News – Mark Gordon for Wyoming Governor

News

Gordon best choice to serve as Wyoming’s next governor

Via the Wyoming Tribune Eagle


As we enter the homestretch of the 2018 campaign season, some voters already have their minds made up and have cast their ballots.

Yet many others are taking a wait-and-see approach. They’re looking forward to upcoming debates and candidate forums to help inform their choices in the Nov. 6 general election.

Here at the Wyoming Tribune Eagle, we work hard to help inform voters about the candidates (through announcement stories and coverage of the aforementioned debates/forums) and their positions on key issues (via charts that will be published daily starting later this week, and, as time allows, through video interviews with the newspaper’s editorial board). We even make a few recommendations on these pages that voters can factor into their decision-making process as they wish (despite what some have said through the years, we’re not trying to tell anyone how to vote; we’re just offering our recommendation).

This year, the editorial board has focused mainly on the important race to replace Republican Matt Mead as Wyoming governor.

It hasn’t been easy (though it rarely is, and, frankly, it shouldn’t be). While the Democrats offered one main option, a crowded Republican primary field featured several solid choices. For the general election, voters will see four names on the ballot, but, for us, the decision comes down to which of the two major-party candidates voters believe can best lead the state in the next four years.

Though both bring a solid list of qualifications and ideas to the table, we have to give the edge to Republican Mark Gordon over Democrat Mary Throne.

First, though, let’s talk about the two minor-party candidates.

Rex Rammell, a Rock Springs veterinarian who represents the Constitution Party, calls himself the only “true conservative” candidate on the ballot. But his platform comes down to two main ideas, neither of which are reasonable: having the state take over ownership and management of federal public lands, and pulling all state money out of the stock market and creating a “state bank,” which would loan the money to entrepreneurs so they can diversify the economy. (Mr. Rammell points to North Dakota as a model for the latter idea.)

Mr. Rammell has been peddling the suggestion that the state should have authority over federal lands since his first run for office a decade ago. Following that failed attempt to represent Idaho in the U.S. Senate, he has run for Idaho governor (2010) and the U.S. House in Wyoming (2016, against Liz Cheney). He told us he has thought about running for the state Legislature, but his ideas “are too grandiose for that level.” That’s one way of putting it.

University of Wyoming professor Lawrence Struempf of Laramie calls himself a “modern Libertarian,” which means he thinks government should continue to fund essential services like highways and other infrastructure, as well as maintain national parks and other public lands. With an employment background that also includes stints as a truck driver, school bus driver, network systems analyst and high school teacher, he brings a variety of experience to the race.

Unfortunately, Mr. Streumpf doesn’t have much of a vision for the state beyond “helping it maintain its beauty and wonder.” He believes technology will help the state diversify its economy, and he’s a firm believer that Wyoming should become one of the main locations in the country for data centers. But that’s simply not enough. Plus, he doesn’t think well on his feet, which is a critical skill for a leader at this level.

Which brings us to Democrat Mary Throne, a Cheyenne natural resources attorney who spent 10 years in the state House of Representatives. There is much to like about Ms. Throne’s candidacy. But the main reason to support her is that while she understands the importance of the energy sector to the state’s economy, she knows Wyoming must find a way to break free of the boom-and-bust cycles that have plagued it for generations in order to thrive.

What’s missing is a specific plan for how to do that. When we asked her what sectors of the economy the state should focus on, she said “lots of little things,” before mentioning a couple of outdoor recreation and tourism success stories. She added that the technology and health-care sectors, as well as improving broadband infrastructure, are important. But like most other politicians at the state level, we get a sense she has no clear plan for leading the state on this key issue.

Ms. Throne also seems to believe that her decade of experience as a state lawmaker will translate into instant success with her legislative agenda. We hate to dampen her enthusiasm, but we fail to see how she will be able to get Medicaid expansion passed, for example, when the current Republican governor couldn’t do so in several tries.

