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Legally Speaking


Issue: February, 2005
Author: Mark W Harris

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From the President . . .

Community Makers

While engaging in the covert activities of gathering information for this column, a good friend impressed upon me the magnitude of the commitment our fellow lawyers make who serve in the Wyoming House of Representatives and the Wyoming Senate. It’s impressive to consider the time and personal sacrifice they make to serve our state.

Obviously, personal sacrifices are made to families and time with friends. A huge undertaking on the part of partners and associates is made so that those elected can fulfill the obligation of their office. Our judges and court staff accommodate the schedules of our legislators, exhibiting a sensitivity of the time and sacrifice involved.

I thought it would be appropriate to share with you how some of our friends find time to make their communities better places.

I first met Speaker of the House Randall Luthi in law school. Speaker Luthi is an active member of the Star Valley Rotary Club, Wyoming Farm Bureau and the Wyoming Stock Grower’s Association. Randall returned to north Lincoln County and has served the community through active and honored service in the Wyoming Legislature and by sharing his knowledge and experience with local boards and programs in his county. He also finds time, from who knows where, to practice law and run the family ranch. A vicious rumor circulating is that Speaker Luthi at one time taught aerobics at a Jackson health club.

Representative Owen Petersen was first elected to the Wyoming House of Representatives in 2000. Owen is retired from the United States Military and since his retirement and return to Uinta County, he has served actively in the Lion’s Club and the American Legion. He is a past Commander of VFW Post 7798. Owen has graciously served the UW Alumni Association, Wyoming Farm Bureau, Uinta County Economic Development Commission, Mountain View Town Planning Committee, Bridger Valley Chamber of Commerce, Uinta County Historical Society and Tracks Across Wyoming. Owen has unselfishly given his time to Uinta County, rather than spending it in quiet retirement. Owen’s dedication to his community cannot be challenged. He has always been willing to listen to his constituents and will consider the causes of the groups for which he volunteers his time.

Senator Tony Ross is serving his first term in the Wyoming Senate after almost four terms in the Wyoming House. Tony is an active member of the Cheyenne Kiwanis Club and Chamber of Commerce. Tony has also served on the United Medical Center Hospice Board. Tony actively practices law and serves the Cheyenne community. I have been told from a reliable source that one of Tony’s great strengths is the time he commits to constituent service and work. Tony will take calls from folks all over Cheyenne in an effort to listen to their problems.

Representative Phillip Nicholas has served four terms in the House and is now serving the Wyoming Senate. Phil has been active in the Laramie Rotary Club, the Laramie Economic Development Corporation and Laramie Area Chamber of Commerce. Phil has also served on the Albany County Hospital Board and is active in his local political party.

Representative Bruce Barnard is commencing his first term in the Wyoming House. Bruce has been very active in serving the city of Evanston, Wyoming government and served on the Parks and Recreation Board. Bruce is very active in his church serving on many choirs and serving as a Little League coach. Bruce has a strong dedication to serving youth through community service.

Representative Colin Simpson is starting his fourth term in the Wyoming House. Colin has served as Chairman of the Park County Planning and Zoning Commission, a position he held for almost seven years. He sat on the Buffalo Bill Museum Advisory Board, is a strong participant in the Cody Rotary Club, Elks Club and Cody Country Chamber of Commerce. In addition, he devotes his time to the Boys’ and Girls’ Club and has even been known to volunteer with Cody Youth Soccer.

Senator John Hanes is serving in the Wyoming Senate after three years of service in the Wyoming House. Senator Hanes is active in the Cheyenne Rotary Club, Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce and his local Bar Association.

Representative Becket Hinckley has law and politics in his blood. His grandfather was a district judge and Wyoming Supreme Court justice and his parents, Judge Nancy Guthrie and Chris Hinckley, are lawyers. He had a great grandfather who was in the Wyoming Legislature. Becket started his political experience by working in Washington, D.C. for Senator Alan Simpson. Becket is active in the Cheyenne community, including Kiwanis (he’s assistant treasurer), the Board of the Cheyenne Little Theater Players and is a member of St. Mary’s Church. Becket is a recent recipient of the Hope Award given by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

We need to thank Representatives Ed Buchanan and Floyd Esquibel for their honored service to us as well. Ed is a member of Rotary and on the Board of Directors of the Goshen County Economic Development Corporation.   He also served in the Air Force for four years. Floyd is active in the Cheyenne Kiwanis and Latin America Association. My reliable sources inform me he is an avid boxer as well.

And last, but certainly not least, let us not forget Keith Gingery, Thomas E. Lubnau, II and Kermit Brown, the newest lawyer-legislators. Keith is a member of the Kiwanis of Jackson, Knights of Columbus and serves as Teton County Boy Scout Chairman. Tom and Kermit are past-presidents of the Wyoming State Bar. Kermit is an enthusiastic skier, and while living in Rawlins, I am told he routinely roped steers. I trust the only thing new to Keith, Tom and Kermit will be some of the surroundings they are in. Their past experiences in their communities and with the Bar will surely serve them well. At least when the proverbial fire breaks out on the floor of the House, fireman Tom will be there to dowse the flames.