Cheyenne Mayoral Candidates Air Views At Chamber Forum [VIDEO]
Cheyenne mayoral candidates Marian Orr and Amy Surdam outlined their visions for Cheyenne's future at a Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce forum Tuesday morning.
One disagreement was over a recent offer of land for the Children's Museum of Cheyenne near the Cheyenne Ice and Events Center. The offer to donate the property by the property owner was made at a press conference called by Orr.
She said Tuesday that the offer was simply made to present an option for the location of the museum and was not intended as anything other than that.
Orr said she felt Surdam would have been put in an uncomfortable position had she been invited to the announcement because Surdam at the time was both President of the Children's Museum of Cheyenne board and Executive Director of the Cheyenne Downtown Development Authority, possibly putting her in an awkward position in terms of agreeing to the property donation.
"It wasn't a deal, it was the offer of a gift," Orr says, adding "I believe there was a real conflict there as to whether she would be able to accept that gift."
Surdam says of the announcement "I don't think that should have happened that way. That was really not good." Surdam, who says she learned of the land offer from a local reporter after the news conference, says Orr "wasn't transparent" and could have contacted one of the other board members of the children's museum if she didn't want to deal with Surdam directly.
In her closing statement, Surdam touted herself as the candidate who can think beyond "wants versus needs" and offer a vision to move the city forward. She said as mayor she would avoid "under the table handshake deals" and would work to bring people together.
She promised transparency and open lines communication, adding "face to face is still the best means of communication." Surdam called herself a "proven leader with a proven track record." Surdam also vowed to work to bring people together and to listen to all sides when making important decisions.
Orr in her closing remarks said she has "built my entire campaign on listening." She said she started out by going to the Diamond Horseshoe Diner in south Cheyenne every morning at 6:30 and talking with people, but especially listening to their concerns.
She says at one point during a spring snowstorm she made a video of herself offering to shovel sidewalks in return for people telling her what they are most concerned about. She says over the next few weeks she continued having coffee in various parts of the city, hearing about people's concerns. Orr said she has gone door to door three hours a day and six hours on weekend days to hear people's concerns.
"When people know you are listening they will reach out to you," she says.
Voters will cast their ballots on Nov. 8. The candidate who wins will be Cheyenne's first-ever female mayor.