We like that Ms. Throne says she isn’t beholden to any party, and she will exercise independent judgment to make the best decisions possible for the state’s future. But as a Democrat trying to work with a nearly all-Republican legislature, there exists a strong potential for stalemate.

When asked about her leadership style, Ms. Throne mentioned the servant model and said she believes collaboration, not top-down leadership, is more successful. We also liked her comment that, “Leadership isn’t telling people what they want to hear, it’s telling them what needs to be said.”

Before the primary, of the two remaining candidates, we felt Ms. Throne articulated the stronger vision for Wyoming’s future. But during her second interview, she spoke in generalities such as “creating opportunities across the state” and “taking advantage of existing opportunities,” as well as making sure we have “strong, bold communities,” rather than offering specifics.

Ms. Throne did mention some goals that make supporting her appealing, including: implementing some of what the ENDOW economic diversification group recommends right away, rather than continuing to do studies and putting them on a shelf; finding a stable funding mechanism for local governments so they don’t have to beg the Legislature for money; ensuring a quality K-12 education system isn’t eroded by budget cuts; offering a state budget that all people can understand; and building the economy and tax structure of the future.

Yet with all that Ms. Throne brings to the table, it wasn’t enough to overcome the years of experience Republican Mark Gordon already has in the state’s executive branch. As the current state treasurer, he has increased transparency and changed the structure of state investments, including successfully advocating for a 2016 constitutional amendment to let the Legislature authorize putting more state funds in the stock market.

Mr. Gordon also serves as a member of the State Loan and Investment Board, which means he has a strong connection to the state’s current economic development efforts. But that doesn’t mean he’s satisfied with what’s happening. When asked about the ENDOW work, for example, he said he would continue it, since it’s “already in the budget.” And while he said it has done some “great work so far,” he believes it hasn’t reached down as deep into local communities as it should to have a lasting impact. He also said he thinks there’s no need for the state’s economic development organizations to overlap as much as they currently do.

Mr. Gordon realizes he will need to use “the bully pulpit” of the governor’s office to be the best recruiter possible, working hard to attract new industries to the state. He also knows the governor must get out and attract more venture capital, and he wants to reduce regulations to make Wyoming the “easiest, most efficient place to do business.”

Mr. Gordon knows there are other important issues that need to be addressed, as well, including: reducing the cost of health care and health insurance (though he doesn’t support Medicaid expansion); maintaining and expanding education funding (he’s a former Johnson County school board member); building more accountability into the state’s budget process, along with looking for more efficiencies; increasing transparency in how the state spends its money; and making sure adequate resources are going to local communities.

In terms of leadership, Mr. Gordon says he brings “quiet, very effective leadership,” and his focus is on building consensus. But we know he also isn’t afraid to shake things up when needed, as evidenced by his May 2016 lawsuit against the group overseeing the state Capitol renovation because he believed it violated the state’s constitution by bypassing his office when approving contracts for the work.

Mr. Gordon also would bring his experience working in agriculture, tourism and the oil industry with him to the governor’s office. All of this would help inform some of the challenging decisions he would almost certainly face in the coming years.

Earlier, we said this year’s endorsement process has been difficult. That’s because each candidate has some flaws – some more significant than others. In particular, we’re concerned none has articulated a strong enough vision to help maintain our existing quality of life while adding job opportunities and amenities that will attract and retain the next generation of Wyoming’s workforce.

But given the choices in front of us, we believe Mark Gordon has the best experience and potential, which is why he has our support.

Gordon, Racines Announce Financial Transparency Working Group

Candidates to Appoint Transparency Working Group to Improve Public Access to State Finances

Cheyenne, Wyoming – State Treasurer Mark Gordon, the Republican nominee for Governor of Wyoming, and Kristi Racines, the Republican nominee for State Auditor announced today they will be appointing a working group to address transparency and public access surrounding the state’s finances.

