City of Gillette Candidate Questionnaire: Nathan McLeland for Mayor


GILLETTE, Wyo. — Election season is well underway, and County 17 has sent a list of questions to every candidate who has filed for municipal office.

These questions are designed to give our readers a better understanding of the people behind the names on the ballot. All candidate responses submitted to County 17 are reposted as they are received.

Below, get to know Councilman Nathan McLeland, who is running for mayor of Gillette:

  1. Who are you?

I’m Nathan McLeland and I’m running for mayor of Gillette. I am a native of Gillette. My wife, Robbie, and I have four amazing kids, and we’re proud to call Gillette home.

I graduated from Campbell County High School in 1995. After high school, I attended the University of Wyoming, where I studied political science and competed in cross country, track and field and indoor athletics. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in 2000 and then attended law school at the University of Wyoming. In 2003, I graduated from law school and was called to the Wyoming State Bar that fall. In the summer of 2003, I returned with my wife, Robbie, and began practicing law at Lubnau, Bailey & Dumbrill. In 2007, I joined our family oil and gas business, M&K Oil Company, which my father and grandfather started in 1974. In 2016, I assumed the role of CEO after my father was injured in a fire at a well site.

I was appointed to City Council in January 2019 and elected to complete my term in November 2020. On Council, I served as Council President and Acting Mayor. Prior to joining City Council, I served on the Juvenile and Family Drug Court Board, Gillette College Advisory (including several terms as President and Vice President), and the Campbell County Public Land Board.

My hobbies include biking, running, hunting, fishing, shooting, flying and spending time with my family.

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  1. Why did you decide to run for office and what do you hope to achieve if elected?

I am running for mayor because Gillette will need experienced, stable and capable leadership to move forward in the years to come; I will provide that leadership as Mayor of Gillette. I’m always looking for opportunities, especially when things are tough. I have proven myself by overcoming adverse circumstances and constantly moving forward. I have done this in my personal and professional life, and I will use my skills and knowledge to move Gillette forward in a positive way.

  1. How do you plan to achieve your goals?

I intend to achieve my goals as we always have; working together towards a common goal. This city was built because we recognized that we could achieve great things with a common vision and purpose. When we decided we needed something to improve our community, we all got together and figured out how to make it happen. Our leaders knew that if they acted together, they could build something extraordinary. We must maintain the partnerships that have built this thriving community and elect leaders who are passionate advocates for Gillette. I have a proven track record of working with various government entities and agencies to achieve goals, and have been and always will be a passionate advocate for our city.

  1. What experience do you have that qualifies you for the office you are looking for?

As the CEO of an oil and gas company, I know boom and bust cycles and know how to lead organizations through complex and challenging situations. As a lawyer, I have experience dealing with many relevant laws, rules and regulations arising therefrom. I will put my knowledge and experience to work for the citizens of Gillette as mayor. I’m always looking for opportunities, even when the circumstances are tough, and I’ve always found ways to move organizations forward in difficult situations.

Prior to joining City Council in 2019, I served on the Juvenile and Family Drug Court Board, Gillette College Advisory Board, and Campbell County Public Land Board. I was also president of the city council and acting mayor.

  1. Do you think you could be a good steward of taxpayers’ money? Why or why not?

As mayor, I will be a good steward of taxpayers’ money. It is crucial to balance investments in programs and capital projects that allow our city to remain the incredible place we enjoy today and that retain funds for difficult times. As a business owner, I know how to walk that line. I will ensure that we find the right balance between investing and saving and that we achieve our core mission even if times are tough.

  1. On the issue of transparency, where are you in ensuring that all public affairs are conducted openly and in a way that encourages public participation?

I support the conduct of city business in a transparent and open manner that encourages public participation. During my time as acting mayor, the city council made several changes to ensure that it conducted its business transparently and that the public could easily attend meetings. These changes include eliminating pre-meeting dinners in the third floor conference room, eliminating business sessions and pre-meetings, modifying our ordinances to add a third regular meeting each month, and changing regular meeting time at 6:00 p.m.

