Issues – Mark Gordon for Wyoming Governor

Issues

Building a Bright Future

Mark understands that here in Wyoming, we’re an open book. You can write your own chapter and shape your own destiny.

Growing up on the ranch in Kaycee, when his family or neighbors had a problem, they didn’t look to the government to solve it. They rolled up their sleeves, banded together and got the job done. As Governor, Mark will fight to get government out of the way and allow the people of Wyoming to prosper.

Wyoming remains the best state in the nation to live, raise a family or start a business. With some of the lowest taxes in the country, favorable regulatory policies, access to private and public-sector resources, Wyoming is the place to be for self-starters, entrepreneurs and anyone who wants to chart their own course.

Mark understands what it takes to retain and foster Wyoming’s youth and talent while attracting the best and brightest to advance current industries in our state and grow new ones. He has a broad range of experience in the fields most important to Wyoming, from running a family ranch, owning and operating Main Street businesses, and working in the energy industry. Mark recognizes that Wyoming is ready to be a leader in these fields and many more – from technology and computer science to advanced manufacturing and engineering.

 

Reducing the Size of Government and Decreasing Spending

Ensuring Wyoming has a balanced budget and that our government is living within its means is absolutely essential. This means prioritizing needs versus wants. Wyoming’s revenues are down significantly and while recent economic forecasts have been promising, we are not out of the woods yet. We must rein in our spending today to ensure fiscal stability tomorrow.

Mark’s track record in the Treasurer’s office demonstrates his ability to do more with less while safeguarding taxpayer dollars. A fiscal conservative all his life, Mark has the private and public-sector experience to chart this new course Wyoming.

The boom times over the last decade have resulted in rising spending rates that Wyoming simply cannot keep up with. During this time, Mark has successfully managed the state’s second largest contributor to general fund income – investment income. He has delivered the funds best performance in the past decade and has set procedures in place that ultimately position Wyoming to benefit further from investment income in the years to come. He has firsthand knowledge of the state’s fiscal position and knows how to best protect taxpayer’s money while making it work efficiently and effectively for our citizens.

As Governor, Mark will conservatively manage spending levels without growing government, while still providing the essential services the people of Wyoming depend on.

 

Ensuring the Future of Wyoming’s Natural Resources

Wyoming’s natural resources are second to none. Be it oil, gas, coal, uranium or wind – Wyoming has it all. And there are no greater stewards of these energy and natural resources than the people of Wyoming.

Throughout his career, Mark has worked to push back against federal overreach and cut through bureaucratic red-tape that has kept much of our natural resources under lock and key.

As Governor, Mark will ensure responsible development of our state’s vast natural resources while protecting open space and access to public lands. He will work to position Wyoming as the leader in advanced energy technologies including Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) and new carbon-to-product markets.

 

Defending Our Conservative Values

A lifelong conservative, Mark works to defend the Wyoming values of limited government, low taxes and personal responsibility. He understands the importance of local control and has fought to keep Washington out of Wyoming. Mark is a staunch protector of the Constitution. He believes in putting families first and is pro-life.

Mark is a lifelong member of the NRA and believes the right to bear arms is fundamental. Growing up on a ranch, owning guns is part of his way of life. Mark hunts, taught all his kids how to shoot and owns a firearm for personal protection. Mark will continue to be a relentless defender of the Second Amendment.

 

Destination Wyoming

Building Out Wyoming’s Tourism & Outdoor Recreation Economy

Prioritizing Wyoming Tourism & Ensuring Competitive Funding

The hospitality, travel and tourism industry are among the most effective and successful advocates for their business in the state. However, to maximize opportunities for tourism across Wyoming, we must have leadership committed to making tourism a top priority and working with industry to develop a plan for sustainable funding into the future.

As Governor, Mark will be a relentless champion for the tourism industry. He will work with the legislature to ensure competitive funding on par or beyond our competing neighbors. For every dollar spent on advertising and promotion, $10.28 was returned in state and local taxes. And over $250 was returned in visitor spending. With visitation to Wyoming on the rise, investing in tourism is just smart business.

Protecting Access to Public Lands for Sportsmen & Anglers

Be it hunting, fishing, horseback riding, biking, hiking or camping, enjoying the outdoors is a cherished part of the Wyoming way of life, and a big draw for visitors. Nearly 75 percent of Wyoming residents participate in outdoor recreation every year. And the outdoor recreation economy in Wyoming supports approximately 50,000 jobs.

