Fremont County Election's Challenged

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Last week we reported on a residency challenge to a Fremont County commissioner candidate from the reservation.

Gary Collins won the nomination election to represent the reservation as a commissioner. His competitor Bruce Cook says Collins actually lives in Lander.

Collins said “well I just want to say I am a resident of the reservation, been there for quite some time. I also keep positive I have 30 years of experience with the reservation on varied issues.”

News 13”s Landon Harrar reported “behind me is the house the complaint says Gary Collins is currently living at and it is in fact in lander. Now Collins told me earlier today that’s he’s only been here for about a week and that’s because he is looking after the house for his grandson who is out of town.”

The Fremont County clerk says this isn’t the first time Collins residency has been questioned when it comes to voting.

Julie Freese said “I’ve had some other instances with him over the last several elections on where he was actually voting and where he actually resided.”

Reservation residents say it’s important the commissioner they choose can relate to their everyday lives.

Victoria Cook who lives on the reservation said “as a county commissioner that’s our communities’ voice and how can you have our voice when you don’t live here? Or you get to see it but your just an outsider looking in the window, you’re not really going through the struggle as we do.”

Collins says he is doing everything he can to prove he lives where he is registered.

“I’ve spoken with the county prosecutor and the county attorney’s office, I’ve spoken with Julie Freese about the protocol I need to do to ascertain my residency and that’s in the process.”

Freese has asked the sheriff to help with the investigation to get to the bottom of the matter.

Collins told News 13 it would be better for him if we just dropped the story, because he doesn’t want this to be a big deal.