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Candidate Questionnaire: James Whipps for Natrona County Coroner

James Whipps is seeking re-election to the position of Natrona County Coroner. (Courtesy James Whipps)

CASPER, Wyo. — Election season is underway and Oil City News has sent a list of questions to each Natrona County candidate 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 James Whipps, who is running for reelection to the position of Natrona County Coroner:

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

I am James Whipps, your current Natrona County Coroner. I am a lifelong resident of Natrona County. I have a wonderful wife of 36 years, four grown boys, and five grandchildren. I am a retired Army Sergeant First Class and Iraq combat veteran, where I earned the Bronze Star and two Army Commendation medals. In my down time I enjoy being with family, sports, traveling and rockhounding.

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

I have decided to run for reelection as Coroner because I believe that this is my mission, my end-of-career legacy, and what I was meant to do. I am the current President of the Wyoming Coroner’s Association and during this term and next, I am working on bettering the system as a whole, throughout the state and not just in my own backyard. I am working on re-accreditation. I am one of only two accredited offices in the state. The accreditation means that we voluntarily hold ourselves to a higher standard, above and beyond the rules and statutes. I am also working on ensuring that I have the most highly trained, professional investigators in the business. I currently have four of my staff testing for the American Board of Medicolegal Investigators certification. In order to sit for this test, you have to have years of experience in all types of cases and up to 18 months of study. I currently have this certification.

3. How do you plan on accomplishing your goals?

I am currently working with state legislators, all jurisdictional Coroners and community partners. I have always been a person who develops a plan and then works the plan to accomplish my goals.

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

I have over 30 years of investigative experience. I have worked with the Coroner’s Office for 22 years, with three of those as the Coroner. I additionally have spent my entire career leading and managing people, departments, and operations in private business as well as in local and federal government. I have extensive experience in budgeting and fiscal management.

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

I am a good steward of the taxpayer dollar. I do not spend more than what is needed to remain operationally and professionally sound and continue to work on revising processes that result in savings. I am a taxpayer too.

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?

I encourage and support complete transparency by the government and getting citizens involved in their government.

7. How have you made your office or board more transparent and open with the public?

My office is a little different in that not all records are open to the public. I do, however, follow the statute in releasing information and having as much transparency to the public as possible.

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?

I would ask for clarification or more information. I believe in getting it all out on the table while you are already there.

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?

No. I do keep policies and procedures that I consider working documents that change as the times and environment changes. “Change is good and often necessary.”

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

NOTE: All primary candidates who filed to run for Natrona County Coroner 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 news@oilcity.news. 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.