As a lifelong sportsman and hunter, maintaining and improving public access and multiple-use while protecting multiple use and private property rights are among Mark’s top priorities. Mark will work to keep public lands in public hands while fighting to ensure local stakeholders have a voice in land management. Wyoming cannot afford to lose out on the rapidly expanding outdoor recreation industry by losing important public access to our lands, waters and scenic vistas.

Tourism Workforce

A skilled and able workforce is absolutely critical to the future of both hospitality and tourism here in Wyoming. The H-2B and J-1 visa programs are a critical piece of the puzzle. As Governor, Mark will work with our delegation to help ensure these program runs effectively and efficiently to meet seasonal worker needs.

We also need to better align our workforce training with industry needs. Wyoming’s community and technical colleges must be proactive and adaptive so we can quickly train workers for the jobs of today and tomorrow. The Wyoming Lodging & Restaurant Association’s ProStart Program, a two-year curriculum that prepares high school students for careers in the restaurant and foodservice industry, is a terrific example of how the private sector can successfully drive workforce training within the public system.

As Governor, Mark will work with industry and our community and technical colleges to better align programming with the needs of our tourism, recreation and hospitality industries.

Growing Wyoming’s Outdoor Recreation Economy

Mark has worked in tourism and outdoor recreation for many years and knows just how important this industry is to our state, and the enormous opportunities it provides us. Wyoming’s outdoor recreation economy generates approximately $5.6 billion in consumer spending and $1.6 billion in wages and salaries every year. What’s more, the industry contributes over $500 million in state and local tax revenue.

Still, there is plenty of room to grow. Outdoor recreation generates nearly $900 billion in consumer spending every year in the United States. Wyoming’s outdoor recreation economy accounts for only a little over half of one percent, and we continue to trail many of our neighboring states. With so much to offer in summer, fall, winter and spring, Wyoming is poised to take a much bigger piece of this nearly trillion dollar pie.

As Governor, Mark will work to grow Wyoming’s outdoor recreation economy by driving new and innovative ways to connect Wyoming communities, vacation destinations and points of interest – be it via land, water, air or digital. Every single Wyoming community offers something special to visitors and it’s our job to showcase these destinations to the world and make them accessible.

 

Powering Wyoming Forward

Policy Priorities to Advance Wyoming’s Energy Economy

Building Infrastructure to Export Wyoming Resources

There are tremendous opportunities for Wyoming coal, gas and other minerals and natural resources abroad. With continual roadblocks coming up with terminals on the West Coast of the United States, Mark is committed to exploring alternative means of exporting Wyoming energy.

As Governor, Mark will pursue opportunities with other sovereign funds, including the Alaska Permanent Fund and the Alberta Investment Management Corporation to explore building infrastructure to export Wyoming’s high-quality minerals.

In addition, Mark has positioned the Treasurer’s office to be able to invest alongside private sector investors to build pipelines and important infrastructure to export Wyoming resources. Wyoming benefits tremendously from infrastructure that helps us get our gas and oil to market more efficiently and effectively, so investing in private-sector endeavors or supporting them with bonds to do just that is a win-win. As Governor, he will work to streamline permitting and right of ways to expedite infrastructure development.

Streamlining & Aligning State Energy Resources

Streamlining and better aligning Wyoming’s energy agencies and resources will not only better serve taxpayers, but business – energy producers, innovators and those adding value to the chain. Mark is committed to ensuring the state does more with less to direct people and companies to the resources Wyoming already has in place.

Driving Advanced Energy Technologies

For more than thirty years, Wyoming has been the nation’s leading producer of coal. And coal continues to supply approximately 30% of the electricity in the nation. It is America’s most plentiful energy resource. With such a powerful, in-demand resource at our fingertips, Wyoming should lead the way on research innovation to ensure its responsible future use. Coal not only provides enormous benefits for accessible energy but can help create and drive new markets. Coal is part of the solution.

As Governor, Mark will work to position Wyoming as the leader in advanced energy technologies including Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) and new carbon-to-product markets. We’re seeing promising research come out every day that shows the potential for turning carbon into marketable products we can make money off of – like petrochemicals, asphalt and plastics.

The Wyoming Integrated Test Center is a terrific example of what is possible through public-private partnerships. Recently, as Treasurer, I was proud to finalize a $15 million state loan to Atlas Carbon for the expansion of their activated carbon plant. They are using PRB coal to create an entirely new market producing activated carbon to use in air and water filtration systems.

