OPINION: The case for progressive candidates

By on October 29, 2014

Jackson Hole, Wyoming – As Natalia Macker, candidate for House District 22, wrote in a recent editorial in the JH News&Guide, “Voters want rational, responsible and reasonable people they can trust to represent them in the Legislature because we are busy living our lives. We trust that our roads will be plowed, our water will be clean and our schools will be excellent. We believe that our government will be well managed, allowing our communities to thrive and preserving our proud Wyoming way of life.”

Good government is about protecting public values while creating a level playing field for the private sector so our markets can thrive in an environment where everyone knows the rules for developing property and for commercial activity. Government has to be stable and consistent in its decisions, and elected officials have to make decisions with integrity, in a transparent process.

But sometimes the free markets fail to protect community values. In Teton County, the markets have created a workforce housing shortage because the underlying market values so far exceed free market opportunities for even those making excellent salaries, and especially those making less. Economic growth and development are also exacerbating traffic congestion in town, especially during the busy summer months. In both of these cases and others, local government must lead the community to real solutions. Otherwise the housing trends will undermine our community character and the growth in traffic will diminish wildlife resources.

County commissioner candidate Ben Ellis seeks a dedicated funding source for long-term planning, purchasing and development of affordable and employee housing. Mark Newcomb, also a candidate for county commissioner, prioritizes a transportation plan that reflects our community values, fosters steady improvements in the START Bus system and completes local pathway loops. And commissioner candidate Smokey Rhea believes balancing environmental preservation with economic and social diversity is necessary to sustain our community character. We must solve our local problems locally, to keep Jackson Hole vibrant and minimize the impacts of growth on our roads, wildlife and natural environment.

Sometimes, free markets fail to provide equitable pay for equal work. Macker is concerned that the wage gap in our state results in an annual economic loss of $1.2 million to Wyoming’s women and families, and if elected she will work for equal pay laws to strengthen and diversify Wyoming’s economy. That concern is shared by Andy Schwartz, candidate for HD23, who also is focused on promoting investment in education, research and infrastructure to enhance revenues and opportunities in Wyoming’s future.

Join me in voting for these progressive candidates for a better quality of life. Let’s also vote for the most qualified candidates for County Assessor and County Clerk of Court. Andy Cavallaro would be the first Certified Residential Appraiser elected as County Assessor in the state of Wyoming. Anne Comeaux, Treatment Court Program Director and candidate for County Clerk of Court, holds a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Wyoming.

Join me in supporting fiscally prudent investments in our community and state, and governance at all levels that seek common ground and consensus and rejects gridlock and propaganda. Vote for economic sustainability, growth on Wyoming’s terms and a government that does not interfere in the private lives of its citizens.

Please take advantage of this opportunity to participate in the democratic process. VOTE on or before November 4. Our quality of life depends on it, and every vote counts.

About Teton County Commissioner Melissa Turley

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