Town Council

Town Council members serve four-year terms, alternating open posts every two years. There are four council positions (not including the mayor). Two seats are coming open this year as the terms of Don Frank and Bob Lenz terminate at the end of 2018.

Frank is re-running, Lenz is not. The rest of the candidate field includes Arne Jorgensen, Jonathan Schechter, and Jessica Sell Chambers.

Town Council is a nonpartisan race.

Pete Muldoon is the current mayor. Jim Stanford and Hailey Morton Levinson are both council members serving through 2020.

KHOL Talks affordable housing with each candidate.

Jessica Sell Chambers

Party: na

1. Our community members are being pushed out by folks who see Jackson as an investment, a beautiful tax-haven, or a status symbol. 2. Jackson is becoming less and less livable for working people and local retirees, and more and more community members are in crisis. 3. Our pristine environment is at risk because some people only see it with dollar signs. People buying the false narratives that we can’t make Jackson more livable for working folks and retirees further complicates these issues. We have choices that can ensure people have enough and aren’t a blink away from some kind of disaster. When we stabilize the community, through better funding for our human services so they can do more preventative care and community education, or by providing free or affordable childcare and preschool to all Jackson families, or paying workers, regardless of their immigration status, a livable wage, we can create a sustainable community that cares for and protects each other and our surrounding environment. When we say “not everyone can live here” or “the free market will solve it,” we make a choice to do nothing. Change happens when we make it, and while Wyoming poses some additional obstacles to achieving sustainable and equitable communities, we can still take concrete actions that will strengthen, stabilize, and equalize our home. It will take funding and being proactive instead of obstructionism and fatalism, but working people have the numbers to make it happen, and I will lead in that fight.

Donald Frank

Party: na

"The single most important issue facing our community is the essential work building bridges of mutual understanding and embracing our common interests.” Find fundamental human culture, environmental, economic, transit insights: www.alwaysfrankjh.com My service to our community has taught me that all issues are consequential depending on an individual’s perspective, circumstances or challenges. Town Council’s obligation is to listen, learn and understand every citizen’s sincere viewpoint. Although there are no absolutes in public policy, there are ethical principles of social equality, freedom and justice that inform my service to you. As I reflect on six years of cooperative council participation, I am optimistic and mindful knowing that honest, constructive and caring people will identify common interests. It is the profound responsibility of your elected representatives to approach community discussion without preconception. I always read staff reports, constituent e-mails, digest and distill personal public input and welcome wide and varied opinions with respect. We struggle these days finding common ground yet “there is no them, only us.” I believe disagreements are often unresolved misunderstandings. My most important issue, my goal, is building bridges where fear, mistrust and apprehension separate us. Give the gift of life, we must find our moral responsibility to take care of each other. I bring an always curious mind attuned to the virtue of fairness. I humbly offer energy and experience to move this community conversation toward wholesome, caring and beneficial outcomes. We human occupants have sacred obligations to preserve the biodiversity of which we are the temporary stewards. I pledge to take care of all as you do your own family. We are a family here after all, aren’t we?

Arne Olaus Jorgensen

Party: na

The three issues that are shaping my campaign for Jackson Town Council are: 1) protecting and preserving our natural environment and place, 2) protecting and supporting our community of people, and 3) aligning our political and financial resources to address the first two issues. Appropriately, these issues also form the foundational framework of our Teton County/Town of Jackson Comprehensive Plan. We can address these issues by respecting and emulating the leadership of two people whose actions have yielded significant beneficial results; they also happen to have been critical elements in internationally relevant husband/wife scientific teams: Mardy Murie - A strong consistent voice who recognized the critical value of wilderness and the importance of conservation to our community and our place in our world. Jane Love - She and her husband, David Love, a leading Geologist in Wyoming, donated one-seventh of their property to the Housing Trust in the mid-90s. Jane shared that they wanted to give back to the community, recognizing that the value of their property (and success in the community) was due in part to the community around them and not solely due to what they accomplished. We can and should look to these voices, and others, to frame how our community faces our issues. We can absolutely address our community challenges with clear, dedicated, experienced, and thoughtful leadership. I humbly ask for your support as I have demonstrated that leadership. Please vote on or before Nov. 6th.