This is just the beginning of Wyoming leading the way on energy innovation. As Governor, Mark will pursue additional public-private partnerships, which have a proven track record of success in Wyoming in enhancing the market for our mineral resources.

Streamlining Regulations

A study just released this month by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University looked specifically at regulations in Wyoming in 2018. They found that the 2018 Wyoming Administrative Code contains 99,566 restrictions and 5.4 million words. This means it would take an individual seven weeks – nearly two months – to read the entire code. Utilities, chemical manufacturing, oil and gas extraction and mining face more than 17,000 restrictions alone.

The sheer volume and breadth of our current policies is stifling not only our energy economy, but manufacturing, agriculture and many different industries important to our state. How can we possibly expect individuals and businesses to be able to successfully navigate these different layers of restrictions to remain in compliance? We can do better.

Mark believes that regulations ought to be around incentivizing people to do the right thing, rather than penalizing them for doing them wrong, As Governor, Mark will work to drive a shift on the state and federal level towards regulations that reward people for a doing a better job – be it through expedited permitting, faster response times, or other incentives. The free market can, and will, address many of the environmental concerns that come with energy production, but we have to give them reasonable room to do so.

Localizing Decision Making – Working with Federal Agencies

Part of addressing the cumbersome regulations and restrictions Wyoming faces is strengthening relationships with federal agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management. Wyoming’s leadership on things like sage grouse has been extraordinary, and it is nice to see the BLM is starting to follow Wyoming’s lead. Wyoming people, Wyoming leaders need to be empowered to make decisions.  The progress we have made needs to be recognized and respected. Our solutions are durable and effective. Let’s let them work.

With the amount of federal land, we have in Wyoming, and the difficulty we face in citing anything on these lands, it is critical for the next Governor to leverage action with a strong relationship with the BLM and other federal agencies to expedite these processes and keep projects moving.

All of the Above Energy Policy – There is Room for It All

Be it oil, gas, coal, uranium or wind, when it comes to natural resources, Wyoming has it all. As a lifelong conservative, Mark believes strongly that the market should pick winners and losers when it comes to energy sources – not government.

Mark sees renewables like wind as additive to our energy economy, not a detractor. Several new projects proposed for Albany, Carbon, Converse and Uinta counties have the potential to bring immense investment and job opportunities to many communities in southern Wyoming, but development should proceed thoughtfully.

But to really unleash this potential, Wyoming must address transmission capacity, and the lengthy regulatory process that accompanies infrastructure development.  Regulation should be based on common sense, be respectful and efficient. This is part of lifting the regulatory burden that Wyoming faces. Wyoming has seen companies working on permitting for more than a decade. This is unacceptable and counterproductive to growing our economy and promoting our natural resources.

 

Growing Wyoming AG

Policy Priorities to Advance Wyoming’s Agriculture Sector

‘Born and Raised Wyo’ Products

Wyoming’s agricultural economy is a crucial part of Wyoming’s future. Our agriculture products are second to none. From beef, lamb, bison and pork, to sugar beets, barley and hops, gluten free oats, organic wheat, and everything in between, our ranchers and farmers combine their experience, knowledge and unparalleled work ethic with our unique Wyoming environment to deliver universally admired products. Whether here at home or far away, using the ‘Born and Raised Wyo’ brand will help sell their products.

As an example, Wyoming beef would be an exceptional product to brand and market as ‘Born and Raised Wyo.’  In Wyoming, beef generates more than a billion dollars in revenue each year from nearly 11,000 ranches, most of them family owned and operated.

As Governor, Mark will work with producers and the Legislature to tailor policies to support the branding and marketing of our high quality agricultural products as ‘Born and Raised Wyo.’

Meat Inspection in Wyoming

Although a majority of Wyoming beef and lamb goes to out-of-state backgrounders, feeders, packers and fabricators, there are opportunities for more value to be realized here in Wyoming if we had greater processing capacity. Currently, there are approximately 80 meat plants in the state of Wyoming, yet only two of them are federally inspected and the majority only process game animals in the fall. As a result, Wyoming producers have limited opportunities for processing that would allow them to fulfill out-of-state demand from within Wyoming.  

As Governor, Mark will seek to expand opportunities under the state and federal meat inspection systems for Wyoming producers.

Enforcing the Constitution

Wyoming producers are entitled to all the protections enshrined within our Wyoming Constitution, which includes safeguards to keep our livestock healthy and viable. That means, among other things, the system of “inspection and such other regulations as may be necessary for the protection of stock owners, and most conducive to the stock interests of the state.” This also means the protection of personal property rights.

