Earlier this week, the Wyoming State Legislature Joint Corporations, Elections and
Political Subdivisions Committee held a meeting in Jackson. In scheduling the meeting
here in Jackson, the Committee cited a desire to hear directly from its citizens about
some of the opportunities and challenges we face in Teton County.
Jackson Hole Working, a local non-profit that has been advocating for small businesses
and working families for more than four years, was pleased to participate in this
democratic process by hosting a ‘Lunch and Learn’ for the committee. ‘Lunch and Learns’
are simply sponsored lunches where hosts have the opportunity to discuss issues
important to them with legislators. These lunches occur all the time during
committee meetings throughout the state and nearly every single day in the Wyoming
State Capitol during Legislative Session. These lunches are public and informal with no
Jackson Hole Working used this opportunity to talk about a host of issues we have been
working on for the past several years including increasing professional job
opportunities, housing, businesses and families leaving the valley, challenges to
growing businesses, early childhood education and childcare. We discussed our shared
lived experiences of trying to start and grow businesses, hire employees, buy homes and
raise our families here in Jackson.
The stories and messages we shared with the Joint Corporations Committee are the
same messages we have shared repeatedly with our Town and County elected officials,
state and the local community on a regular basis for the past four years. We have had
representation at nearly every Town and County meeting over the last four years.
Jackson Hole Working regularly reaches out to Town Councilors and County
Commissioners, voicing our opinion on critical issues and constantly working to be
collaborative partners in this community.
Jackson Hole Working’s mission is to find balance in protecting our valley’s natural
resources, wildlife and unique community character while ensuring this is a place where
working people can raise their families and run a business.
Jackson Hole Working is NOT against housing. Our Board Members have contributed
greatly to the valley’s housing supply and supported commonsense policies that would
remove roadblocks to building multi-family housing units. We know first-hand the
challenges facing small businesses in providing housing for our valued community
members, neighbors and friends. And we are committed to being part of the solution.
Jackson Hole Working has never taken a position on legislation. At no point during
Monday’s lunch did Jackson Hole Working bring up a specific bill or advocate for it one
way or another.
It is our hope that discussions surrounding proposed legislation will provide an
opportunity to, again, sit down with our local elected officials to discuss housing and
other issues that affect families and the working class in Jackson.
When it comes to housing solutions for Teton County, there is no silver bullet. Jackson
Hole Working hopes to see a robust plan that includes incentives, the return of zoning
tools responsible for much of the affordable housing in our community; Town and
County leadership on large scale housing projects; and the inclusion of innovative
Jackson Hole Working has been pleased to work with our County Commissioners, Town
Councilors and staff for the past four years. While we have not always seen eye-to-eye,
we have appreciated our working relationship and look forward to continuing this
dialogue and collaboration into the future.