Gordon sees Wyoming on an upward trend in 2022
Cheyenne – In his Feb. 14 State of the State address, Gov. Mark Gordon likened the current situation for Wyoming to a long, brutal day of trailing cattle, noting, “Here in Wyoming, we have had a hard pull, too, over the past couple of years, and folks are wondering if the end will ever come into view. But I believe we are beginning to see the first rays of our sunrise.”
Gordon continued, despite the challenges which hit the state, Wyomingites kept working, learning and moving forward, even continuing to stand up for their values when mandates from Washington, D.C. emerged.
“Despite tremendous challenges, Wyoming is getting stronger and stronger,” he said. “We are strong because of our character, resilient because of our nature and optimistic be-cause Wyoming people are doers.”
“We respect folks who get things done, not the critics and naysayers,” Gordon continued. “I believe there is an undeniable momentum in Wyoming these days.”
As for the momentum moving forward, Gordon also added he is bound by the Wyoming Constitution to do two things – prepare a balanced budget and ensure legislative districts are appropriately redrawn to reflect census data.
At the top of his priority list, Gordon cited the need to present a balanced budget for the state of Wyoming. Further, he said he has developed a well-planned, transparent and forward-looking budget, which is frugal, as it should be.
“We all recognize the challenges we have faced over the last couple of years, and it is encouraging we have seen an uptick in revenues. But even these have come in the teeth of the highest inflation rate we’ve seen in 40 years,” Gordon emphasized. “Those of us building businesses at the time remember how devastating the cure to high inflation was to many of our farms and ranches. It crippled energy businesses, and it changed Wyoming.”
Gordon kept the inflation of the 1980s in his sightlines in developing his budget, committing to operating effectively and efficiently while also living within the means of the state.
Additionally, Gordon noted energy continues to be a target of the Biden administration, so the long-term fiscal health of Wyoming is crucial to maintaining the state’s ability to fight back against federal mandates.
“This is why I have proposed placing an additional $400 million in savings,” he commented. “I have also proposed several other actions to deal with inflation.”
Among items in the budget, Gordon proposed increasing the salaries for state employees to competitive levels so agencies can be staffed at levels to enable them to serve the state of Wyoming effectively.
“The First Lady and I have not been idle with regard to agriculture,” Gordon emphasized. “We are engaged across the sector to promote our industry, and we look forward to doing even more in the years to come.”
Gordon cited water as a particular area of interest, noting Wyoming’s water must be protected, particularly in light of ongoing drought across the West.
“The ongoing drought in the West has raised the stakes over water rights in the Colorado, Snake, Platte and Yellowstone drainages,” he said. “When drought or the federal government threatens Wyoming water users, our agricultural producers, our industry, our communities, we cannot afford to be short-handed or unprepared.”
As a result, Gordon’s budget reflects additional resources for both the state engineer and the attorney general.
The tourism industry also remains at the forefront of Gordon’s mind, as the industry has continued to be a bright spot in the state.
“More people continue to come here to visit and enjoy what we love about this state,” he said. “Revenue from lodging is now saving the general fund money and creating opportunities for new investments in outdoor recreation.”
Gordon continued, “People love Wyoming. We need more camping spots, boat ramps and trails so we can continue to provide more access to Wyoming’s great outdoors.”
Further, Gordon noted now is the right time to utilize one-time revenues to fill the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust, which will continue to bring returns to the state – including ranches and businesses – for many years.
Wyoming way of life
In closing his address, Gordon noted, despite the challenges seen, Wyoming is at the top of its climb with brighter days ahead.
“As governor, I am always asked, why am I so optimistic? It’s simple,” he said. “To paraphrase a wise man, what lies behind us are small matters compared to what lies ahead, and this depends on what lies within us.”
Gordon continued, thanking legislators for their work and encouraging the body to “move forward with courage, confidence and conviction.”
“A lot of things come to mind when the term ‘cowboy’ comes up,” Gordon concluded. “To me, it’s not a big hat, angora chaps or tough talk. A cowboy is a decent, practical, hardworking sort of person, whose humility is infectious, whose ability knows no bounds and who would do anything for a buddy, knows horses and is not afraid to admit mistakes.”
“Right now, the world needs more cowboys,” Gordon concluded. “God bless America, and God bless Wyoming.”
Saige Zespy is a corresponding writer for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.