As Governor, Mark will continue protecting your Constitutional rights.

Predator Control and Animal Damage

Whether our hay fields and pastures are overgrazed by wildlife, or our livestock are being preyed upon by bears, wolves or other predators, Wyoming must assure that producers have all the tools they need to manage wildlife when it harms their livelihoods. Wyoming worked hard and successfully earned the right to manage species such as the grizzly bear and wolf.  

As Governor, Mark will ensure Wyoming’s wildlife is managed by Wyoming… not the Federal Government.

Bringing Commonsense to Federal Agencies

Wyoming citizens are affected every day by a blizzard of delaying, complicated and burdensome federal regulations such as those that directly affect management of endangered species and of our public lands. Wherever they apply, we need to insist on local control by vigorously asserting Wyoming’s primacy in enforcing regulations, and cutting back on the  unnecessary or overlapping regulations already in place. Mark will strive to build collaborative relationships with federal natural resource agencies based on full recognition of the critical role of state and local government in management of our natural resources.

As Governor, Mark will lead the way in reforming regulatory structures so they are implemented in a common sense and locally accountable manner.

Meaningful Solutions for Transportation

Trucking is a critical component when bringing Wyoming agricultural goods and livestock to market. The advent of Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) as mandated by the federal government has the potential to disrupt this system. Transportation is a particularly stressful time for livestock and that impacts their health. ELDs when combined with mandatory restrictions on hours of service make it difficult for experienced drivers to use their judgment and skill set to do their jobs safely and effectively. Furthermore, they threaten the welfare of livestock being moved. Additionally, many independent truckers and small trucking firms simply cannot afford to purchase and install these devices which also require monthly service fees.

As Governor, Mark will fight back against these burdensome regulations and suggest meaningful solutions that ensure safety and protect our agricultural industry.

Protecting Wyoming’s Agriculture Labor Market

Wyoming is the second leading exporter of wool in the country. We have one of the most remarkable woolen factories in the country in Johnson County, Mountain Meadow Wool. With more than 350,000 sheep, Wyoming wool is a high- quality product with a strong market presence. However, some proposed revisions to the H-2A Visa program could significantly hurt the sheep-industry. Sheepherders are essential in many operations for managing grazing and protecting the sheep from predators. Changes to the H-2A visa program and the associated outlandish Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements jeopardize the future of many sheep operations. Mark will work to make the H-2A program less burdensome to assure that sheep producers are able to secure workers in a timely manner.  

As Governor, Mark will assist Wyoming’s congressional delegation in fixing these types of burdensome regulations that simply don’t make any sense for agriculture producers and threaten their very livelihood.  

Crops, Opportunities, and Innovation

Wyoming can do more to help Wyoming’s burgeoning crops sector. Entrepreneurialism is alive and well across the state with a vast variety of crops from gluten-free oats, hops, custom barleys, sugar beets, spelt, organic wheats, hays and alfalfas to many of the products made from them. Beer, bread, whiskeys and spirits, breakfast cereals, biofuels, custom hays and pellets and on and on. Wyoming markets have expanded. Wyoming entrepreneurialism has expanded, and Wyoming’s efforts have expanded.

As Governor, Mark will support Ag Innovation Summits and cohesive agriculture policies throughout state government.

Expanding Export Markets

Neighboring states have seen tremendous success in marketing their agricultural products to places like Taiwan, Vietnam and China. Idaho in particular has seen significant growth in their agricultural industry after taking a variety of steps to promote trade in the Far East. As a result, their farm product exports were up more than 10 percent last year – resulting in billions of dollars in trade.

As Governor, Mark will make expanding the overseas market for our products a high priority.

Driving New Ag Technology

Wyoming is leading the way with innovations in technology from blockchain to vertical gardens to new ways to control weeds. The University of Wyoming, our community colleges, high schools and extension offices should engage in a collective manner to improve producer understanding and access to emerging technologies.

As Governor, Mark will encourage the adoption of transformative technologies in agriculture.

Protecting Wyoming Water

Wyoming’s water is among our most precious resource. It is a critical component of our agricultural production. Water rightfully belongs to the state and we must ensure state management at every turn.

As Governor, Mark will fight rules such as Waters of the United States (WOTUS) that would expand federal authority over both surface and underground water quality. Mark will defend Wyoming’s rights under our interstate compacts.