Jonathan Schechter

Party: na

I have spent decades studying what makes Jackson Hole different. Special. Unique. We're special because we're a great place to live. Other places are too, though, and all face similar vexing challenges, including housing, transportation, and income inequality. We’re unique because no other place on Earth has our combination of a healthy ecosystem, vibrant community, and thriving economy. Our greatest challenge is keeping this "Holy Trinity" intact. Unfortunately, history is not on our side. We’re trying something no other place on Earth has ever done, with no road map to follow. Indeed, we face not only the same challenges confronting other special places, but challenges other places would kill to have. In that sense, Jackson Hole is a microcosm of our planet. Both are hallmarked by limited space, rapid growth, and an urgent need to figure out how to maintain environmental quality and a vibrant human community without crippling an economy that has left us better off than any generation in history. If Jackson Hole can figure this out, we can not only remain an extraordinary community, but become a model for the world. And if any place on Earth can figure it out, it’s Jackson Hole, with our trifecta of extraordinary environmental, human, and economic resources. This is the great challenge facing our generation of Jackson Hole residents. It is also our great opportunity. Let’s seize it together! I have the knowledge, vision, and experience needed to help us seize this opportunity. Please vote for me for Town Council.

County Commissioner

County Commissioners serve four-year terms, alternating open posts every two years. There are five commissioners with one serving chair as voted by their peers. Three seats are coming open this year as the terms of Mark Newcomb, Smokey Rhea, and Paul Vogelheim expire.

Newcomb-D is running again. Rhea and Vogelheim are not. The rest of the candidate field includes Luther Propst-D, Seadar Rose Davis-D, Mark Barron-R, Andrew P. Byron-R, Mary M. Martin-R, Wes Gardner-I, and Sandy Ress-I.

Greg Epstein-D and Natalia D. Macker-D are seated on the BCC through 2020.

KHOL talks about the lodging tax with the candidates for county commissioner.

Seadar Rose Davis

Party: democratic

The three biggest issues facing our community are traffic, ensuring a healthy workforce and mitigating our human impacts on the environment. In order to keep our existing community character, we all must address our traffic problem and work to create solutions and change daily habits in ourselves. We need more transit hubs (which could include Stilson); additional START commuter runs; and locals committing to carpooling, biking, walking, and taking the START Bus to work and social functions. Additionally, I would like to see better outreach and education to our visitors on all their alternative transportation options before they book their vacations. A healthy workforce is essential to a healthy community. Affordable housing, child care access (including before kindergarten and after school), access to human services, and opportunities to recreate outdoors are crucial to our valley thriving and being its best. I will work on day one to make sure our locals and their well-being are our focus on the decisions we are making. We can never forget that we live in a truly unique place and that we are the stewards of these natural resources and are in charge of protecting our wildlife. We need to collaborate with stakeholders across our community to address important topics such as the health of our waterways, wildlife crossings, conservation and protections to our natural resources.

Marc Newcomb

Party: democratic

Growth and increasing tourism threaten important community values and character, pressuring water quality and wildlife habitat, impacting core infrastructure, adding to housing demand and increasing wealth disparity. Thoughtful zoning is the best tool the county can use to manage growth. We should not be creating new entitlements, and new development should be guided by good planning to where it has the least impact. Accomplishing that begins with a clear understanding of our most important community values, includes a comprehensive vision of how to preserve those values, benefits from a deep understanding of the tools available, and ends with the leadership guide us there. Another way to manage growth is to align the costs of dealing with the impacts of growth with the drivers of growth. Mitigation requirements structured into approvals of new development can play an important role but need to be well thought-out. Public-private partnerships can also be structured to support important community values, especially in the arena of workforce housing. And development standards need to protect water bodies and valuable wildlife habitat. Please elect responsive, thoughtful leaders who understand our values, have a vision for the community, and the leadership to achieve that vision. I’ve been honored to serve you as a county commissioner for the past four years, and I hope you will vote for me for another four years.

Luther Propst

Party: democratic

Workforce Housing We should shift future development from commercial development that creates more jobs to residential development affordable to local workers. We also need to complete a land inventory, which is underway, to guide a community discussion of smarter ways to use of public and private land and creative public–private partnerships to get housing on the ground. Public Lands, Water, and Wildlife Teton County should create a concise, actionable Conservation Action Work Plan to set priorities for conservation (e.g. wildlife crossings, purchase and retirement of development rights, or water quality improvements). Regarding public lands, the federal administration does not value our land, rivers, and wildlife. Teton County must ensure that our treasured public assets are protected, well managed, and accessible. Transportation Reducing congestion requires regional partnerships and a modern transportation system that allows residents, commuters, and visitors to conveniently walk, bicycle, ride the bus, and ride share. I will work to reduce congestion while protecting our community character and quality of life, rather than building more high-speed highways and continuing the perpetual widening of highways. Top priorities are: improve commuter bus service, improve traffic flow with modern highway design, establish a Regional Transportation Planning Organization to improve cooperation with WyDOT and neighboring counties. Community Services Vital human services such as healthcare, including physical and mental health, should be funded with local revenue, as state lawmakers pursue cuts. We should evaluate creating an adequate, reliable funding source, perhaps a dedicated property tax, directly for human services

