CASPER, Wyo — Vickery Fales-Hall, candidate for Natrona County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC), said her views on government took shape during her time as US Senate Page in Washington for Senator Alan Simpson during the 1995 government budget shutdown.
“I watched debates on the Senate floor and was deemed ‘essential’ during the [shutdown],” she wrote to in an e-mail to Oil City News. “At the heart of that bitter fight over balancing the federal budget, Republican priorities at that time were not dissimilar to what they are now when we are at our best—shrinking the size and scope of government, promoting small businesses and lower taxes for all, and reforming our community institutions to be more efficient and effective for all citizens.”
Fales-Hall is running for one two seats opening on the BOCC to be determined by the August 18 Republican primary. Voting is currently open in Natrona County.
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Fales-Hall is the director of donor relations for the Wyoming Community Foundation (WYCF) where she has worked since 2011. She’s also on the Dual Language Immersion Program leadership team and is a member of the Rotary Club and serves on the leadership board of the Casper Mountain Racers.
“I understand the intersection between philanthropy, community development and public/private partnerships to solve community problems,” she said.
She said she’d bring all those experiences to bear to help Natrona County through the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The #1 job of our County Commissioners is to responsibly manage the county budget,” she said. “Nonprofits are always asked to do more with less and I believe these skills will be necessary to find solutions in the upcoming years…. We will likely be faced with very tough decisions… My strategy would not be to make blanket cuts across the board, but to work with our department heads to make strategic cuts and investments.”
She said she hopes to work in county government because of its relevance to everyday life for residents. “The roads we drive on, the parks we play in, our airports, hospital, library and more are the institutions that weave our community together,” she wrote.
Another priority she said, would be to make additional investments in recreation infrastructure “with an eye to multiple use.” Though it would be challenge in a down economy, she said, “It is essential that Natrona County continues to be an attractive place to live and to work.”
“I moved to Casper in 2017 because I felt strongly that Casper had exactly the type of community energy and vision that I wanted for my family,” she said.
Though her term would not start until next year, Fales-Hall said she’s already weighing the issues currently on the county agenda.
“I am concerned about the sale of WMC to Banner Health,” she wrote, adding that during her cancer diagnosis in 2012, she lived in a smaller Wyoming community and had to travel outside the state for care.
“Our medical system here is absolutely a strength of this community and access to healthcare is an economic development issue… We are all as vulnerable as our most vulnerable residents.”
She said she’s generally in favor of the sale: “If it brings better and expanded healthcare services at a lower cost to our citizens, then I am absolutely in favor of it. If however, the consequence is that the cost of healthcare continues to rise for Natrona County folks, that would be something that would concern me greatly.”
“If we don’t have a healthy community, it’s a lot harder to have a healthy economy,” she said.
At a political forum, Fales-Hall said she knew the “good, bad, and the ugly” of being a County Commissioner from her father-in-law, who was a county commissioner for 2 terms in Park County.
“Maybe your dinner table conversation isn’t about landfill liners, but we would often discuss that sort of thing,” she said.
Fales-Hall was born in Cody and raised in Wapiti, WY where her family has owned and operated Rimrock Dude Ranch. She is a University of Wyoming graduate mother of two elementary school children.