Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon addressed the Jackson Hole community at a forum on Aug. 31 at Center for the Arts. Photo: Nick Sulzer // Buckrail

JACKSON, Wyo. – Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon conducted a community forum at The Center Amphitheater this morning, Aug. 31.

The forum is part of the Teton County centennial series, hosted by the Teton County Library. The series aims to contemplate the questions, “Where do we come from? Who are we? Where are we going?”

Gordon opened his speech with a moment of silence in honor of slain Marine Rylee McCollum. McCollum died on Aug. 26 in a terrorist attack at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan.

He said, “The work we did in Afghanistan and Iraq was not in vain it actually promoted what America is about, our mission was accomplished but please as you have the opportunity to see veterans and people who are active duty and their families, please remind them of how much you appreciate their service and their work.”

Gordon went on to discuss where Wyoming is headed in terms of COVID-19 response, tourism management, energy, and our natural resources. He took questions from the crowd. About 60 to 70 people gathered on the lawn to hear what Gordon had to say.

“We don’t believe that [mask] mandates from up high work, we do think that local control, local government, is where that nexus lies, those are locally elected people in your community and they can appreciate the circumstances at a local level,” Gordon said.

“We’ve defeated this [COVID-19] once before, we know what it takes, being distanced, washing our hands, being mindful of others, being kind, wearing a mask when you can’t be socially distanced.”

He went on to discuss personal choice and the importance of community. “I respect people’s choices for themselves but in this environment, in this world, I think it is extremely important that we recognize we are a community and what we do together can be very successful in defeating the virus.”

Gordon addressed record visitation in the national parks and the concerns many people in the Teton County community have regarding tourism.

“I think that there are some ways we can manage the number of visitors that come through both Jackson and through our parks and do that without imposing some sort of permitting system, do that in a way that doesn’t hamper the freedom of people wanting to come to visit,” Gordon said.

He discussed diversifying the destinations that people are attracted to visit.

“We are really working on trying to diversify the number of destinations people can go to and try to put together maybe some planning on how a person can organize a trip so they can really get a sense of all that Wyoming is.”

Gordon went on to discuss his administration’s focus on creating the strongest education system in the nation, the energy industry and the challenges and opportunities coal presents. He also talked about carbon capture opportunities and cryptocurrencies.

“The sensible energy policy for Wyoming is to be on all fronts a leader and we are on renewables, on fossil fuels, on nuclear. We are positioning Wyoming to be a leader in all of those technologies.”

The full forum can be here.

Buckrail @ Lindsay

Lindsay Vallen is a Community News Reporter covering a little bit of everything; with an interest in politics, wildlife, and amplifying community voices. Originally from the east coast, Lindsay has called Wilson, Wyoming home since 2017. In her free time, she enjoys snowboarding, hiking, cooking, and completing the Jackson Hole Daily crosswords.