JACKSON, Wyo. — Protect Our Water Jackson Hole, a local non-profit that advocates for reducing nutrient pollution and protecting the water quality in Jackson Hole, recently asked candidates how they prioritize water quality, alongside other community needs.
POW JH compiled the candidate’s responses in videos to help educate the voters on the topic and invited every candidate appearing on the local ballot to speak.
Town Council Candidates:
Jessica Chambers, who is running for a seat on the town council, said, “The role that the county and the town should have with wastewater management infrastructure is a huge one. We are all connected and there isn’t a resource that makes that more evident than our water.”
Pete Muldoon, who is the current mayor and running for a seat on the Town Council, said, “Primarily I think clean drinking water is something we all need. Every single human needs it to survive. Those are the basic requirements of living, and if we don’t take care of that and make sure people have that available to them, then we’re really failing one of our most basic missions as government.”
Jim Rooks, a candidate for Town Council, said, “We all know these issues, housing/transportation, protection of our environment & wildlife, and the youth. Those are the three things I began running on. In the last several months I think our entire community has come around to understanding that water might need to be placed on the top. If we don’t have clean drinking water, I’m not sure what else counts more than that.”
Devon Viehman, a candidate for town council, said, “The longer we wait to address these [water quality] issues, whether it be Hoback, or the old septic systems […] it just gets more expensive, and it takes longer to fix, and its harder to fix, and it’s more costly for homeowners to fix. So let’s not waste another day, and get to work.”
County Commissioner Candidates:
Christian Beckwith, a candidate for county commissioner, said, “I feel that the water issue has to be the primary concern for every single citizen in this county because everything else depends on it and right now we can still do something about it.”
Greg Epstein, who is running for reelection for county commissioner, said, “We can’t afford for people to get sick due to water quality issues and a lot of that can be completely out of citizen’s hands.”
Wes Gardner, a candidate for county commissioner, said, “The time was yesterday to solve many of these [water quality] problems. And when I look into my son’s eyes and think about ‘What’s the world he’s going to inherit from me?’ ‘Am I going to be proud of my role in creating that world or not?’ That’s why I’m running for office.”
Natalia Macker, who is running for reelection as a county commissioner, said, “We can’t take it for granted that because we live in a beautiful place, that we live at the headwater, that water is around us and that we don’t have some of the industries that we associate with groundwater contamination, which means when we start to look for where the issues are we have to look in the mirror because it’s probably us.”
Peter Long, a candidate for county commissioner, said, “I’m very committed to ensuring we’re not only addressing the water quality issues we’re seeing now, but that we’re getting ahead of it and looking forward so that they valley we’re handing to the next generation is as pristine as it is today.”
Michael Kudar who is running for town mayor, said, “The current leadership is not prioritizing environment, or housing, or transportation. It has to come together. It’s all one at the end of the day, and that has to be thought about now, not later.”
Hailey Morton Levinson
Hailey Morton Levinson, who is the current vice mayor and councilwoman and is a candidate for town mayor, said, “People care about this place for many different reasons and focusing in on that is how we can work together to then focus on water quality issues, our natural environment and making sure it’s preserved, and preserved in a way that we can enjoy, but for future generations.”