“As Treasurer, I have been committed to transparency and led efforts to ensure Wyoming citizens can clearly see how Wyoming’s portfolio is managed,” said Gordon. “It’s important for Wyoming folks to know how, where and why their portfolio is being managed and what it costs to do it. As Governor, I pledge to work hand-in-hand with our State Auditor to improve access and transparency to our state finances.”

“As Wyoming’s chief accountant, the Auditor is responsible for keeping the books of the state,” said Racines. “Our citizens and lawmakers must have accurate, timely, and reliable financial information in order to make good decisions and hold government accountable. I’m committed to providing the transparency, accountability and open communication Wyoming’s citizens expect and deserve.”

Gordon and Racines announced they have been working collaboratively to establish a working group of key stakeholders, members of the legislature and concerned citizens to develop a plan to improve transparency and accessibility to state financial data. They both noted the critical importance of ensuring all Wyoming citizens have the tools and resources they need to view and understand state revenues and expenditures.

As Treasurer, Gordon led efforts to improve transparency surrounding the state’s financial portfolio resulting in Wyoming earning the number three ranking worldwide for transparency among all sovereign funds from the Peterson Institute, a well-respected Washington, DC financial think tank, coming in just behind Norway and New Zealand and number one in the United States. Gordon also worked nationally with fellow State Treasurers on an Initiative to bring more transparency to how private equity earnings are reported and spearheaded the launch of a new, interactive website to help the public better access state financial information.

Further details on the working group will be released in the coming weeks. Individuals interested in the working group can email transparency@gordonforwyoming.com with questions. To learn more about Gordon, visit gordonforwyoming.com. To learn more about Racines, visit kristiracines.com.

Attack ads have marred our election

By David Peck, via The Lovell Chronicle


Is your mind made up yet? Have you figured out who you’re going to vote for in Tuesday’s Primary Election?

This is simply one of the most difficult-to-call, hard-fought Wyoming elections in recent memory, from contested races at the state level to our 12-candidate race for county commissioner here in Big Horn County – mostly in the Republican races.

The Wyoming Governor’s race has been fiercely fought on the Republican side and is also too close to call. State Treasurer Mark Gordon is a well-respected official who has served his state well, but five others are pounding away at the perceived front-runner, hoping to pull the upset.

We are disturbed to see the terribly negative and misleading attack ads leveled against Treasurer Gordon, an honorable man who doesn’t deserve the shots taken at him. Some of the attacks have come from the campaign of challenger Harriet Hageman of Cheyenne. At least they can be identified. But others have come from a nebulous “dark money” source called Protecting Our Constitution, which, according to a story in the Casper Star-Tribune Wednesday “is neither listed with the Wyoming Secretary of State’s Office nor is it listed as an active political action committee with the Wyoming Board of Elections.”

It is troubling that this kind of attack campaigning has come to Wyoming, and to Gordon’s credit, he has refused to turn negative himself. We like Gordon and believe he is the most qualified candidate to serve as Governor of Wyoming. He knows Big Horn County and has fed calves in Otto, for instance. He has helped our communities as a member of the State Loan and Investment Board.

Gordon understands agriculture, small business, state government, education and high level finance. He’s clearly the best qualified candidate to move our state forward through the brambles of the state budget crisis. He has both experience and integrity, and he has the necessary work ethic.

After speaking as Treasurer at the Lovell Area Chamber of Commerce spring banquet a few years ago, Gordon stayed well after the event to help put away tables and chairs with members of the chamber board. He’s simply a good man.

There are other good people running for Governor, among them Bill Dahlin, Foster Friess and Taylor Haynes. All have spent time in Big Horn County. Sam Galeotos may be a successful Cheyenne businessman, but he has hardly darkened the door of our county.

We urge voters to not give in to the “Gordon is a liberal” hype spewed mostly by unaccountable sources and, rather, support a man of honor who knows our county and our communities.

At the local level, we admire anyone willing to stick his or her neck out to run for an office like county commissioner, and there are many quality candidates on the ballot seeking two GOP nominations. How the vote will come down is anybody’s guess. It’s simply too tough to call, with four candidates from north Big Horn County and eight from south Big Horn County, among them the lone incumbent, Felix Carrizales of Burlington.

