve owned and managed multiple companies in the real estate and oil industries. I’ve served on the boards of numerous organizations. Besides that, my approach has always been to roll up my sleeves, dive in, and get the job done.

5. Do you feel you could be a good steward with taxpayer dollars? Why or why not? 

Yes. Government should only exist to serve its citizens, and taxpayer dollars must be held in trust to provide necessary services. Tax dollars must be spent wisely and that requires responsible budgets. Being efficient with taxpayer dollars helps hold the line on tax increases and inflation.

6. On the issue of transparency, where do you stand on ensuring all public business is conducted openly and in a manner that encourages public attendance? 

There are legally recognized exceptions, but I believe public business should be conducted in public. Encouraging public attendance in government and public business leads to wise decisions and a better informed and engaged community.

7. Do you believe the office or board position you seek has been open and honest with the public? If yes, how can the entity remain open and transparent when conducting public business moving forward? If no, what changes would you implement to ensure that all future dealings are open and transparent? 

From what I know, yes. People need to engage with government, show up at meetings, ask questions and make comment, but government needs to make time to listen. Government needs to continue to improve access to the services it provides and the decisions it makes. I will work on improving transparency and accountability.

8. If you were presiding over a meeting and a topic was being discussed that you didn’t fully understand, would you ask for a more detailed explanation during the meeting or would you seek the information after the meeting? 

Either can be the appropriate course of action depending on the circumstances.

9. Should you be elected, or reelected, do you plan on seeking any major policy changes in your chosen office? If yes, what would those changes be? If no, why not?

There need to be changes in the property tax system, but this has to occur at the state level. The deck is stacked against the taxpayer and the system is not transparent or fair. More generally, government regulations impair freedom and private property rights, and so we always need to make sure that regulations are necessary and appropriate to serve our community. That will keep Natrona County great and help grow our economy!

10. Is there anything the above questions didn’t ask that you would like to comment on? 

Not at this time.

NOTE: All primary candidates who filed to run for the Casper City Council were sent questionnaires at the same time and Oil City News will publish responses in the order they are received. Candidate responses are only edited for clarity and style.

If you are a candidate and did not see the questionnaire in your inbox, please email Oil City News sent questionnaires to Natrona County candidates running in the primary for municipal, county office or a seat in the Wyoming Legislature based on email addresses shared by the Natrona County Clerk’s Office; if you would prefer the questionnaire sent to a different address, please let us know.