Willox, Jim

JIM WILLOX

Republican businessman Jim Willox said late last week he has decided to seek re-election to the Converse County Commission, ending weeks of speculation after he had said earlier that he simply had not decided whether to seek a fifth term.

If elected this year, he will begin his seventeenth year in the chair at the courthouse. He was first elected to the board in 2006. It’s a role he said he believes he’s well suited for, as he has the knowledge and experience to the benefit of Converse County’s citizens.

“Serving as commissioner has been an extreme privilege. I am proud of my service to the people of Converse County. I want to continue to build on the good things we have done,” Willox said.

Willox considers himself to be an active and engaged commissioner, he said.

“The workload and obligation of the commissioners is way more than just a couple meetings a month. Meetings with residents and civic organizations, city/town councils, school boards, industry and economic developers are part of the job. I believe in dedicating a large portion of (my) time to be a responsible and engaged commissioner so that I can live up to the public trust assigned to me,” he said.

He serves on several boards including as president of the Wyoming County Commissioner Association (WCCA); as an ex-officio member of the Eastern Wyoming College (EWC) Board of Trustees; and as governor appointee to the Wyoming Lottery board, the proceeds which support local government. During his tenure Willox has also served on several governor and/or Legislative select committees and has twice testified before Congress, once on transportation and the other time on NEPA, both issues significant effect on Converse County and Wyoming, he stated.

Willox said he believes “that all of that extra time is well invested and has reaped benefits for the county. You can’t make decisions in a vacuum. Being engaged with all of the different local, state and national stakeholders and individual residents paints a more complete picture of the needs of Converse County. There is a saying among commissioners in Wyoming, ‘If you aren’t at the table, you are on the menu,’” he said.

The commissioner said a message he hears about all the time is one of investment in county infrastructure, particularly road and bridge, according to a press release issued by Willox last week.

“I have supported an investment into our county roads. We have significantly increased our maintenance budget and recently rebuilt Antelope and Irvine roads, and this summer we will rebuild Mormon Canyon Road. Increased investment in gravel and equipment are just as important,” he said.

As to the future economy of Converse County, Willox said the next few years are a little uncertain for the mineral industry here.

“The failed policies of President Biden, international unrest and the lingering effects of Covid on the economy have all yet to be fully realized,” said Willox.

However, he also considers himself to be “a commissioner who knows we need to be prudent and have a long term view of how Converse County moves forward. Every dollar the county receives comes from the pocket of a taxpayer and I never forget that. I take pride in developing a budget that finds the balance between investment, expenses and savings.”

Willox said he brings “the right set of skills and knowledge to the table to be a thoughtful and dedicated commissioner.”

Willox, a lifelong resident of Converse County, has a degree in agriculture economics from the University of Wyoming, was a cattle rancher, and is currently the owner and part owner of several small businesses.

Raised on the family ranch south of Douglas, he and his wife Tione have two sons, Bo and James. Willox is a member of Moose Lodge No. 602, the Douglas Chamber of Commerce, UW Alumni Association, FFA Alumni, Farm Bureau and the Wyoming Stockgrowers Association. He also just finished his 21st year as a Wyoming High School basketball official, he said.

“It is an honor and privilege to serve as county commissioner. The current board is well-rounded and vested in making good decisions for Converse County. Giving back to the county I was raised in and being a part of building it’s future is a responsibility I do not take lightly,” he said.

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