Governor Mark Gordon has released the planning framework for how to leverage resources, including federal relief funds, to make sure Wyoming thrives in the years to come. Governor Gordon wants to ensure that funds are spent strategically, to maximize the benefits to the state.
“We have the opportunity to use these funds to help shape the Wyoming of the future and make our state an even more desirable place to live, work and visit,” Governor Gordon said. “We have identified some critical areas where we should focus our efforts, and which will maximize the opportunity that we have before us. Since it is our great-grandchildren who will be paying for this government funding, it is that generation that deserves to benefit from it.”
Governor Gordon asked a “Strike Team” of key individuals to develop the strategy. The Strike Team worked with the Governor’s policy team, cabinet, and many stakeholders to develop a plan to best maximize the COVID-19 related federal funds in the near-term, mid-term, and long-term. The strategy identifies what the state needs to do to survive, and what could be done to better drive to a future where all of Wyoming can thrive.
In the Survive phase, several immediate problems were identified that will be addressed with the remaining CARES Act dollars or other available federal funds. These include funding to address increased needs for mental health and substance abuse services; tax relief for businesses; identifying underserved areas needing improved broadband connectivity; expanding camping at Wyoming State Parks to address overcrowding; and increasing employment opportunities in the oil and gas industry through the Energy Rebound program.
In the Drive phase, several goals were identified for further study and planning. These included
- Strengthen Wyoming’s economy by activating new economic sectors and creating new jobs, as well as identifying ways to add value to Wyoming’s current businesses and core industries.
- Create better alignment among workforce, economic development, and educational opportunities to achieve balance between available workforce and available employment opportunities.
- Expand outdoor recreation and enhance wildlife populations.
- Focused efforts to retain and attract working families and young adults to permanently live and raise families in Wyoming.
- Promote and enhance Wyoming food supply, distribution, and markets.
- Identify and complete necessary and beneficial infrastructure projects.
The Governor will continue working with his cabinet, policy staff and strike team on planning and study efforts for each of the Drive goals. Outreach to stakeholders will continue through the remainder of the Drive phase. Some areas are so complex and robust, however, that the study/planning period may last well into next year.
In addition to this plan, the Governor asked the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) to prepare its plan for continued COVID-19 response. The WDH plan is included as an appendix to the Governor’s Strategy.
The complete report on the Proposals for the Future is available on the Governor’s website.