The turnout at Monday night's forum in Baggs, Wyo., is evidence that candidates running for office in the least populated state in the country need every vote they can get.
Twenty-two candidates covering offices from the Wyoming Senate to the Reader Cemetery District in Dixon, Wyo., attended the forum sponsored by Snake River Citizens Against Drugs.
Candidates were given the opportunity to make opening statements before the moderator served up the prepared questions.
"We're just looking for local representation," said Jeff Reid, a Savery, Wyo., rancher and 30-year resident of the Little Snake River Valley.
Local representation might be just what the Carbon County residents receive when they cast their votes for either Linda Fleming, former mayor of Baggs and former Carbon County commissioner, or William "Jeb" Steward, a fifth-generation Carbon County descendant from Encampment, Wyo. They are both seeking the House District 47 seat.
The Monday forum gave 40-plus residents the opportunity to discuss issues with each of the candidates, and with each other.
Candidate Bill Vasey, who is seeking the Wyoming State Senate seat from District 11, was happy to be at the forum and couldn't wait for the proceedings to begin.
"This is the first forum we've gone to. It's a great chance to talk with people," Vasey said. "Little communities are important. All the people who are here will go home and tell all the people who aren't here what happened."
Steward also saw the importance of meeting the residents of Baggs before the election.
"This is the best turnout I've seen so far," he said. "It's a great opportunity for residents to meet the candidates one on one."
After addressing the crowd of voters and fielding prepared questions, the candidates met individually to answer questions and discuss issues with the residents of Carbon County over a piece of pie at a post-forum "pie social."
Dan Olsen can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 207, or firstname.lastname@example.org.