Let’s make a mountain guide a commissioner. Here’s the text of my speech to the Jackson Hole TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Party, July 17.
I was born in Jackson, raised outside of Wilson, schooled locally.
Up to 2010, my primary career was as a professional mountain guide, mostly for Exum Guides. During my time there I was personnel manager and part owner.
Notwithstanding the joke about guides, that the only difference between a guide and god is that god doesn’t think he’s a guide, it matters that I have that background. Some of the critical skills required of a guide carry over well to the job of commissioner, including listening to and observing people, evaluating their strengths and utilizing those strengths to achieve a goal.The job also requires the ability to communicate clearly and effectively.
That background also matters because I’ve been in the shoes of an employer trying to house employees for a short, intense summer season.
I’ve also been a grounds keeper, condo maintenance person, surveyor helper, table-busser, waiter, laborer, ski patrolman and avalanche hazard forecaster.
That matters because to understand our community’s current challenges, it’s important to have walked in the shoes of our workforce, looking for housing, working multiple jobs at once.
I’m currently working as a consultant in environmental economics. That matters because economics provides a suite of tools for finding constructive ways to address our community’s challenges.
And I’m currently serving my sixth year as a county planning commissioner.
That matters because planning and zoning are the broadest powers granted a county by the state. That power must be wielded judiciously and with clear purpose and intent. I’ve already been looking closely at the proposed development regulation amendments designed to implement our community’s vision as described in the comp plan. I’m prepared to make decisions and get them implemented.
I’m blessed to have parent’s here in the valley. That matters, because I care how our community provides for our elders.
And I’m blessed to be a parent of two boys, aged 3 and 5. Being a parent matters—I’m nothing if not thinking about the future, for them and for our county.
We have accomplished a huge amount as a county. We have many outstanding citizens past and present to thank for those accomplishments. Large tracts of historic ranch land have been permanently conserved. Our pathways stand out nationwide. Our community is vibrant and diverse.
We also have much to do. Let’s be honest, the trajectory of development in our county is off the mark for accomplishing our community’s vision. Our best shot to adjust course is in front of us now as we update our development rules and standards.
My diverse background, my years spent observing and thinking about our county, and my stake in the county, past, present and future, make me immensely qualified for the job of commissioner. Let’s think clearly about our community’s values in a way that takes a long-term view. And let’s give a mountain guide a chance to serve as our commissioner.
Thank you for your consideration. I hope you’ll vote for me August 19th and November 4th.