Kenyne Humphrey

Casper Mayor Kenyne was first elected in 2006.

Alan Rogers, Star-Tribune

Casper Mayor and longtime City Council member Kenyne Humphrey said Friday that she will not stand for reelection when her term expires in 2018.

"It's probably time to let somebody else get in there," Humphrey told the Star-Tribune.

Humphrey was elected to her Ward 3 seat in 2006 and selected for her one-year term as mayor in January. She previously served as mayor, a position chosen by an internal Council vote, in 2009, 2012 and 2013.

She said the stress of serving on the Council was a major consideration in deciding not to run again.

"It kind of takes a toll on your health," she said. "It's all because of the politics that comes along with Council."

In her current term as mayor, Humphrey has overseen a tumultuous eight months in which the city manager abruptly retired, the police chief was fired and the Council decided to spend $4 million in reserves to cover a revenue shortfall despite the objections of several members.

While the Council has been generally supportive of Humphrey's leadership this year, her election as mayor was unusually close. Councilman Shawn Johnson ran against Humphrey in the internal poll, and Humphrey prevailed by a single vote. Humphrey attracted the support of most returning Council members, while the newly elected members backed Johnson.

Even after Humphrey's election became a foregone conclusion, Council members Chris Walsh and Amanda Huckabay officially voted against her.

Huckabay said she believed that Humphrey's previous three terms as mayor compelled her to support Johnson in the interest of a having a new face at the helm of.

Following Humphrey's election, former councilman Keith Goodenough criticized the election and encouraged them to overrule her decisions.

“Many of us thought it would have been a better idea to elect somebody who wasn’t so intricately involved with the dysfunction of the last four years,” Goodenough, who served with Humphrey, said. “The leadership does not control the agenda ... Five votes rules the roost here.”

On Friday, Humphrey announced her plans to step down in December 2018 during an interview about a feud between Huckabay and Councilman Jesse Morgan and the role political considerations may be playing in their dispute.

"We are in politics, and I would assume that campaigning is the back of everybody's mind," she said, then adding that re-election was not a concern for her.

Humphrey has inserted herself into various contentious issues this year, symbolically floating her resignation toward the end of embattled former police chief Jim Wetzel's term as a not-so-subtle hint that he should step down and changing her position on a controversial city recycling program after public criticism.

Humphrey is the longest-serving member of Council. She has outlasted three city managers and overseen city budgets during both the boom and bust of Casper's economy.

She is one of just two women on City Council and has previously served as the sole female member of the nine-member panel. Humphrey, the administrator of Mountain Plaza Assisted Living, has previously discussed the challenge of juggling her responsibilities. 

“We see more women working full-time jobs but still needing to go home and take care of the kids and cook dinner,” Humphrey said last year. “I work 50 hours a week, I’m running to meetings, I don’t sleep.”

Arno Rosenfeld covers state politics.

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State Politics Reporter

Arno Rosenfeld covers state politics including the Legislature and Wyoming’s D.C. delegation, focusing especially on the major issues facing the Cowboy State like economic diversification and what it means to be the most conservative state in the nation.

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