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Additionally, in January 2022, the City Council underwent a third-party review conducted by the Cheyenne City Attorney’s Office of past practices to provide recommendations for best practices moving forward. I was fully committed to this process and I am fully committed to the changes brought about by the Council. Most importantly, I have demonstrated my commitment to this process by fully complying with all reviewer requests for information, including granting them unrestricted access to my cell phone and email. As mayor, I will continue to ensure that the city council conducts its business as transparently and as openly as possible.

seven. (For new candidates for election) Do you think the office or board position you seek has been open and honest with the public? If so, how can the entity remain open and transparent in the conduct of public affairs in the future. If not, what changes would you implement to ensure that all future transactions are open and transparent?

The review described above identified several past council practices that needed to be changed. Also, as I said above, I supported these changes. I have supported and will continue to support these changes as mayor. One of my priorities as mayor is to restore trust in local government. Open and transparent governance is a fundamental part of this process. As mayor, I will ensure that the city council conducts its business in the most transparent and open way possible.

  1. If you were chairing a meeting and a topic was discussed that you did not fully understand, would you ask for a more detailed explanation during the meeting or would you seek the information after the meeting?

I will also work hard to ensure that the public and the Council fully understand the subject matter. There are many complex issues that come before City Council that involve concepts that are often not intuitive or require an explanation from a subject matter expert. I strive to go to each meeting prepared. If I don’t understand something, I’ll talk to people and learn more about it. I’m not afraid to ask questions. As mayor, I will ensure that matters brought before council are explained so that council, the public and myself understand the issue.

  1. If you are elected or re-elected, do you plan to seek major political changes in the position you have chosen? If so, what would those changes be? If not, why not?

The city must return to its roots. I will ensure that the City becomes proactive and forward-thinking again. I will work with our teams to assess our assets in the community, such as rail, electrical capacity and water, and determine ways to use them for new businesses. I will tell the Gillette story to families and businesses and tell them that this community makes things happen. As Mayor, I will maintain an open and welcoming office, receptive to input from our citizens, businesses and other government partners. Finally, I will continue to emphasize transparency and openness in our local government to restore trust in our city government.

  1. What impact do you think sports tourism has on Gillette and does this impact justify the costs of the Energy Capital Sports Complex, commonly referred to as the “Field of Dreams”?

Sports tourism is very successful. Demand for our facilities begins to exceed capacity and Gillette quickly becomes a destination for sports tournaments. Sports tourism benefits Gillette’s economy, and I believe, in general, that the benefits of sports tourism to the community justify investing in facilities such as Camplex and Field of Dreams. However, we have to do it smartly. We have to be careful not to deplete our reserves by building these facilities. We must ensure that we build facilities that meet the demand for sports tourism and that benefit the citizens of Gillette. As Mayor of Gillette, I will ensure that we build facilities that benefit the citizens of Gillette.

  1. How can your community prepare for future economic downturns resulting from volatile energy markets and a possible global shift away from coal?

To prepare for future economic downturns, we must continue the work undertaken to find new uses for coal. The recent opening of the Wyoming Innovation Center is an excellent step in this direction. We also need to take inventory of our current assets and assess how we can use them in new ways for our future business. We have extensive industry infrastructure and expertise at Gillette. We need to find ways to use these assets for new ventures, seek out businesses that need what we have to offer, and let them know we can help them succeed. Gillette is a community that gets things done. We need to make sure prospects know we’re committed to their success. Finally, we must support our current activities. Gillette is home to several innovative and successful companies. We need to keep lines of communication open with these companies and listen to their ideas to continue to grow Gillette’s economy and ensure the city serves their needs. Supporting today’s businesses as they grow and innovate is key to Gillette’s future prosperity.

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