In October of 2015, the City of Casper burned the Kroekers’ home down, only the foundation remained.
Kendell and Christine Kroeker, and their two boys lost everything, but they had their faith. They handled the situation with grace and dignity, praising God all the way.
Within a week of losing their home, and everything in it, they found a rental in the district that Kendell represented in the Wyoming legislature.
The rental was to be a temporary solution while they moved forward by rebuilding their home on the same property as before, overcoming the terrible circumstances that caused so much devastation to their community. (The Cole Creek area in Natrona County)
** What you are about to read affects the Republican voters in the Cole Creek area, and what has led to their vote unilaterally being taken ffrom them.
The incident below will be discussed at an open to the public meeting on June 5th at the Ramkota in the Theater at 6:00 PM. Republican voters, especially those living in the Cole Creek area are encouraged to come and support the Kroekers. **
The Kroekers have been involved in the Natrona County Republican Party for several years, and before the August 2016 Primary, approached the Natrona County Clerk about whether they could submit their names to be placed on the ballot to be Republican precinct people.
They specifically asked if they would be able to have their names on the ballot for the precinct (4-2) that they lived in before the fire, and upon completion of the construction of their home, would live in again.
Their situation was unique, because, at the time, they currently lived in one precinct (3-10 -still in Kendell’s legislative district-), but their property, with their under-construction home, was in another (4-2).
The property still laden with burnt trees, and a slide melted on the otherwise miraculously unscathed swing set, the property that still has echoes of the fire that consumed everything, except their faith in God.
It was determined that the Kroekers would be residing in their newly constructed home, by the time the term for Precinct Committeemen and women would reset (the first Monday in January). Therefore, according to the Natron County Clerk, the Kroekers could put their names on the ballots of the precinct in which their home was (4-2), while voting in a precinct that was only a temporary residence (3-10).
Per the Natrona County Clerk, even though she told them that they could put their names on the ballots for Republican Precinct Committeeman and woman in 4-2, they would need to register to vote in the primary and general elections in 3-10.
The Kroekers won their primary election as Republican precinct people, and that November, following the 2016 General election, just one year and one month after losing their home and everything they owned, they moved into their home, on their property, in Republican precinct 4-2.
The Natrona County Clerk certified their election to 4-2 even though they were registered to vote in 3-10, per the discussion before the August primary, and the results were sent to the now former Chairman of the NCRP. The County Clerk and the Chairman were both fully aware of the Kroekers situation.
However, moving the week before Thanksgiving, just after an election, the Kroekers did not think about changing their voter registration.
Their new term as Republican precinct committeeman and woman began the first Monday in January, they had been in their home in 4-2 for over one full month.
Nothing was said about the unique situation that the Kroekers were in, until April of 2017, when reviewing written requests that were received from 33% of the members of the Natrona County Republican Party (NCRP) Central Committee.
The written requests called for a Central Committee Meeting to address actions taken by the new Chairman at his first executive committee meeting. It was while validating the signatures on the written requests that new NCRP Chairman, Joseph McGinley, discovered that the Kroekers were still registered to vote in 3-10.
Instead of asking if they forgot to change their registration when they moved back to their property in 4-2, Chairman McGinley told the Kroekers that he would be removing them from their position as Precinct Committeeman and woman, because they did not live in the precinct they were elected to represent…
…Except they did and are still living in their home, on their property in 4-2, the precinct they were elected to represent and have been living there since November of 2016, over one month BEFORE their term as precinct Committeeman and woman officially began. (The first Monday in January 2017)
Chairman McGinley is refusing to back down. He insists that the Kroeker’s somehow violated the State Law, and the Party Bylaws, but neither address the issue of a temporary residence after extenuating circumstances.
Chairman McGinley could have even made a compromise, removing the Kroekers from the Central Committee and filling the vacancy in 4-2 with the Kroekers in two motions, with two votes, back to back at the same Executive Committee Meeting, but he refused to budge, claiming the Kroekers are invalid.
The Kroekers, when made aware of the wrong address on their voter registration, immediately went down to the Natrona County Clerk and resolved that issue.
