hill-gov

Embattled Wyoming schools chief Cindy Hill kicks off campaign for governor

2014-01-08T20:00:00Z 2014-01-18T16:38:05Z Embattled Wyoming schools chief Cindy Hill kicks off campaign for governorBy LAURA HANCOCK Star-Tribune staff writer Casper Star-Tribune Online

NEWCASTLE – Embattled Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill kicked off her race for governor here Wednesday evening, hours after testifying before a legislative committee investigating whether she should be impeached from the job she currently holds.

"If you're thinking, 'Why should I vote for Cindy Hill,' I've got an answer for you: I'm strong as hell," she told a crowd of 13, backed by a red "Hill for governor" sign at the Weston County Senior Citizens Center.

She characterized herself as pro-Constitution, anti-government secrecy and against the Common Core set of education standards.

"We're not just federalizing education," she said. "We're federalizing health care. We're federalizing our energy policy."

Hill is running as a Republican.

This week, Hill had been in hearings during which Wyoming Department of Education employees testified about her performance as chief of the department from January 2011 to early last year. Most employees who testified alleged misconduct. Hill testified Wednesday before the committee for three hours with several combative exchanges. But said she hadn't done anything illegal. The committee is investigating whether Hill committed any impeachable offenses such as improperly spending federal money.

The Legislature's eventual decision could prove a decisive one for Hill's nascent campaign. The Wyoming Constitution prohibits officials who have been impeached from seeking public office again in the state. Hill has always maintained innocence, saying a good ol’ boys club at the Wyoming Legislature has unfairly gone after her.

Hill has a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Wyoming and a master’s degree in education studies from the University of Michigan, according to campaign information from when she ran for superintendent in 2010.

She has worked at the Cathedral Home for Children in Laramie, which helps troubled and traumatized youth, and at a treatment center in Michigan. She was an assistant principal at Carey Junior High School in Cheyenne and has worked as a teacher.

On Jan. 31, Hill announced she was running for governor, just two days after Gov. Matt Mead signed into law a bill that transferred most of the superintendent’s duties to the newly created Wyoming Department of Education director position.

“I know in my heart there’s something I have to do here,” she said at the time in the Hathaway Building, while movers were taking her furniture, computer and office supplies from the Department of Education to a new office in the Historic Barrett Building near the Wyoming Capitol.

Hill attended the ceremony in which Mead signed the bill that stripped her powers before the press and members of the Legislature. Afterward, she and her attorney served Mead with a lawsuit. She is challenging the constitutionality of the law. In August, the case was argued before the Wyoming Supreme Court, which has yet to make a decision.

In her personal life, Hill lives in Cheyenne. She is married to Drake Hill, a Cheyenne attorney and former chairman of the Wyoming Republican Party, and has an adult son.

The Wyoming Legislature and Hill have butted heads for years over her desire to make Department of Education employees fireable without cause, high turnover at the department and her implementation of the Legislature’s accountability system. In 2012, a bill in the Legislature was unsuccessful to turn the elected superintendent position into an appointed one.

Reach state reporter Laura Hancock at 307-266-0581 or at laura.hancock@trib.com. Follow her on Twitter: @laurahancock.

Copyright 2015 Casper Star-Tribune Online. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(12) Comments

  1. 99Savage
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    99Savage - January 09, 2014 4:56 pm
    I'll admit it. Mead was never my choice for governor. Cindy Hill like her or not, was elected by a majority of Wyoming voters. It should have been up to the voters to decide Hill's fate. Mead, Coe, et al, are nothing but a bunch of vindictive power-grabbing shysters and regardless of the outcome of Hill's investigation, they are going to squirm come election time. It would be poetic justice if this fiasco was their undoing.
  2. thehousemouse
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    thehousemouse - January 09, 2014 2:11 pm
    Im sure taylor haynes will run and perhaps surprise many. we need new blood these old geezers who have made a career with double talk and lies need cleaned out of our state and local levels, If cindy runs i know this much my vote will to go taylor first and anyone but mead second. same with local level contitutional party members first, then no name next. im voting against all emcumberants.
  3. rer5279
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    rer5279 - January 09, 2014 12:56 pm
    I bet she doesn't sit around long enough to get impeached. Her track record is that she "resigns" prior to public condemnation. Impeachment would eliminate her run for gov. We can't have that!
  4. Sassy
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    Sassy - January 09, 2014 12:55 pm
    Poking Pony-- Have you ever been to Newcastle?? 13 is a crowd
  5. Wyoite
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    Wyoite - January 09, 2014 11:00 am
    Your assuming Mead and the posse let Hill get to the primary and allow the people to voice their opinion. As we've learned, these folks aren't really interest in supporting or even hearing the will or voice of the people of this State.

    I think Mead may be up to something more sinister and try to have his boys impeach Hill so that he doesn't have to try and make up his 2010 17,000 vote deficit of the primary voters that supported Hill for Sup but didn't support Mead for Gov. Mead spent like $1 MILLION dollars, writing checks from his own bank account, in 2010 trying to get the office last go around and that only got him 30,000 of the primary votes. He'll need 2 or 3x that number of votes to win this years primary, by encouraging a Hill impeachment, he can save millions. Hill starts this race with a bigger primary base than Mead.

    His only calculation is whether an impeachment of Hill and disqualifying her to run against him will make a Dem candidate viable with the votes of the angry Hill supporters, and there are about 47,000 of those from his own party. We'll see which route he decides to take, I think he'd rather role the dice on a general election with a wider voter base and turnout than a primary where he starts in a 17,000 vote hole with a smaller turnout. Time will tell . . .
  6. yup
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    yup - January 09, 2014 10:41 am
    This should be fun to watch!
  7. PokesnBroncos
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    PokesnBroncos - January 09, 2014 10:20 am
    Yeah, if 13 people constitutes a crowd then the lines in the restrooms at Wyoming football games must be considered a throng or even a horde. At the polls most of Wyoming will agree that Ms. Hill is not a viable candidate. Still, her opponents cannot take her lightly. There are plenty of voters who...like Ms. Hill...only have one oar in the water.
  8. Wyoite
    Report Abuse
    Wyoite - January 09, 2014 10:18 am
    2010 GOP Primary vote totals

    Hill in a 4 way race- 47,165 votes

    Mead in a 4 way race- 30,308 vote.

    If Mead dismisses her as a candidate, it will be to his detriment.

    I don't think he is going to dismiss her, I think he his going to encourage lubnau, teeters, coe, stubson and buddies to impeach her so that she can't run against him in the primary. Politics is a dirty business, and it wouldn't surprise me if Mead did this.
  9. side oiler
    Report Abuse
    side oiler - January 09, 2014 9:23 am
    This is just hilarious watching the phony RINO clowns rip at each other,better than some soapy shows on TV.
  10. bobaloo
    Report Abuse
    bobaloo - January 09, 2014 6:58 am
    A "crowd" of 13!? Even in Newcastle that term is questionable.
  11. ChesterIII
    Report Abuse
    ChesterIII - January 09, 2014 1:04 am
    Narcissism knows no bounds.
  12. Morning Joe
    Report Abuse
    Morning Joe - January 08, 2014 9:20 pm
    What a difference a day makes...... political comedians will be watching Wyoming after all.
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