Governor Mark Gordon delivered his 2020 State of the State Address before a Joint Session of the 65th Legislature on Monday morning, emphasizing the strength of the state, bright spots in Wyoming’s economy, and his successes from his first year in office.
“Wyoming remains strong thanks to her people, and because we have planned well for challenging times,” Governor Gordon said in his remarks. “I’m confident we’ll remain strong by aggressively engaging our future and seizing our opportunities.”
The recorded speech and prepared comments of the State of the State Address will be available at https://governor.wyo.gov/.
Addressing both chambers of the Legislature before the opening of the 24-day budget session, Governor Gordon emphasized that his proposed budget charts a fiscally stable path, keeping ongoing spending flat while curbing spending in areas including capital construction.
The speech stressed the Governor’s support for Wyoming’s energy industry, noting his decision to challenge Washington’s discriminatory denial of a permit to construct a coal export terminal before the U.S. Supreme Court. The Governor also reiterated his desire to invest in carbon capture and sequestration technology.
“Wyoming will always advocate for our industries, whether it be to protect against unconstitutional restraint of trade, or in their endeavors to deliver cleaner, more dependable, more affordable, and safer energy to our nation,” he said.
Governor Gordon also highlighted his efforts to preserve Wyoming’s natural resources, including his Invasive Species Initiative that is exploring better ways to combat the spread of invasive species across the state. He also praised the work of the Big Game Migration Corridor Advisory Group and its efforts to strike a balance that respects landowners’ private rights and maintains Wyoming’s wildlife and resources. He plans to issue an Executive Order based on the group’s recommendations.
“(This) provides a practical way to identify, designate, and protect a few migration routes without offending private property rights,” he said.
Addressing education, the Governor celebrated the fact that Wyoming has obtained resources to “strategize, evaluate and improve our early-education, K-12 and post secondary systems.” He will continue efforts to better align post-secondary education opportunities, and also urged legislators to examine how the state can sustainably fund its education system.
“I am committed to working with you to find a solution,” he said of K-12 education funding. “This is something we simply cannot afford to put off. This train has arrived and the people of Wyoming know it. Let us not miss it.”
The Gordon administration will continue working to improve access and lower the cost of healthcare in the state through innovative approaches. The Governor reiterated his support for funding an in-state suicide hotline.
He also expressed a desire to expand tourism and outdoor recreation in Wyoming, noting that both are significant sources of revenue, much of which comes from out of the state.
During his address, the Governor highlighted the contributions of several Wyoming citizens whose service and actions reflect the best of Wyoming. They included: Goshen Irrigation District Manager Rob Posten; Wyoming Teacher of the Year Dane Weaver from Tensleep; Campbell County coal mine employee Dan Baker; Kemmerer Mine manager Rob Piippo; Wyoming High Patrol Trooper Jaime Wingard; and Captain Scott Koenig of the Wyoming Army National Guard.