Wyoming Tribune Eagle, November 9, 2016
CHEYENNE – The results are in, and Marian Orr will serve as the next mayor of Cheyenne.
Orr won a decisive victory over rival Amy Surdam in Tuesday’s mayoral election, pulling in 14,381 votes, or 55.9 percent of the vote, to Surdam’s 11,161 votes, or 43.4 percent.
Orr, a lobbyist by trade, will be the first woman elected to the position of mayor in the Capital City since its founding in 1867. Moreover, her victory also signals a clear preference from the voters in an election that had been characterized by both candidates as a referendum on the priorities Cheyenne faces.
While Surdam had taken an approach that emphasized quality-of-life projects, including the Children’s Museum of Cheyenne, for which she had advocated, Orr’s campaign spoke to more practical and urgent needs, with streets topping the list.
“In going door to door and talking to thousands of people, I heard time and time again that we need to take care of what we have first before we start adding on,” Orr said Tuesday evening. “Too often we leave projects without the funding for ongoing maintenance and repair. People have compared Cheyenne to a house whose roof is leaking, but we keep making additions to it.”
Those concerns, she said, appeared to help push her over the finish line, as well as her professional background in working with state legislators on a wide range of political needs, which she said will be important as the city faces the continued possibility of budget cuts in coming years.
“I believe that my experience in knowing the state’s budget and how that directly impacts cities, towns and counties gave voters the confidence they had in selecting a leader that will help them through navigating what will be really tough times in Wyoming,” Orr said. “We can’t be pie in the sky. We have to work together as a state, the city needs to work with the county, and more so than not, somebody who has the knowledge to lead Cheyenne through this, I believe, gives voters the confidence they needed.”
Orr said she was humbled, excited and proud to accept “the only endorsement that matters, and that is the endorsement of the people.” She added that she has already spoken with outgoing Mayor Rick Kaysen and intends to move into an adjoining office to begin shadowing him to prepare for the transition when she takes the oath of office in January.
“Nov. 15 will be a meeting of the FAST (Financial Analysis and Strategic Thinking) committee, where department heads will be discussing suggested cuts and streamlining, and I definitely intend to be there,” Orr added.
For her part, Surdam said she wanted to congratulate Orr on running a hard-won campaign, and she too was grateful for the support she received.
“I feel like my camp and I ran a clean, positive campaign, which is what we set out to do,” Surdam said. “I’m humbled, really humbled, at the support people gave to me, and I’m thankful to the people who believed in me.”
As for her future plans, Surdam said she’s uncertain. While she is still the director of the Cheyenne Downtown Development Authority/Main Street, when asked if she intended to continue on in that position, she said, “I think I have a lot of things to consider right now.
“I’m going to take a little bit of time with my family and consider all my options,” she added.