Mark Barron

Party: republican

Local Government is Bloated and Unresponsive to its Citizens with increasing layers of bureaucracy between elected commissioners and their constituents. If elected, when you call me you'll get me. I will Respect You and Your Family and you won't be treated like the County's Credit Card. Lean, Efficient & Responsive, Customer Service from your County Government. I will bring Leadership to create the best solutions that meet YOUR expectations as a taxpayer and a resident. Housing Solutions come when we zone property and let the private sector attack our housing shortage. Road congestion on HWY 22 will only be eased when we accept that commuter traffic is growing, not going. Two lanes of traffic merge to 1 lane going both east and west on 22 from Albertson's to the Village Rd intersection. Working together, working with WYDOT and making Decisions will result in Action. Moms trying to get to their child's Daycare or School will be able to again! Please Vote Mark Barron for a healthy community that is Balanced and Works Together to get government on the right track.

    Andrew P. Byron

    Party: republican

    The three biggest issues facing our community are traffic/roads, housing, and efficient government. The traffic issue on 22 from town to 390 is cutting our valley in half. We are 25+ years late on thoughtfully completing the Tribal Trails connector road. We need to be diligently working in partnership with WYDOT on Tribal Trails as well as widening 22. Within these projects we need to be very sensitive about our wildlife and build scientifically proven wildlife underpasses and overpasses. The regulations and preventative zoning specifically related to the private sector assisting in beginning to solve our workforce housing need to be addressed at a TOJ and Teton County level. Elected officials need to work hand in hand with the JH Housing Trust and JH Housing Authority to continue the hard work those organizations have done. Our government scope and spending needs to get reeled in (funny coming from a fishing guide!). Meetings need to be efficient and we need to take a hard look at the budget and weigh what the needs are vs. the wants of our residents. You can always contact me to learn more about my views.

    Mary M. Martin

    Party: republican

    In my opinion the three biggest issues facing our community are: Building a sustainable community, which includes: -Available and affordable workforce housing -Adequate and safe transportation -Healthy environment and sustainable resources -Health and social services -Sustaining the business community -Using the Lodging Tax and consider increasing it in order to mitigate tourism impacts -Exceptional education -Arts, Cultural & Historical sustainability -Public safety A Sustainable Community is made up of people who live, work, play and volunteer in the community. Not everyone who wants to live here can because of our land limitations, however, and we need housing for essential positions in the community. Governance and Leadership: -Fiscal responsibility °Conservative and responsible use of tax dollars -County boards that are valued as expert resources Collaboration: When the county government can collaborate with city, state, federal and private entities, locally and regionally citizens will benefit. I will work with my fellow Commissioners to accomplish solutions through my proven skills in getting things done – not leaving them “hanging” with no action and just “talk”.

    Wes Gardner

    Party: independent

    We must protect and preserve the wildlife and wild lands in which we live. Developing a Comprehensive Natural Resources Action Plan to tackle specific strategies for keeping our wildlife safe, our forests healthy, our water clean, and our air breathable is an important first step. We must reduce traffic. At no expense to the taxpayer, simply revising our schedules and utilizing Stilson as a Park and Ride option to town can work immediately to reduce traffic on WY22. Ninety-nine buses a day service Teton Village. We should dedicate buses to provide consistent and efficient service, pick up at Stilson twenty minutes before every hour so that folks get dropped off at the Town Square, the local government administrative buildings, and the hospital in the ten minutes before each hour. Instead of asking users to adjust their schedules, we must adjust the bus schedules to user needs. We must develop more housing. Allowing the development of a new Complete Neighborhood south of town dedicated to folks who live and work here, developing housing for county employees, and allowing for the construction of a large-scale, affordable apartment building are all tools I would consider to create more housing inventory.

