CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Cap City News has sent out a questionnaire to those running in the primary election in August. The following are the answers from Gunnar Malm, who is seeking reelection for a Laramie County Commissioners seat. Answers are edited only for clarity and style.
Who are you? (Name, where you’re from, employment, hobbies, etc.)
My name is Gunnar Malm. I am a sixth-generation Laramie County resident, business owner and current County Commissioner. I am an agent/owner with Coldwell Banker The Property Exchange and a past public policy chair for both the Cheyenne Board of Realtors and Wyoming Realtors. I am currently the Federal Political Coordinator between the National Association of Realtors and Sen. Cynthia Lummis for national private property rights and real estate issues. I live within the city of Cheyenne with my wife Jessica and our two dogs, Zio and Ani. When not working, I enjoy spending time with family and golfing. I am also in long-term recovery and know that recovery from substance-use disorders is possible and strive to help others achieve their own bonus lives.
Why have you decided to run for office, and what do you hope to accomplish should you be elected?
I have always loved politics and public policy. From a young age, I was taught that service to your community was an obligation, not just in elected office but through community organizations and nonprofits. I have strived to participate as much as possible in my community for my entire life. From being a board member of Recover Wyoming to participating with the Chamber of Commerce, Board of Realtors and Cheyenne Leads, I have taken an active role in promoting and improving our community. Four years ago, I was compelled to run for County Commissioner and have loved expanding my involvement in our fantastic community. If reelected, I will continue to approach the financial issues of Laramie County with a fiscally conservative approach while looking for ways to expand and improve our workforce, industry and quality of life.
How do you plan on accomplishing your goals?
First, by being informed. County Commissioners only have the powers delegated to them by the state. Knowing what abilities you have and don’t have is critical in making the right decisions. I will continue to work with other elected officials, the legislature, private industry and the public to promote and improve our community.
What experience do you have that qualifies you for the office you are seeking?
My background in fighting for private property rights, home ownership and economic development makes me well-qualified to continue carrying out a commissioner’s duties. Additionally, my fiscally conservative approach to government and spending.
Do you feel you could be a good steward with taxpayer dollars? Why or why not?
Being part of the commission whose fiscally conservative policies enabled the Laramie County government to weather the COVID downturn without any layoffs or furloughs as we saw in other government entities shows a history of good stewardship of taxpayers’ dollars. We also have worked hard to leverage grants and federal dollars to have maximum effect on government spending and get those funds into the hands of nonprofits and community partners who can make the most of them for every resident. We have also saved taxpayer money by utilizing reserves to self-fund some sixth-penny projects up front. This allows taxpayers to not be on the hook for financing and bonding expenses. Whenever possible, the government should avoid having to use tax dollars to pay interest on loans.
On the issue of transparency, where do you stand on ensuring all public business is conducted openly and in a manner that encourages public attendance?
The Commissioner currently livestreams all our board meetings; all other meetings we conduct are on our public schedule and open to the public. We comply fully with Wyoming open meeting laws and are very mindful of engaging the public. I also use social media heavily to inform the public of my work and decision-making process and am open and accessible at all times.
How have you made your office or board more transparent and open to the public?
We are currently upgrading our AV capabilities in our boardroom and I hope this will allow us to stream our meetings to more people and make us more transparent. I was also the head of the Sixth Penny Committee. My goal from the onset was to make the ballot and projects as transparent as possible. We achieved this by ensuring that items were with like items, such as Public Safety, Infrastructure, and Community Enhancement. From the feedback I received and the 98% success of the general ballot, I believe residents appreciated this transparent approach.
If you were presiding over a meeting and a topic was being discussed that you didn’t fully understand, would you ask for a more detailed explanation during the meeting, or would you seek the information after the meeting?
There is nothing worse than someone making a decision on something they don’t understand. I have no issues seeking more information during a meeting or postponing an item if I feel there are unanswered questions that need to be addressed.
Should you be elected or reelected, do you plan on seeking any major policy changes in your chosen office? If yes, what would those changes be? If not, why not?
I will continue to work to conservatively manage taxpayer dollars, promote and expand our economic diversification efforts and look to improve residents’ daily lives. I will also work hard to expand our community’s mental health and substance-use disorder services.