Candidate Forum Summary

Teton Village District Offices

Teton Village Association hosted a candidate forum in Teton Village on October 9, 2018 featuring candidates for Senate District 17, House District 23, Teton County Commission, Assessor, Sheriff and
Teton Village Districts.

All but one of the eight candidates for Teton County Commission said Teton Village is an important part of our community, and want to improve communications with Village leaders. Sandy Ress was the lone candidate who said the Village doesn’t mean much to him. County Commission candidates responded to questions about subjects critical to Teton Village, including complete neighborhoods and reducing summer traffic. But first they were asked to share their favorite memories of the Village. Some spoke of learning to ski at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, while others experienced big mountain skiing for the first time here. Candidates repeatedly recognized the successful efforts of Village leaders to mitigate traffic, and partner with START Bus to increase transit ridership. And they discussed future strategies to further mitigate traffic, such as fostering a year-round livable community with a grocery store in the Village, and a state of the art transit center at Stilson.  Seven candidates expressed support for the lodging tax, with Mark Newcomb saying the lodging tax isn’t responsible for growth and without it, our community has less funding for transportation, public safety and quality of life.

All four candidates for seats in the State Legislature representing Teton Village agreed the Special Districts in Teton Village are getting it right in providing facilities and services for their constituents. Rep. Mike Gierau and Kate Mead are running for Senate District 17, while incumbent Rep. Andy Schwartz is being challenged by Alex Muromcew for House District 23. They were also asked to propose how to change the perception that sometimes arises that Teton County isn’t part of Wyoming, and what more the state can do to support the role Teton Village plays in the state’s economy.

Current Teton County Assessor Melissa Shinkle and challenger Maurine Karabatsos explained the job of the County Assessor, discussed how much discretion state statute allows, and how they would exercise it. While candidates for Teton County Sheriff discussed the future of a law enforcement presence in Teton Village. Slade Ross proposed posting a Deputy in the Village again, as used to be the case, who would actually be out on the mountain on skis. Michelle Weber proposed forming Community Action groups in areas of the County such as Teton Village and Alta. And Matt Carr was represented by Jim Rooks, who spoke of Matt’s understanding of and dedication to Teton Village, based on his nearly 20 years working at JHMR, first as an instructor and then on Ski Patrol.

Candidates running in contested elections for seats on the Village District Boards also addressed the crowd with statements sharing their background and qualifications for heading the Teton Village Improvement & Service District and Teton Village Special Fire District.

TVA reminds voters that early and absentee voting is open now for the General Election – please call or visit the Teton County Clerk’s office for more information, including precinct maps and sample ballots. And on November 6, Teton Village voters can vote at any vote center in the County from 7am to 7pm – the closest is at the Old Wilson Schoolhouse Community Center. Wyoming State Statute requires employers provide employees a break to vote for up to one hour (applies to employees who don’t have three consecutive hours off work during the hours the polls are open).       

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