Write-ins fill spots on town ballot

by nathan oster

The field of candidates for Greybull mayor and town council has been set.

Darrell Carriveau has officially entered the race for two expiring seats on the council, joining fellow write-ins Kaitlyn Johnson and Steve Hoblit and incumbent Marvin Hunt in the race for the two-year terms.

In the race for mayor, write-in candidate Bob Graham is challenging incumbent Myles Foley for a two-year seat.

In an interview Monday, the former town employee, town council member and mayor said he was shocked by the number of write-in votes that he received and decided to enter the race because of what’s transpired since the last election.

Graham lost by five votes to Foley in the 2014 mayoral election and by 15 votes to Hunt in the 2016 race for a two-year term on the council.

He said the theme of his campaign is going to be that “every vote counts,” stating that while he would love to see a pool in town, the majority of the council “discarded” and “minimized” the will of voters by proceeding with the construction of an outdoor swimming pool on their own.

Graham cited the three separate pool questions that have appeared on the ballot and been rejected by voters — two in 2012, a third in 2016. “To me, that isn’t right,” he said.  “I’m a veteran and your vote matters.  If you say ‘No,’ that’s ‘No’ — it’s not, ‘Well, you didn’t really mean no. You kind of meant find another way.’  The other way, it turned out, was to backdoor us.'”

Graham said he has no intention of stopping the pool project, which is underway in the lot adjacent to the Herb Asp Community Center. “That’s the farthest thing from the truth,” he said. “We’ve wasted too much money on this project already — and have another $200,000 coming in from the federal government.  It’s too late to turn back.

Graham said $125,000 has been spent to date and “all that’s got us is a hole in the ground.”

“We as leaders of this community need to try to find an alternative funding source that will minimize the impact on our community of our taxpayer dollars,” he said. “That’s our job. It’s not to tear down what they’ve worked on for six years. It’s our responsibility to figure out how we’re going to pay for it and to ensure that the pool committee stays involved.”

Graham said the town has cut services already and will continue to do so if no other funding sources are secured for the pool.


Council write-ins

Excluding Graham, who was the top-vote getter for both mayor and council, the write-in who received the most support in the recent primary election was Johnson. She has lived here since 2013, working for Powell Valley Healthcare and the Greybull Standard before starting a daycare which she runs out of her home, Kaity’s Kiddys. Kaitlyn and her husband, Greybull native Curtis Johnson, have a daughter and are anticipating the arrival of a second son, a boy.

“I’m extremely excited about the opportunity,” she said of her bid for council. “I just feel like there aren’t a lot of the younger generation who runs for these kinds of offices and that we need a more well-rounded view.  Adding a younger voice would do that.  Plus, having kids, I want to see Greybull grow.”

Carriveau is a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Army who moved to Greybull in 2005. The last role he held with the Army was as a facility site and instructor evaluator. Now his primary job is in construction, as he continues to convert a building that once served as a church into a home. He said he also works occasionally at the Smokehouse Saloon.

Carriveau didn’t campaign as a write-in, but when the opportunity to join the race was presented to him, he ultimately decided that he’d “like to get a better idea of the inner workings of the town.” He said no particular issue is driving him and that he looks forward to talking with residents to find out what they want. Once he has done that, he’ll vote accordingly.

Hoblit has lived in Greybull since 1980.  For 18 years, he worked at O’Reilly Auto Parts. For the last 10, he’s been at Greybull Building Center.  He’s a 30-year member of Grace Fellowship Church, a former member of the Big Horn County School District No. 3 board of trustees and he and his wife Kelli have two grown children, Seth and Leah. He said he agreed to enter the race because he doesn’t like the direction the town is heading.

“Whether you’re for or against the pool … I think everyone wants one, but I just don’t think the way it’s being done is right. The town needs to go back to taking care of the town, and concentrating on things like streets and alleys, instead of taking money from it to do this pool.

“And I think we need to start enforcing our ordinances — weed and junk, to name a couple. Every time there’s a variance request, it doesn’t seem like the council listens to Planning and Zoning. They just do whatever they want. And we have weeds that are 5 feet tall growing on Sixth Street.  What does that say to tourists?”