Independent Casper Candidate Says He's Fed Up With Jeanette Ward

Tyler Cessor, an Independent from Casper and the first third-party candidate to run for the Wyoming legislature this year, says he’s fed up with incumbent Rep. Jeanette Ward, R-Casper.

Leo Wolfson

May 20, 20246 min read

Independent candidate Tyler Cessor and state Rep. Jeanette, Ward, R-Casper.
Independent candidate Tyler Cessor and state Rep. Jeanette, Ward, R-Casper. (Cowboy State Daily Staff)

Casper resident Tyler Cessor said he’s seen enough.

That’s why he’s thrown his hat in the ring to run against conservative firebrand state Rep. Jeanette Ward, R-Casper, as an Independent candidate for House District 57.

“Jeanette’s got to go,” Cessor said.

Ward has made a name for herself during her first term in the Wyoming Legislature for crafting controversial bills involving gender identity, regulating abortion and banning health mandates.

Her What Is A Woman Act introduced during the 2024 session would have required people to use public bathrooms in Wyoming only associated with their biological sex.

She also called for boycotts of businesses in her own community in 2023 that sponsored the Casper LGBTQ Pride Fest that year.

“Those local businesses should be able to pursue those sponsorships and views they want,” Cessor said.

Ward had a succinct response to Cessor’s campaign when reached by Cowboy State Daily on Monday.

“It’s clear that Mr. Cessor aligns with the radical Democrats, yet he is choosing to run as an Independent because he knows the people of House District 57 do not align with the radical leftward turn of the other major party,” she said.

Working For Solutions

Cessor is the first third-party candidate to publicly announce their campaign for the 2024 election cycle in Wyoming. He said he’s running as an Independent to get away from what has become increasingly partisan politics in Wyoming.

“I just want to focus on the needs and concerns of the people of my district, and I think there’s too much internal chaos going on with either party right now,” he said.

But even more so, Cessor said he wants to resolve what he sees as a lack of willingness to understand tough issues and find real solutions from members of the Legislature over the past two years.

“The same inflammatory rhetoric has taken us away from getting to the meat of the conversation and figuring out real tangible solutions that are not just baked in ideology,” Cessor said.

Ward is a member of the farther right Wyoming Freedom Caucus, a group accused by some of taking a no-compromise approach to its politics.

Members of this group have often called for Wyoming to stop accepting or caring about losing federal money. In 2023, Wyoming received $3.9 billion, or nearly 30% of its overall revenue, from the federal government. Cessor said he wants Wyoming to use this money in more independent ways that better serve its residents.

The last two legislative sessions saw a much higher than normal amount of bills drafted as well. Too many bills, Cessor said, is also what he sees as a problem that leads to increasing government regulation.

Who’s Cessor?

Cessor grew up in Wyoming and is a development director for the Wyoming Outdoor Council. He also previously served in the Wyoming Army National Guard.

What he sees from Ward is a distinct lack of understanding of Wyoming issues and willingness to collaborate with other legislators that don’t share similar political or religious views with her. Ward, who describes herself as a “political refugee” on her campaign website, moved to Wyoming in 2021 from Illinois and shortly after ran for the Legislature.

If elected, Cessor said he wants to continue to explore property tax reform, an issue he also believes was far too divisive in the last session. He sees two main avenues for solutions, which include expanding the existing property tax rebate program or adding more caps on year-to-year property tax increases. During the 2024 legislative session, a bill was passed capping year-to-year property tax increases at 4%.

Although he criticizes Ward for not being willing to work collaboratively on this issue, she did team up with Rep. Steve Harshman, R-Casper, to support Harshman’s bill that would have eliminated residential property taxes altogether for most Wyoming residents.

Cessor also has experience serving on health and economic development boards. He worries that Wyoming is one of fastest aging states in the nation, and he believes it’s clear evidence that younger people are leaving the state, a trend he wants to stop.

When it comes to wildlife and public lands, Cessor favors a local control approach, which is the same way he also wants to handle deciding what controversial books can be in school libraries. Ward sponsored a bill in 2023 that would have criminalized librarians and school staff for allowing certain sexually explicit to be present in schools.

“There’s a local process for determining which books are allowed in school libraries and in county libraries,” Cessor said. “The local process seems to be applied fairly and more parents and residents have shown up to voice their opinion on those books and that should be maintained.”

On energy, Cessor said he supports an all-of-the-above approach, supporting fossil fuel production as well as new forms of green energy.

“So much of the state is to the benefit of our minerals, but they are a limited resource,” Cessor said. “We need to make sure that the state’s able to stand on its own two feet through other means.”

The Race

Cessor won’t know his Republican opponent in the General Election until the Aug. 20 primary.

Julie Jarvis, a Republican, has also signed up to take on Ward in the primary. Cessor said he hasn’t met Jarvis, but does know what he will get with Ward, which he calls “unsustainable.”

HD 57, which makes up southeastern Casper, has been a long-held staunchly conservative district, previously represented by Secretary of State Chuck Gray.

Cessor said he’s received a positive response to his campaign from people in his community. He said many of their concerns represent a long-held distrust in any politician, no matter their party.

“There’s just a general lack of trust, so I’m trying to meet folks where they’re at,” he said. “What they need at home, not necessarily what the national media is telling them they need.”

If elected, Cessor would be the first third-party candidate to serve in the Wyoming Legislature since former Reps. Marshall Burt, L-Green River, and Jim Roscoe, I-Wilson, left after the completion of the 2022 session.

Leo Wolfson can be reached at

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Leo Wolfson

Politics and Government Reporter