TORRINGTON – There was no party. There was no cake. There were no banners, no one delivering heaps of praise.
Instead, Wally Wolski spent his last day as the Goshen County Commission’s Chairman touring the site of a collapsed irrigation tunnel along the Fort Laramie-Gering irrigation canal with Governor Mark Gordon, and in his last act as a Goshen County Commissioner, signed his name to a Local Disaster Declaration that will allow the county to seek and utilize disaster funding from a variety of sources, including the State of Wyoming, to help farmers get back on their feet after the collapse deprived more than 100,000 acres of farmland of irrigation water.
On Monday, July 22, Wolski formally announced that he had been appointed as the United States Department of Agriculture Director of Rural Development by President Donald Trump. He was sworn in and assumed his new duties that same day.
“I never really planned on this,” Wolski said. “I was approached on it, and I thought long and hard about it. I decided I wanted to pursue it.”
As the state director, Wolski will oversee a variety of rural development programs for businesses, communities, nonprofits, cooperatives, individuals, lenders, and developers by providing assistance with direct loans, grant funding, and technical assistance.
Wolski said he took the position because it would put him in a position to help a lot of people in the state, not just in Goshen County.
“I’m not doing this for the money or the title,” he said. “I’m doing it because there is a tremendous need in Wyoming for things like broadband and rural infrastructure. I’ll be in a position not only to help Goshen County, but to do it throughout the state.”
Wolski will be one of only three people in the state to be appointed by the president, along with the United States Marshall and the head of the Farm Service Agency. He called the opportunity to be a part of the current White House administration a once-in-a-lifetime chance that he couldn’t pass up.
“I am very much looking forward to embarking upon a challenging new journey and this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to serve the Secretary of Agriculture and the Trump Administration,” he said. “I am anxiously awaiting to launch the next chapter in my life and continue serving my friends and neighbors in this newly appointed position.”
Wolski has also resigned from several other state and local boards and committees, so he could focus on his new position. In addition to the GCC, Wolski also served on Joint Powers Care Center Joint Powers Board, Goshen County Economic Development Board of Directors, Southeast Wyoming Economic Development District Board, and the Wyoming County Commissioners Association boards’ of directors. At the state level, he served as Co-Chairman of the Rural Council and served on the ENDOW Executive Council.
Wolski had served on the Goshen County Commission for six years at the time of his resignation, and was appointed chairman in January after the retirement of Carl Rupp. He was last elected to the commission in 2016, when he received 97.9 percent of the vote.
At the end of the GCC meeting on June 12, Wolski had Vice Chairman John Ellis rap the gavel and adjourn the meeting. Wolski had not announced his resignation at that point, but Wolski said it was a literal way to pass the gavel to Ellis.
“At the end of the evening, when I picked up that gavel and I handed it to John, I said it would be appropriate for him to adjourn the meeting – John already knew that I knew I was resigning,” Wolski said. “That was a symbolic way for me to pass the gavel to him.”