Gov. Mark Gordon unveiled his vision for the state on Monday with pledges to work for efficient government operations, increased opportunities for economic development at the local level and stable funding for the state’s school system.
In comments made during his inauguration at Cheyenne’s Civic Center, Gordon told the crowd of about 900 attending the ceremony that he is convinced that Wyoming’s future will be bright as long as it continues to build on its strengths.
“Looking back at the wisdom and prudence of those that came before us and reflecting on the potential of future generations, I believe more than ever that Wyoming is in a position to develop solutions to global challenges,” he said. “Those solutions will be rooted in our sense of place, our home and the things that we hold dear.”
Gordon, who served as state treasurer for six years before being elected governor, said the state’s leaders will have to balance wants and needs as they examine state spending.
“We will have choices to make that relate to government spending,” he said. “The services we have come to expect, and in some cases depend on, come with a price tag. We in Wyoming are not eager to take on new taxes and especially so if we have not done our best to control our expenditures.”
However, the answer will not lie in simply cutting expenses, Gordon said.
“I believe we will need to become more efficient and not just cheaper,” he said. “We need to become more effective, even as we become leaner, and we must invest in the people, programs and systems that will make it all possible.”
Gordon also stressed that the state should do what it can to encourage economic development at the local level.
“Rather than grow government, let us grow opportunity in the places we live,” he said. “To that end, my administration will work to assure that our towns and counties have the tools and resources they need to cultivate their own economies.”
The state’s future will also depend on the quality of its schools, Gordon said, promising to work toward a more stable system for funding education in Wyoming.
The inauguration ceremony for Gordon and the state’s four other top elected officials — Secretary of State Ed Buchanan, Treasurer Curt Meier, Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow and Auditor Kristie Racines — was actually the second of the day. The five were first sworn into office during early-morning ceremonies inside the Wyoming Capitol, which is undergoing renovation.
“It was important to me that our terms begin in the people’s house and that they be affirmed here in this moment,” he said.
Also present at Monday’s inaugural were Wyoming’s three congressional delegates — U.S. Sens. Mike Enzi and John Barrasso and U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney — and former Govs. Matt Mead, Dave Freudenthal, Jim Geringer and Mike Sullivan.
Gordon will issue his “state-of-the-state” address to Wyoming’s Legislature on Monday.