City Council

The Casper City Council meets Feb. 19 at City Hall.

Thirteen people have submitted applications to be the next Casper City Council member, hoping to fill the vacancy created by Chris Walsh’s resignation early this month. The group includes four former council members.

Walsh resigned from his position on the council representing Ward 3 to take a job in Douglas with the Wyoming attorney general’s office. City officials are looking to fill his spot by early August.

Casper City Council outlines questions for applicants; former member among those interested

After Walsh resigned, the council asked residents interested in taking on the role to submit an application and a resume. Any resident of Ward 3, or east Casper, was able to apply. The city accepted applications until Friday afternoon and the following people applied:

Tanis Lovercheck-Saunders

Lovercheck-Saunders is an associate professor of political science, history and international relations at Casper College and an adjunct instructor of history at the University of Wyoming. She has a doctorate of arts in history from the University of North Dakota.

Lovercheck-Saunders has lived in Wyoming since 2009 and is involved with Stage III Community Theatre, the Casper Humane Society and PFLAG, a national LGBTQ advocacy group.

Ed Opella

Opella is a former city councilman, former mayor and former county commissioner. He served on the council from 1991-99, then again from 2003-06. He served two one-year mayoral terms in 1995 and 1998. He was a county commissioner from 2009-2013.

Opella has a bachelor’s degree in behavioral science from Westminster College and served in the Marine Corps from 1964-67, when he was stationed in Vietnam. He attempted a run for the Wyoming House of Representatives but lost that race. Opella currently sits on the Amoco Reuse Joint Powers Board and the Central Wyoming Counseling Center Board.

Terry Wingerter

Wingerter is also a former councilman, sitting from 1983-1992, though he has spent the majority of his government life as a Natrona County commissioner. He served as a commissioner from 1991-94, 1996-2004 and from 2006-2014. He ran again in 2016 but lost that race.

He currently sits on the city planning and zoning board, as well as on the board for Casper’s Kiwanis Club. He also drives for Meals on Wheels. Wingerter is retired now, but he was the regional director for Blue Cross, Blue Shield Wyoming for more than two decades.

Stephen Cathey

Cathey is another former councilman, serving Casper from 2013-2016 as vice mayor. He ran against Walsh in 2016 and lost, so the seat he is vying for now is the same one he occupied during his first term on council.

Cathey runs his own oilfield consulting business, TCF Services Inc. He has a master’s degree in engineering from the University of Kansas and served in the Navy from 1969-73. He is also vice chair of the board of trustees of Casper’s First United Methodist Church.

With Chris Walsh's resignation, Casper City Council to discuss options to fill vacancy

James Bell

Bell, now retired, practiced law for three decades with the law firm Murane and Bostwick. Before that he was the deputy city attorney for Casper. Bell is a graduate of the University of Wyoming College of Law. He has lived in Casper since 1978. He currently sits on the National Historic Trails Center Foundation board.

Christopher Dresang

Dresang is the assistant principal at Natrona County High School and the former principal of Fort Caspar Academy. He has a master’s degree in education from Montana State University and a master’s degree in English from UW. He has served on various education task forces and committees, including once with the state Department of Education. He is also a National Board certified teacher.

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Jeff Goetz

Goetz is a public information officer for the Wyoming Department of Transportation. Before that, he worked as the marketing director for the recreation department in Greeley, Colorado. He also worked in government in Missouri. Goetz is a member of the Platte River Revival committee and an ex-officio member of the Platte River Trails board. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Iowa.

Sarah Szewczyk

Szewczyk is an executive assistant at the Wyoming Medical Center, and she previously worked as a municipal court coordinator for the city. Szewczyk worked as the Natrona County deputy clerk from 2005-09. She has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from UW.

Szewczyk is the secretary of Natrona County Republican Women and is involved with the Rotary Club and Natrona County Restorative Justice.

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Tammy Haverlock

Haverlock is a certified nursing assistant at Wyoming Medical Center and formerly worked for Life Care Center of Casper. She has served on various boards and committees at WMC. She studied nursing at Casper College. Haverlock grew up in Montana but moved to Wyoming when she was young and attended high school in Worland.

Keith Goodenough

Goodenough is a former councilman and former state legislator. He first served as a Democrat in the Wyoming House of Representatives from 1989-92. He served in the state Senate from 1995-2004. He joined Casper City Council in 2006 and later ran for the County Commission, though he lost that race.

Before entering politics, Goodenough worked as a forester. He has a bachelor’s degree in resource management from the University of Montana.

Peter Owen

Owen is a local businessman who owns the Steamboat Deli and Outlet. He also owns Pokes Investments LLC and is president of the Downtown Casper Business Association. He formerly sat on the Downtown Development Authority board.

Owen ran for a council seat last year, when two of Ward 3’s three seats were up for contention. He lost that race, coming in third after current council members Ray Pacheco and Steve Freel. He is also the former NCHS dean of students.

Casper City Council hopes to fill vacancy early next month

Robert Johnson

Johnson was the longtime Natrona County High swim coach (1999-2017). He is the North American director of research for the record management company Montaña and Associates. He has a master’s degree from UW in American studies and a master’s degree in education from American InterContinental University. He also volunteers with Mercer House.

Emily Kendall

Kendall did not have any current employment listed on the resume she provided the council but has past experience in billing and finance, particularly in the medical field. She has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Utah State University. She hopes to prioritize “improving natural spaces” in Casper and making the city more family-friendly.

The council will seek public input from constituents in Ward 3 for the next two weeks to evaluate the applicants. On Aug. 5, the applicants will go before the current members of the council in a special public meeting to be interviewed.

They will each be asked the same set of five questions. The council will then discuss the candidates in an executive session before returning to the public meeting to announce its selection. The council will have a regular meeting the next day, Aug. 6, where the decision will get a final vote.

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Follow city reporter Morgan Hughes on Twitter @morganhwrites.


Local Government Reporter

Morgan Hughes primarily covers local government. After growing up in rural Wisconsin, she graduated from Marquette University in 2018. She moved to Wyoming shortly after and covered education in Cheyenne before joining the Star-Tribune in May 2019.

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