By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Wyoming’s resiliency through the coronavirus pandemic has allowed the state to fare better than most, Gov. Mark Gordon said Tuesday.
During his address to the Legislature, Gordon praised Wyoming’s willingness to do what was needed to reduce the impact of the virus as much as possible.
“We undertook actions to protect public health,” he said in his remarks. “But unlike other states, we have been able to maintain our way of life and liberty and have striven to keep businesses open and kids in schools.”
Gordon added that there was a “light at the end of the tunnel” of the pandemic, since two coronavirus vaccines have been introduced and are already being distributed across the state and country.
However, he still grieved for the 489 people who have died in Wyoming due to complications from the virus, as well as the 190 people who have died by suicide in the state during the pandemic.
The governor applauded Wyoming’s response to the pandemic from the local level to the federal.
He pointed out that despite the pandemic, tourism in Wyoming still was prosperous, with Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks both seeing record-breaking numbers throughout the late summer and fall months.
“I will add that hunting and fishing in Wyoming remained at near record levels this year and our state parks never had more visitors,” Gordon said.
He thanked Wyoming’s Congressional delegation, U.S. Sens. John Barrasso and Mike Enzi and U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, for helping the state secure $1.25 billion in CARES Act funding, which has almost completely been distributed throughout communities across Wyoming.
“This [money] was a tremendous help in keeping our state and citizens afloat during this pandemic,” he said.
Gordon also touted Wyoming’s low unemployment rate of 5.1% as one of the lowest in the nation.
He added that he would introduce “several policy initiatives” over the next few weeks to help Wyoming stay on its positive path.
“These will make sure we live within our means, simplify our budgeting process, revitalize our education, protect our opportunity and energize our economy,” he said.