The voters in 4-2, went through a tragedy together, they overcame that tragedy together. The Republican voters in 4-2, elected Kendell and Christine Kroeker to represent them on the NCRP Central Committee.
Now, because of a tragedy that was no fault of their own, not only are the Kroekers being removed from a positon they were elected to, the Republican voters in 4-2, who also went through that tragedy are having their vote silenced as well.
The Kroekers did everything they could to make sure everything was done properly before the August 2016 Primary Election, and complied with the direction given to them by the Natrona County Clerk.
So why did NCRP Chairman Joseph McGinley remove the Kroekers, without bringing the issue before A. the NCRP Central Committee, and B. The Republican voters of 4-2?
It has been said that sharing this publicly would be to “air our party’s dirty laundry”, but this is a public issue.
The Kroekers were elected by Republican voters in 4-2, Republican voters that went through the same tragedy that claimed not only the Kroekers’ home, but the homes, lives of beloved pets and livestock, as well as other property, out buildings, vehicles, fences, etc… of others who live in the Cole Creek area.
Why would Chairman McGinley want to keep this from the Republican voters of 4-2?
And why would Chairman McGinley, choose to unilaterally, without input from the NCRP Central Committee (and the voters of 4-2), remove the Kroekers just before a vote would be taken that could very well affect the Chairman’s authority as Chairman?
By retro-actively removing the Kroekers, a few of the results of the March NCRP Elections, have changed as at least 2 (possibly 3) races were decided by at least 2 votes.
At least two Executive Committee members who were elected by a margin of 2 or less votes, also signed and submitted a written request for a Central Committee meeting to address actions taken by the chairman just like the Kroekers did.
Yes, the same request that the validation of resulted in the dispute about the validity of the Kroekers’ election as Precinct Committeeman and Committeewoman, could also lead to the change of two seats on the Executive Committee (by way of “special election”).
You can support the Kroekers by e-mailing NCRP Chairman, Joseph McGinley at: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also show your support by coming to the June 5th Central Committee meeting at the Ramkota in the Theater Room, doors open at 5:30 and the meeting will begin at 6:00. Please bring with you a letter or card indicating your support of the Kroekers that we can present to the Chairman at the appropriate time.
This situation is about the will and the voice of the people, in this case, the Republican voters in the Cole Creek area, who should be given the opportunity to weigh in on this situation since it concerns their vote.
Even if you do not live in the Cole Creek area, you should still come to the June 5th meeting of the Natrona County Republican Party Central Committee and stand up for the Republican voters of the Cole Creek area.
The will of the people should not be silenced. The Republican voters of 4-2 should be allowed input on this situation. Be sure to show up to the NCRP Central Committee meeting at the Ramkota on June 5th, doors open at 5:30, and the meeting will begin at 6:00.
Below are the State Statue Pertaining to the requirements that need to be met in order to be a Precinct Committeeman or Committeewoman with links, to read them straight from the source if you should so wish.
Wyoming State Statute 22-4-101(b) “…Precinct committeemen and committeewomen shall be electors registered in the party and resident in the precinct. If a precinct boundary line is changed for any reason, the county commissioners shall determine the number of precinct committeemen and committeewomen to which the affected precinct is entitled.”
You can read the statue for yourself here
The Kroekers are Registered Republicans, and before their term began and after, they resided in the precinct they were elected to represent. They legally met both of the requirements, in the state law.
Article III Section 1 (b) of the Natrona County Republican Party bylaws reiterates the state law: “
Precinct Committeemen and Committeewomen shall be registered Republican voters and a resident of the precinct.”
You can view the bylaws here
Again, the Kroekers currently reside in the precinct they were elected to represent, and have since the week before Thanksgiving 2016. The only reason that they were registered to vote elsewhere was because their home was burned down, and they needed temporary shelter while their home was rebuilt.
They never “moved” out of their precinct by choice, and were living in their precinct as soon as they were able, which was BEFORE their term as precinct committeeman and woman began.
If you agree that the Kroekers are and have been legally elected as Precinct Committeeman and Committewoman, please come to the June 5th NCRP Central Committee meeting at the Ramkota, doors open at 5:30, the meeting is at 6:00.
~ Erin Shipley