Two years ago, north Big Horn County candidates Rich Fink and Nick Lewis essentially cancelled each other out with one seat at play, but this year it’s a hodgepodge with the 12 GOP hopefuls vying for two seats, and it’s difficult to say how it will play out.

But we can say this: the quality of the candidates is high, and it’s a positive thing that so many good people are willing to serve. It will be fascinating to see the results come in on Tuesday night as the precincts report.

The other truly interesting race is the battle for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. Sen. John Barrasso is receiving a rare strong challenge by Jackson businessman Dave Dodson, and in this case it’s the incumbent frontrunner, Sen. Barrasso, who has turned to negative ads portraying Dodson as an outsider. Barrasso will likely win, but it may be closer than people expect.

Other tight races include the GOP race for Senate District 19, where Sen. Ray Peterson is receiving a challenge from RJ Kost of Powell, the statewide battles for Auditor and Treasurer and a four-way race for mayor of Lovell, with two advancing to the General Election.

It is incredible to think that some folks will not vote on Tuesday, but there will be many who ignore our most treasured right. We urge everyone to carefully consider the candidates and vote for the man or woman who will do the best job for each office.

That may seem like a no-brainer, but sometimes a lot of flak gets in the way. Be sure to vote on Tuesday, and may the truly best person win.

–David Peck

Gordon Blasts Court Ruling to Further Stall Wyoming Energy Production

Cheyenne, Wyoming – Treasurer Mark Gordon released the following statement after U.S. District Judge Brian Morris issued a ruling that will require oil, gas and coal leases issued in the Powder River Basin to go through individual reviews as to their impact in fighting climate change, a ruling similar to the one Morris issued earlier this year applying to the region as a whole.

“This ill-conceived, wrongheaded, and politically expedient ruling not only adds unjustified burdens to industries only just recovering from the economic devastation brought on them by a myopic Obama Administration, but appears to be single-mindedly designed to strike at the very heart of Wyoming’s energy industry – putting thousands of jobs and the region’s economy at risk. This ruling only serves to further halt and delay any expansion of coal, oil or natural gas exploration in the Powder River Basin. For too long, federal and judicial overreach has tied Wyoming’s natural resources in bureaucratic red tape. As Governor, I will work with our Attorney General and congressional delegation to push back on these types of burdensome rulings and regulations that stall Wyoming energy production and have devastating impacts on our local and state economies.”

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Gordon is most qualified candidate for governor

Letter from Annemarie McCracken | Cheyenne, Via Wyoming News

Experience matters when choosing the next governor. Sadly, some candidates will spread half-truths trying to divert the conversation from the truly salient issue: who is most qualified?

This is not a time for Wyoming to elect a “newbie” to office. There are too many critical issues that Wyoming is facing, and on-the-job training is not an option.

Candidates can talk about their private sector experience, taking on the federal government, being the most conservative ad nauseum, but if we elect someone who has not had direct experience running a statewide office, then we have essentially relegated the Office of Governor to an entry-level position. This is not the time to elect an entry-level employee to our highest office.

Mark Gordon has been a successful businessman, both in the energy sector with Apache Oil and as a working rancher. He has owned successful small businesses in small-town Wyoming. He has supported his community and his party with both his time and his money.

What sets him apart from the other candidates is his successful term as state treasurer. The investments made by his office increased the Wyoming coffers at a time when other revenues were down.

His votes on the state boards and commissions reflect solid conservative values and the good sense of a businessman. He has defended the state constitution and won. No other Republican candidate can speak to those credentials.

Hard decisions are coming in the next four years, made harder if the national elections put Democrats back in power. Our next governor must know our state, its people and industries AND know firsthand how to make state government work for us.

There is only one candidate that fills those qualifications, and that is Mark Gordon.

