By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily
Gov. Mark Gordon will seek a second term as Wyoming’s chief executive, he announced in Buffalo on Monday.
Gordon, speaking to a crowd of supporters in his hometown, said while he has been able to accomplish much during his first term in office, there is more to do.
“Energy ups and downs and the effects of COVID have been tough on Wyoming” he said in a video announcing his re-election bid. “But we’re going to be OK. We always are when we stick together.”
During his comments in Buffalo, Gordon pointed out Wyoming was one of the states to impose few restrictions on its residents during the coronavirus pandemic and kept students in school for more days than any state in the nation.
“Wyoming and the world have been through a tough stretch these past two years, but we focused on saving both lives and livelihoods,” he said.
Gordon, a former state treasurer, was elected to his first term in the governor’s office in 2018, defeating Democrat Mary Throne by a vote of 136,412 to 55,965.
The majority of Gordon’s first term was marked by his efforts to deal with the coronavirus pandemic and significant cuts in the state’s income due to slumps in the oil and natural gas industry.
In the course of the pandemic, Gordon consistently resisted calls to issue “stay-at-home” orders, instead issuing orders that closed schools and some businesses and prohibited gatherings of 10 or more people.
Gordon repeatedly said he had faith that the common sense actions of Wyoming residents would make a “stay-at-home” order unnecessary.
“We are not trying to shut down Wyoming,” he said during a news conference in March 2020. “But your voluntary action and discipline will make the difference on whether we can slow the spread of COVID-19. I want to emphasize the orders we put in place are only effective if you take them seriously.”
Under Gordon, the state joined several others in challenging the proposal by the administration of President Joe Biden to require coronavirus vaccinations among health care workers and federal employees.
Gordon did require Wyoming residents to use facemasks beginning in December 2020, a decision that generated protest rallies and confrontations at the state Capitol. The mandate was lifted about three months later.
Gordon was also faced with the need to cut the state’s spending by more than $600 million as a slump in the state’s oil and naturals industries, paired with losses of revenue caused by the coronavirus, sent state revenues plummeting.
The state also challenged the Biden administration’s efforts to curtail oil and natural gas production on federal land filing a lawsuit in federal court.
Two others have announced their intention to run for the governor’s office, veterinarian and frequent candidate Rex Rammell and Cheyenne truck driver Aaron Nab.