CASPER, Wyo — V Worth Christie is confident he has the temperament, experience and resources to be a Natrona County commissioner. He’s running for one two open seats to be decided in the August 18 Republican primary.
“I have no personal agenda,” he stated at a Washington Park political forum. “I like working with infrastructure, I like working with department heads, I like working with elected officials…. to find more efficient ways to run government.”
As a retiree after 35 years in the a life and health insurance brokerage business, he told Oil City News that he intends to make the work of county commissioner a full time job. And that’s not counting the nearly 3,000 property tax valuation appeals that the commissioners, acting as the county Board of Equalization, will be expected to take on starting in September, and could stretch into next year.
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Worth told Oil City that he’s already been exploring ideas for diversifying Wyoming’s economy. He sees a lot of potential at the Casper-Natrona County International Airport, which since 1989 has been a Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ). He said the space was available around the airport to build a shipping hub or fulfillment center for companies like Amazon. He added Casper was uniquely positioned geographically to be a prime shipping hub routes west of the Mississippi River.
He also told Oil City that Wyoming could capitalize on its agricultural resources, processing Wyoming beef and wool into value-added products like “True Wyoming beef” and apparel using wool from Wyoming sheep. It would take some time to develop the manufacturing facilities, but Worth said that down the line winter jackets manufactured in Wyoming with Wyoming wool could be shipped directly to consumers from the airport
Christie moved to Powell with his family in 1950. He joined the Wyoming National Guard as senior in high school and then the US Army, where he worked on the cleanup from the 1964 Alaska earthquake. He and his wife Carolynn moved to Casper in 1980. He he was also on the board of directors of the Boys and Girls Club of Wyoming, and is a member of the American Legion.
He said he’s had experience managing budget deficits. When the president of Casper Legion Baseball quit over a hiring decision in 1981 Worth was promoted to president. At the time, he said, the organization was $82,000 in debt. Through cutting travel expenses, sending players out to sell tickets, the organization was able to clear its debt in a year. He added that a state-championship season with Mike Lansing at shortstop also helped the club’s revenue stream.
Worth said he’s been learning about the issues specific to the county commissioners’ purview. One is private property rights. “Wyoming is a “fence-out” state,” he said. The issue first came up for him when his 40 acres in Park County was completely locked in by a private ranch, which told him it was incumbent upon him to put up fences to keep the cattle from grazing on his land.
He said he’s seen the issue come up with regards to trespassing on private land, and whether it is private landowners’ responsibility to fence off their property, an expensive proposition.
“This is a black-and-white, critical issue that we need to get legal opinions on,” Worth said.