County GOP leadership ousted

Former Evanston Mayor Joy Bell speaks during the 2022 Uinta BOCES No. 1 graduation. Bell was elected as chair of the Uinta County Republican Party on Tuesday, March 14, ousting her embattled predecessor Elisabeth “Biffy” Jackson. (HERALD FILE PHOTO)

EVANSTON — After a protracted legal battle and public controversy, the Uinta County GOP is under new leadership.

The entire executive committee was removed during Tuesday’s Republican Party meeting. Former Evanston Mayor Joy Bell replaced chair Elisabeth “Biffy” Jackson.

Former Wyoming legislator, Secretary of Agriculture and gubernatorial candidate Ron Micheli and his wife Patty took the places of Committeeman Karl Allred and Committeewoman Jana Williams.

Micheli is one of the plaintiffs in the ongoing GOP lawsuit, which alleges corruption by the former leaders. The lawsuit followed a criminal investigation, which in July found the officers to be innocent of any wrongdoing. Also involved were state Rep. Jon Conrad, former Rep. Danny Eyre, Sen. Wendy Schuler, former Rep. Clarence Vranish, Clara Vranish and Troy Nolan.

“It’s always been my contention that [Jackson, Allred and Williams] have been using the office for their own personal purposes, to get their agenda approved and done,” Clarence Vranish said. “As far as we’re concerned, they’re extremely radical right, and we thought we needed to have a big tent for the Republicans and should have room for everybody.”

Stacy Wallace, Randy Barker and Jay Anderson are the new secretary-treasurer, west and east vice chairs, respectively.

Regarding the scale of the replacements, Micheli said, “It is pretty unusual. That’s for sure.” He said he hopes the party will return to a more traditional state inspired by President Ronald Reagan.

“We want to be inclusive,” Micheli told the Herald. “We want to include everyone and not exclude anyone.”

He said he hopes for a smaller government, strong families, responsible leaders and a capitalist economy. In response to allegations that he and his fellow committee members are liberal, Micheli said, “I spent 16 years in the Wyoming legislature, and if you ask any of my colleagues, they would tell you I was one of the most conservative representatives who ever served.”

Despite his faction’s replacement of their predecessors, Micheli said there is still room for their ideas in the big tent.

“We welcome anyone into the Republican Party,” he said. “We’re not exclusive, we’re inclusive.”

He said he will welcome anyone who decides to join the Republican Party with open arms.

Bell and Jackson did not return phone calls seeking comment by press time. Conrad didn’t reply to questions sent via email by press time.

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