Gordon will support coal and Wyoming minerals industries

Via Gillette News Record


I met Mark Gordon when I was a manager at Black Thunder mine. We both served on a citizen’s board that oversees the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality. The board was the judge in conflicts between industry and the environment.

Through every hearing, Mark displayed a great ability to listen to both sides of any conflict and resolve to find a solution so that business could proceed. I saw him ensure that common sense prevailed in decisions on mine reclamation standards and other industrial development.

I am currently working to obtain permits for the coal export facility in Washington state so that we can open up markets for millions of tons of Wyoming coal in Japan and South Korea. I am on the front line of the war between environmentalists and coal. I appreciate all the support from Wyoming in this fight.

Many of you may not realize that Mark Gordon represented Wyoming in public hearings on this project and was instrumental in ensuring that his peers in state government understood the revenues this project could bring to Wyoming. He understands that mineral production is key to Wyoming’s economy and I have witnessed him fighting for it.

I work for the coal industry — as do many of you — and we all care deeply about protecting the environment. Like Mark, in the 1980s, I thought that the Sierra Club was generally trying to do good. But the Sierra Club changed over time and so did our view of it. Just because I might have had big hair in the 1980s doesn’t mean I’m into that today.

I want a governor that can listen to all the viewpoints and find a path forward. I know that Mark Gordon is that man.

Wendy Hutchinson

Gordon Calls for Renewed Commitment to Wyoming Tourism

‘Destination Wyoming’ Plan Calls for Competitive Industry Funding & Protecting Access to Public Lands

Cheyenne, Wyoming – Wyoming Treasurer Mark Gordon is calling for a renewed commitment to growing Wyoming’s tourism and outdoor recreation economies, pledging to fight for competitive funding, protect multiple use and access on public lands for sportsmen and anglers, ensure a skilled workforce and grow the state’s outdoor recreation economy.

“Tourism has long been one of the greatest pillars of Wyoming’s economy, supporting thousands of jobs and small businesses while providing critical local and state revenue,” said Gordon. “Our opportunities to expand and develop Wyoming tourism are as boundless as the mountains, trails and rivers we have to explore.”

Gordon released a plan today, Destination Wyoming, that includes several policy initiatives and priorities to grow Wyoming’s tourism industry. Second only to energy in driving Wyoming’s economy, tourism supports 32,000 jobs and generates approximately $186 million in local and state tax revenues annually.

“I learned to fish, hunt, climb, kayak, and pack here, and had the chance to do it all in some of the most glorious country anywhere, and we could often do it after stacking hay all day,” said Gordon.

“Wyoming’s next Governor must be a champion for tourism as a critical component in diversifying our economy for the long term, creating new job opportunities for the next generation and promoting our western heritage and legacy,” Gordon continued. “I love Wyoming and take every chance I can to tell others about coming here to meet our people, enjoy our hospitality, and take some time to settle into all that Wyoming has to offer.”

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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, I will be a relentless champion for the tourism industry. I 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 my top priorities. I 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.

Ensuring a Skilled & Able 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, I 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, I 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
I’ve worked in tourism and outdoor recreation for many years and I know 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, I 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.

Gordon Praises Nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to Supreme Court

Cheyenne, Wyoming – Wyoming Treasurer and rancher Mark Gordon released the following statement after President Donald Trump nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh to fill the Supreme Court seat left vacant by Justice Anthony Kennedy’s decision to retire.

“Judge Kavanaugh is a strong choice to serve our nation in upholding the laws of our land. His impressive credentials, distinguished record and conservative ideology make him a solid pick to replace Justice Kennedy. This is a solemn duty that requires individuals dedicated to upholding the Constitution as it was written and intended by our founding fathers. I have confidence Judge Kavanaugh will do just that and hope he will be confirmed quickly by the U.S. Senate.”

Gordon Launches Plan to Grow Opportunities & Cut Red Tape for WY Agriculture Producers

Cheyenne, Wyoming – Wyoming Treasurer and rancher Mark Gordon launched a new policy platform today to grow opportunities and cut red tape for Wyoming agriculture producers.

