A Legacy of Conservation

By on May 9, 2018

Teton County Republicans host Theodore Roosevelt IV


JACKSON HOLE, WY – When Paul Vogelheim became chairman of the Teton County Republican Party last March, he sat down with the executive committee and members to identify three guiding principles: fiscal responsibility and private sector solutions; respect and compassion for individual freedoms; and conservation and responsible stewardship.

“It’s very different than what’s going on in D.C. and different than what’s going on in the rest of the country and state,” he said.

It was stewardship and conservation that first drew Vogelheim to the Republican Party and is a value important to almost everyone in Teton County, he said.

The Republican Party’s conservation legacy began with President Theodore Roosevelt, who designated Devil’s Tower as the first national monument, created the U.S. Forest Service, the Antiquities Act, five national parks and inspired Vogelheim to become a Republican.

Vogelheim hopes Roosevelt’s great-grandson, Theodore Roosevelt IV, inspires others in the same way. The younger Roosevelt will speak at 7 p.m. Monday, May 14 at the National Museum of Wildlife Art.

Vogelheim isn’t sure what Roosevelt will speak about, though it will be conservation-related.

“He’s going to be a character, just like his great-grandfather,” Vogelheim said. “It is important especially today to rekindle these conservation values, so it’s an honor to host Mr. Roosevelt.”

The legacy that the former president started in the party didn’t end with him, Vogelheim said. President Richard Nixon created the EPA. President Ronald Reagan combatted acid rain. President George H.W. Bush put aside large swaths of public land and advocated for a zero-net loss for wetlands, Vogelheim said.

Locally, Vogelheim named John Turner, former head of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, as a Republican passionate about conservation.

Vogelheim wants the party in Teton County to return to that legacy. It believes public lands should be owned by the federal government, a deviation from the national party’s stance.

“If you are a conservative, you should be a good conservationist,” he said.

Roosevelt certainly is an advocate for conservation, Vogelheim said. He lives in New York City and serves as chairman of the Clean Tech Initiative and co-chairman of the Military Services Network for Barclays Investment Bank. He also serves as chairman emeritus of the National League of Conservation Voters and served as a trustee for Trout Unlimited and World Resource Institute. He’s also board chair of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, serves on the board of The Climate Reality Project, is a member of the governing council of the Wilderness Society and is a trustee for the American Museum of Natural History.

Roosevelt is a former Navy Seal and served in Vietnam. He earned an MBA from Harvard Business School and frequently speaks on environmental issues around the world.

Vogelheim hopes people come to Roosevelt’s talk and think about conservation and what it means to be a Republican in Teton County.

“The more centrist Republicans have been very quiet and shame on us if we aren’t standing up and reiterating these core values that we’ve had that seem to be overrun with social issues or get lost in the rhetoric coming out of D.C.,” he said. “I hope that people realize that conservation values and environmental issues we are dealing with should not be partisan or party issues, but should be issues for all of us, part of the common ground that we are all working on.”

Vogelheim said he’s proud to be a part of the Teton County Republican Party. He hopes an independent voter might hear what the party stands for at the talk and think about it a little differently and see what Vogelheim values.

“I hope they think ‘Wow, these guys make some sense,’” Vogelheim said.

Vogelheim hopes that Roosevelt is also able to talk to students at the Jackson Hole Community School. And Roosevelt said he’s bringing a fly rod he’d like to try out before he leaves for his next engagement in England. 

Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at TetonGOP.com. Organizers expect the event will sell out.

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