TORRINGTON – Republican Wyoming Treasurer Mark Gordon was on the stump Friday at the Bread Doctor here as he toured the state for his official announcement of his intentions to run for governor to replace current Gov. Matt Mead, who term-limits out of office this year.
Gordon, who ranches in Kaycee and Buffalo with his wife Jennie, who accompanied him on the cross-state tour this week, kicked off his tour March 14 in Buffalo. He was appointed in 2012 to fill the term of Joseph Meyer, who died in office. He ran and was elected to the job in 2014.
Gordon touted his experience in agriculture, as well as business, including working for a Fortune 500 oil and gas company, as his qualifications for the office of governor. He’s also the only candidate in a field of now five individuals with experience in elected office.
His platform includes promoting Wyoming as a more “business friendly” state, due to fewer regulations. At the same time, he wants the education system in the state to be “second-to-none.”
“It’s always been our belief that we get government out of the way, create a foundation for small businesses,” Gordon told The Telegram during an interview before his prepared remarks to the group.
“When I think about the opportunities Jennie and I have had over the years, I want to make sure to preserve those opportunities for future generations,” he said. “This is what makes our towns what they are – people willing to step up and take a chance.”
But Gordon also said, having worked in the tourism industry, he’s aware of its importance to the state economy. A balance has to be struck between business and industry and maintaining the natural beauty which attracts scores of visitors to Wyoming annually.
“Tourism is a huge part of our state,” he said. “There’s much more to Wyoming than Yellowstone and the Tetons. There’s so much history, such
“But regulatory burdens, we need to be sure they’re kept very small,” Gordon said. “This is what makes Wyoming what it is (so business) can come to Wyoming and write its own book. We can regulate ourselves and do it with common sense.”
Gordon also spoke to the issue of the state’s budget shortfall, particularly as it affects the state’s education system. While stating one of his goals was to “make sure the education system (in Wyoming) is second to none,” Gordon said it’s up to local school boards – with the help of the state – to set and stick to budgets that work within the
“Growing up on a ranch, running my own businesses – in all these cases, we had to build a budget, set priorities,” Gordon said. “When we talk about education, we need an honest conversation about what things are nice to have and what we really need to have.”
Getting the state’s struggling budget in order is a priority, he said, noting the Legislature has earmarked portions of the state’s $1.5 billion Legislative Stabilization Reserve Account, more commonly known as the “rainy-day fund,” as a potential source for some relief. During the 2018 budget session, the state House of Representatives expressed desires to use that savings account as well as investment income to help offset the budgetary shortfalls for K-12 education. The Senate, though, promoted major cuts to government services to reduce expenses, dismissing the idea of dipping into the rainy-day fund as a long-term solution.
As treasurer, Gordon said he’s worked on methods to invest portions of the state coffers and get increased returns, while at the same time safeguarding those monies.
“But we can’t spend all that in one year,” Gordon said. “We need to get the budget in order. We need leadership to say we have to balance the budget.”