      Sandy Ress

      Party: independent

      For the nineteen years I've lived here, I've been a strong advocate for radically curtailing (notice, I did not say eliminating) growth, summer tourism, preserving wildlife habitat (almost all of our estate will go to this cause), and conserving open spaces. When we talk about stopping insidious growth, we talk about a housing shortage, over-crowded roads, and inadequate water and sewage systems in parts of Teton County. These are very real but emanate from an even larger problem: There are simply too many people - residents and tourists - here! We cannot build ourselves out of this situation. Nor would we want to. For if we tried, we would not only fail, but we would hate what we did to the Valley we love. What's worse, the same problems we've had forever will continue indefinitely into the future. While we can't go backwards, we can stop the horrific growth that got us here. OUR GOAL MUST BE TO HAVE A SUSTAINABLE ECONOMY WITH VERY LIMITED GROWTH. I'm not opposed to all growth, e.g., if our hospital or the School District needed to expand, or a family had triplets and needed an additional bathroom, I'd be very sympathetic. PROTECTING OUR ENVIRONMENT In the name of some perceived important objective, (affordable housing, allowing a non-profit to grow) we nibble away, a few acres here, more there, at our precious landscape and our wildlife and open spaces suffer! Proposed projects that do that will not garner my vote!

      SHERIFF

      The partisan race for sheriff this year features three candidates. Current Sheriff Jim Whalen announced his retirement after nine years at the helm. He was named to replace Bob Zimmer in 2009. He then won elections in 2010 and 2014.

      The office has been GOP-held for decades. Zimmer, a Republican, held the position for nine years after taking over from Roger Millward-R, who was appointed sheriff to finish out the rest of Steve Rogers’ term in 1984.

      Candidates include Undersheriff Matt Carr-D, Jackson PD Sgt. Michelle Weber-R, and 19-year veteran of the TCSO Slade Ross-I.

      The sheriff serves for four years.

      KHOL talks about the role of Sheriff in our community with each candidate.

      Matt Carr

      Party: democratic

      If there is one threat to our community, I believe it to be opioid abuse. I will continue work with our partners to further prevention and intervention efforts, as my role as the Sheriff is not only to enforce the law to ensure citizen's safety, but also to also help citizens who may be acting unsafely find a better solution. I believe that together we can utilize our community's incredible resources and partnerships to solve the opioid problem. The biggest issue facing the sheriff’s office is that the people who work and serve in our community are unable to afford to live here. As Undersheriff, the lack of affordable housing makes it very difficult to maintain and recruit staff. Currently only three (3) of our nineteen (19) patrol deputies live in Teton County. This puts our community at serious risk in emergency situations and as Sheriff I will pursue a housing stipend based off of standards set forth by the State of Wyoming for state workers. School Safety is paramount to our community. Students feeling safe and secure while maintaining a healthy, welcoming learning environment is a tough balance to maintain and is a top priority that I continue to strive for on a daily basis. The answer is to continually work with the District to make improvements in facilities and to support and expand our school resource officer program that focuses daily to build relationships and trust with students and are the best line of defense against school violence.

      Michelle A. Weber

      Party: republican

      The three biggest issues are substance abuse, mental illness and school safety. Substance Abuse -Enforcement. This is often the first step to help for a person with an addiction -Education. Diversion programs for youth and active drug court for adults -Lifesaving Training in the use of Narcan for an Opioid overdose. Mental Illness. It’s devastating and can go unnoticed/unaddressed until a crisis occurs. Law enforcement is often the first on scene to those in crisis. One struggle for law enforcement’s response is our mental health laws. Crisis often don’t occur during business hours. Due to this, I am working closely with private partners and businesses in an effort to create a Crisis Response Team that can meet law enforcement at the location where and when the person is in need. School Safety. We must prepare our parents, teachers, students and first responders to deal with a threat or an actual incident. Jackson is a safe place, but bad things can happen here. My current agency has taken the initiative with EMS to integrate their life saving work into the initial response to a tragedy. This preparation allows EMS to be at the problem immediately. The better prepared our community is, the more lives can be saved. Preparation will allow our schools to better protect our children. Lastly, these issues and more should be addressed at a local level through partnerships, conversations over coffee, collaboration with officials, the school district, parents, teachers, first responders and students. Together we will build a strong, safe, connected community.

      Slade Ross

      Party: independent

      There are many big issues facing the Teton County Sheriff's Office, but immediate issues are getting more employees hired, trained and retaining them for long term. Getting the deputies/employees living back in our community so we can be more engaged in the community, making us more effective, relatable and better prepared to serve this community. Local recruitment will help us mirror our community better and help improve relationships with the entire community. Improving relationships with the immigrant population and making sure everyone knows that the sheriff’s office is not here to enforce immigration laws but to make our community safe and secure. We are public servants first and we will provide equal protection under Wyoming State Statutes no matter your ethnicity, legal status, gender, religious beliefs or party affiliation.