Teton Village Association hosted a forum for candidates on the August 21 Primary election ballot for County and State offices last night in Teton Village. Candidates for Senate District 17, Mike Gierau (D) and Kate Mead (R), took the opportunity introduce themselves and speak about their priorities, if elected, including education funding. Teton County Sheriff candidates Michelle Weber (R) and Matt Carr (D) also discussed their priorities for the Sheriff’s office. Gierau and Mead, and Weber and Carr will face off in the general election on November 6, 2018. Rep. Andy Schwartz, HD-23, who is unopposed on the general election ballot in November, attended as well.
The primary election will narrow seven candidates for Teton County Commission to six for three seats on the board. In addition to introductions, the seven County Commission candidates responded to questions about subjects critical to Teton Village. The candidates unanimously recognized Teton Village and Jackson Hole Mountain Resort as key to our community’s winter economy, serving to balance out the peak summer season. “This is a precious goose laying a very golden egg,” said Mary Martin (R), and Seadar Rose Davis (D) joined Martin in praising the spirit of cooperation among the Village Districts to govern themselves.
County Commission candidates also shared their ideas for reducing traffic congestion during the summer months, when our community is experiencing crushing traffic. Luther Propst (D) suggested creating a transit center at Stilson, in a partnership between the County, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, and TVA, that would include a daycare, Zip Cars and secure parking for construction vehicles. Dick Aurelio (D) and Mark Barron (R) agreed that Stilson should be prioritized as a transportation hub, saying others are needed as well. Propst was also joined by Davis and Andrew Byron (R) in proposing increased commuter service, with Byron expressing support for bringing START service to areas of Teton County not currently served by transit, such as Rafter J. Commissioner Mark Newcomb (D), the only incumbent in the race, supported a transit center at Stilson as well, but pointed to a need to be realistic about funding and weigh solutions against the incremental benefit during peak traffic hours in two months of the year.
A lightning round capped the County Commission questions, with all candidates shouting “yes” together when moderator David Yoder asked if the Village has a net positive effect on Teton County and Town of Jackson government revenue and costs.
TVA reminds voters that early and absentee voting is open now for the August 21 primary election – please call or visit the Teton County Clerk’s office for more information. And on the 21st, Teton Village voters can vote at any vote center in the County – the closest is at the Old Wilson Schoolhouse Community Center.