By Leo Wolfson, State Politics Reporter
Gov. Mark Gordon’s top staffer has stepped down.
The governor’s office announced Wednesday afternoon that Chief of Staff Buck McVeigh will retire after 36 years of working for the state of Wyoming.
“Having been given the opportunity to serve as Governor Gordon’s chief was truly the honor of a lifetime for me,” McVeigh said in a press release. “It is with a heavy heart that I leave this fine man’s side.”
McVeigh will be replaced by state Sen. Drew Perkins, R-Casper. Perkins lost his bid for a fifth term in the August primary.
No Stranger To State Policy
Perkins, an attorney, chairs the Appropriations Committee and Select Committee on Capital Finance and Investments. He has served as Senate president, majority floor leader and Senate vice president.
“I am honored and humbled to be asked to try and fill Buck McVeigh’s shoes as the Governor’s Chief of Staff. That will be a tall order,” Perkins said in the press release. “I have enjoyed working with Governor Gordon since he served as Treasurer. I respect him immensely and consider him a good friend.
“I am excited to assist the Governor and his team as he starts his second term, and to have the opportunity to work full-time in continuing to serve Wyoming and her people.”
Gordon and Perkins have had similar career paths, as the governor became state treasurer in 2012.
“Drew and I have enjoyed a longstanding respect and friendship going back to my time as Treasurer,” the Governor said. “Throughout that time, I have found his advice to be correct and valuable. From the passage of Amendment A to more recent budgets, Drew has been a trusted source of wisdom and perspective. I eagerly look forward to working with him.”
Goes Back To 1980
McVeigh joined the state in 1980 with the Department of Agriculture. His career included stints with the Department of Administration and Information, the State Auditor’s Office and the Public Service Commission.
He joined Gordon’s staff initially as the governor’s policy director, but moved up to acting chief of staff in June 2019 when former chief of staff Pat Arp retired. The appointment was made permanent three months later.
McVeigh also was co-chairman of the state’s Consensus Revenue Estimating Group for 14 years and served as executive director of the Wyoming Taxpayers Association for five years.
“I will never be able to thank Buck adequately for his extraordinary service to the state and her citizens,” Gordon said. “Long before he joined my office or served as Chief of Staff, Buck had a distinguished career with Wyoming, which gave him invaluable insight into and knowledge of our state. It has been an honor to serve with Buck, and a treasure to enjoy his friendship.”
‘No Words To Describe It’
McVeigh said of all the positions he’s held in his career, being chief of staff was the most challenging. He was a key part of the governor’s staff while the cabinet maneuvered the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There are truly no words to describe it,” McVeigh said. “A 24-7-365 job with endless days. We made it through some awfully difficult times over these last four years. And I say with all honesty, I couldn’t have done it without the incredible staff and cabinet that we have.”