Jim Milne is seeking re-election to serve a four-year term on the Natrona County Commission. (Courtesy Jim Milne)

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 Jim Milne, who is running for re-election to serve a four-year term on the Natrona County Commission:

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

My name is Jim Milne. I was born and raised in Wyoming. My family were pioneers that homesteaded in Natrona County. Growing up on a family-owned ranch in Bates Hole taught me the learned value of hard work and how to solve problems. For 17 years I was a Natrona County Sheriff Deputy. I have held many positions in the oil and gas industry, most recently working in a safety and environmental department for an international oilfield service company. I have always helped manage our family farm. During my time off I enjoy spending time with my wife Laura, our three kids, working with my animals, shooting, and living my best life outdoors in this beautiful state!

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

During Covid, the county commission had a big midterm slowdown which delayed target dates set for initiatives. I want to make sure projects we commit to are addressed timely and above expectations. I am overseeing the rewrite of the Natrona County Rezoning Code. I am helping establish more transparency by implementing the streaming of all public meetings. I am concerned about protecting the funds that Natrona County has received during my term for use in the future for the County.

3. How do you plan on accomplishing your goals?

Teamwork! The Board of County Commissioners is not a one man show. It takes dedicated work, exacting communication and genuine care to listen to the concerns of others to accomplish what we have been charged with by our constituents.  I have built those relationships and have a proven track record of saying what I mean and doing to the best of my ability all the duties of my office. It’s this level of integrity that will help me accomplish all the goals. Being raised in the agricultural community I believe this makes me aware of the needs and concerns for families in this community.

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

Though my years of serving Natrona County as a sheriff deputy. My years of working with multi-million dollar oilfield budgets (and managing the employees working for the companies), as well as my term in the County Commissioners office have prepared me to be an effective servant of the county. My roots go back multiple generations in Natrona County and Wyoming is my love and forever home.

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

I believe I am a good steward of the taxpayer dollars. I have consistently looked for reasonable ways to cut unnecessary spending and to rein in project cost overages. I am always looking for ways to use and manage the monies entrusted to the Commission wisely.

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?

All public business should be conducted openly with very few exceptions allowable by law. Real estate transactions need to become public once the initial negotiations have been accepted by parties.

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

I led the project to stream and archive the Parks, Planning and Zoning and the Board of County Commissioners records. With this project I was able to help all residents of Natrona County become more involved with government decisions directly affecting their lives.    

I initiated a project that has allowed for online scheduling of Board of Equalization hearings.

I have also worked with staff to start a standardized filing and electronic storage policy of documents within several offices and across departments. This makes keeping, finding and filing records more accessible.

8. If you are 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?

In meetings I will always ask clarifying questions. I listen to understand, not to respond. I think that if a decision needs to be made and all the information requested is not provided, the matter should be tabled pending those further requirements. I frequently attend meetings of the planning and zoning committee. This is to further my understanding of the issues being addressed so I can find out more though research to be best prepared to weigh in with an informed voice if or when the issue is taken up by the County Commissioners’ office. Being proactive and understanding the issues is very important to me.

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

The changes that need to be addressed with the County Commissioners cannot be made internally. Changes are needed. The County Board of Equalization needs to be given the legal tools to assist the county’s citizens in cases where property tax being assessed is neither fair nor equal. Any fix here would require legislation and the governor’s approval. This may require a state constitutional amendment as well.

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

The state of the county’s future is bright! I pray that Natrona will continue to have good servants who will steward our resources well. To the best outcome and satisfaction of the residents who live here.

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 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.