The Natrona County Commission selected Mills Town Planner Kevin O’Hearn to fill outgoing Rep. Bunky Loucks’ seat in the Wyoming Legislature on Tuesday night, aiming to give House District 59 some continuity until the body convenes in a general session in January.
In a hearing Tuesday night, the Natrona County Commission ultimately selected O’Hearn over fellow political newcomers Leah Juarez and David Carpenter after two hours of testimony. While the commissioners called it a “difficult choice,” several members of the board described O’Hearn as the most experienced candidate to represent the district until the Legislature reconvenes in a general session in 2021, citing his long experience in local government.
“Kevin’s got a lot of municipal experience and some background in things I think will be helpful as we’re in this interim process,” Natrona County Commissioner Brook Kaufman said after moving to nominate O’Hearn Tuesday night.
His swearing-in will take place in the Wyoming state Capitol in Cheyenne at 11 a.m. Thursday, according to a news release from the Legislative Service Office.
In candidate forums throughout the past month, O’Hearn has tried to separate himself as an experienced conservative who is ready to “hit the ground running” as a lawmaker, with some experience in both working with the Legislature and sitting in on legislative committee meetings Loucks had taken part in.
O’Hearn’s place representing the district going forward is not guaranteed, however. He still faces a three-way primary against Juarez and Carpenter on Aug. 18, an election that will likely decide who will occupy the seat for the next several years.
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