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Firefighting News Stories

Source:  Wyoming Tribune Eagle
By:  Trevor Brown
May 16, 2012
    Cheyenne firefighter seeks House District 7 seat
    CHEYENNE -- Cheyenne firefighter Joe Fender recently announced he will campaign to represent House District 7 in the Wyoming Legislature.

    Fender, who is a lieutenant with Cheyenne Fire and Rescue, will seek the Democratic nomination for the seat.

    He is also president of the Federated Fire Fighters of Wyoming. Through that group, Fender has represented the state’s firefighters and public safety programs as a lobbyist for the past five years.

    “I have experience representing people already, and I feel that will transfer to representing the 9,300-plus citizens of House District 7,” he said. “I think there was an opportunity this year with the seat, and I am excited about it.”

    House District 7 is an open race after Rep. Bryan Pedersen, R-Cheyenne, said last week that he will not seek another term.

    Fender is the only Democrat who has officially announced a run for the seat.

    Sue Wilson, a local businesswoman, and James Kretzschmar, a dentist and retired colonel with the Air Force, have announced they are running for the Republican nomination.

    Like Wilson and Kretzschmar, this will be Fender’s first run for public office.

    Fender said one of the reasons he decided to run is to help protect the state’s retirement programs.

    He said any “unnecessary” altering of the pension plans could be dangerous.

    This is a contrast to Pedersen, who has argued for significant reforms to prevent the possibility of the program being underfunded in the near future.

    But Fender said Wyoming’s pension program is among the most stable in the country, and he said legislators should not overreact.

    “It is not something I think you want to mess with,” he said.

    House District 7 includes northwest Laramie County and parts of northern Cheyenne. This is one of the areas being impacted by the emerging Niobrara oil play.

    Fender said he supports increasing the water-quality monitoring before and after the drilling to make sure there are no problems.

    “Everyone wants to work with and support the oil industry,” he said. “But we don’t want to do that at the cost of public safety and losing the quality of our water.”

    Fender said he also wants a more consistent funding source for local governments and the state’s highway system.

    He said the state should study all of its funding options. This includes deciding whether to invest more of the state’s mineral revenues, rather than using them for savings.

    Fender moved to Cheyenne in 2000 to join the city’s fire department. He is originally from Pomona, Calif.

    If elected, Fender would receive the standard state legislator’s salary, which is $150 per day of work during the session and interim committee meetings.

    Lawmakers are also eligible for a $109 per diem for each day of work.

    Joe Fender bio
    Age: 44
    Hometown: Pomona, Calif.
    Profession: Cheyenne firefighter, president of the Fire Fighters Federation of Wyoming
    Education: Majored in industrial relations and human resource management at California State University
    Home address: 92 E. Ole Maverick Road
    Party affiliation: Democrat




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