A week from today (Tuesday), voters statewide will queue up at the polls, casting decisive votes in a pivotal primary election.
Much is at stake in this year's primary.
Locally, Park County voters will decide whether to reinstate a specific purpose 1-cent tax, this time for major renovations to Cody's West Park Hospital. In recent years, voters approved a 1-cent sales tax for a new Park County Jail (2002) and the Powell pool, Meeteetse pool and Park County Library projects (2006). Unlike previous years, voters must consider the 1-cent tax in the primary ballot rather than November's general election.
Whether Park County residents and tourists will pay an extra penny on purchases for the next 31 months — nearly three years — hinges on what voters say next Tuesday.
The West Park tax proposal has provoked praise, criticism and continual debate since it was first publicly presented in January. Seven months' worth of information, campaigning and controversy all comes to a head next week, making it crucial to show up and vote on this important ballot item.
Though public officials are not elected until November's general election, many races likely will be decided in the primary. Only one of four main GOP gubernatorial candidates will advance to the November ballot.
For certain races — such as the Powell area House District 25 legislative race — no Democratic candidates filed. A dozen GOP candidates are facing off for three available seats on the Park County Commission, and only one Democrat is running.
So in some cases, the Republican candidates who advance in next week's primary could very well be our next leaders.
To help inform voters about this year's candidates and their positions on important issues, the Tribune has published an online primary election guide. The edition, available at www.powelltribune.com, provides an overview of candidates in city, county and statewide races.
Voters only have a week to decide which way to vote, and in the days ahead, there's a wealth of resources to help you make informed decisions.
Get to know candidates and issues this week — and be sure to show up and cast your vote on Tuesday, Aug. 17.