“From beef, lamb, bison and pork, to sugar beets, barley and hops, gluten free oats, organic wheat, and everything in between, Wyoming’s ranchers and farmers combine their experience, knowledge and unparalleled work ethic with our unique environment to deliver universally admired products,” said Gordon. “As a state, we need to step our support and promotion of the agriculture industry, expanding opportunities for exports, driving new technologies that will drive down costs and improve efficiencies, and fight for commonsense federal regulations that don’t tie the hands of our ag producers.”

Gordon’s Growing Wyoming Ag platform includes policy and regulatory initiatives to foster and grow the state’s agriculture economy. Positions and proposed initiatives include:

  • ‘Born and Raised Wyo’ Products: Branding and promoting livestock and agriculture products grown and raised exclusively in Wyoming
  • Meat Inspection in Wyoming: Expand opportunities under the state and federal meat inspection systems for Wyoming producers.
  • Enforcing Wyoming’s Constitutional Obligation to Safeguard Livestock
  • Predator Control and Animal Damage: Ensuring Wyoming’s wildlife is managed by Wyoming and not the Federal Government.
  • Bringing Commonsense to Federal Agencies: Leading the way to reform regulatory structures so they are implemented in a common sense and locally accountable manner.
  • Meaningful Solutions for Transportation: Fighting back against burdensome regulations and pushing for meaningful solutions that ensure safety of livestock and protect Wyoming’s agricultural industry.
  • Protecting Wyoming’s Agriculture Labor Market: Work with Wyoming’s Congressional Delegation to make the H-2A Visa program and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements less burdensome for sheep producers.
  • Crops, Opportunities, and Innovation: Support Ag Innovation Summits and cohesive agriculture policies throughout state government.
  • Expanding Export Markets: Work to expand overseas export markets for Wyoming Ag products to places like Taiwan, Vietnam and China.
  • Driving New Ag Technology: Encourage and help facilitate early adoption of transformative technologies in agriculture.
  • Protecting Wyoming Water: Push back against rules that would expand federal authority over our water and defend Wyoming’s rights under our interstate compacts.

Gordon’s Growing Wyoming Ag policy plan can be found below.

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

Gordon Announces Energy Platform to Power Wyoming Forward

Policy Plan Includes Building Infrastructure, Localizing Decision-Making & Driving Innovation

Cheyenne, Wyoming – With an eye towards protecting and promoting Wyoming’s energy industry long into the future, Treasurer Mark Gordon released a series of policy positions aimed at expanding export markets for Wyoming’s natural resources, localizing decision-making, streamlining regulations and driving innovation.

“Wyoming’s energy industry has long been the backbone of our economy and has served our state, people, communities, businesses and schools tremendously well,” Gordon said. “As the industry and markets change, so must Wyoming and how we approach protecting and promoting our natural resources.”

Gordon’s Power WYO Forward platform was released today and includes policy and regulatory proposals to foster and grow the state’s energy sector. Policy positions include:

  • Building Infrastructure to Export Wyoming Resources
  • Driving Advanced Energy Technologies
  • Streamlining Regulations
  • Localizing Decision Making – Working with Federal Agencies
  • Streamlining & Aligning State Energy Resources
  • All of the Above Energy Policy – There is Room for It All

Gordon noted the important role energy and natural resources will continue to play in Wyoming’s economy for years to come. He said the opportunity before us as a state is positioning Wyoming in such a way to capture more of the value chain than just the raw materials we have relied on in the past.

“Diversifying Wyoming’s economy and maintaining and advancing our core mineral industries are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they go hand-in-hand,” said Gordon. “Wyoming will continue to be an energy state for years to come, so it is our responsibility to not only be a part of the future of the energy sector – but to drive it.”

Gordon’s Power Wyo Forward policy plan can be found below.

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POWER WYO 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.

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.

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.

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.