- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 4, 2015

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Gov. Matt Mead has retained a consultant to work on getting Mead’s message out on social media.

Mead announced the appointment of Seth Waggener last week. Records requested by The Associated Press show that Mead’s office is paying Waggener $7,500 a month. His contract started in February and runs through June 30.

For years, the governor’s office has had only a communications director. The records show that newly hired current director, David Bush, is paid $70,000 a year.

In an interview this week, Mead laughed and said no when asked if he was retaining a communications consultant to try to burnish his image to seek higher office.

“One of the areas I haven’t felt like we’ve done as good a job as possible is using nonconventional media, like Twitter and Facebook, and getting our message out a little more quickly about what we’re doing, both the pro and the con,” Mead said.

Bush said Wednesday the governor’s office has established a Twitter account (@GovMattMead). The governor’s office hasn’t yet set up a presence on Facebook, but it plans to do so after the current legislative session ends this week, Bush said.

Waggener was raised in Cheyenne, Mead’s office said. He has worked for television stations in Wyoming, Alabama, South Carolina and North Carolina.

“Seth is a Cheyenne kid who left the state and has a lot of experience in this area,” Mead said. “And as I’m pressing technology, I think consistent with that is to be a good user of technology. It’s not an area that we haven’t had some talent in. It’s just not an area I’ve pressed.

“And we find that one person is almost over-swamped with stuff, so we thought an additional person to help us on that would be the way to go.”

Under Mead, Wyoming has aggressively recruited data and technology firms, including commitments from Microsoft and Green House Data. The National Center for Atmospheric Research also has built a supercomputer in Cheyenne.

Mead also has pushed to expand Internet service in the state. He announced last fall that the all 23 Wyoming counties now have access to Ethernet circuits, compared with just two in 2011.

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