ShelterJH has endorsed local candidates for the general election. Early voting is now open!
A candidate endorsed by ShelterJH is a proven housing champion. The criteria for our endorsements include our judgment of candidates’ commitment to affordable housing in general; their commitment to our most vulnerable neighbors in particular; their likely effectiveness; their willingness to communicate directly with our organization; and their alignment with our policy priorities such as establishing sustainable public funding for housing. We did not consider political party affiliation, personal connections, or personal support for any candidate, and our board members who are working directly on campaigns recused themselves entirely from these discussions.
This election season, ShelterJH leadership incorporated several new elements into our endorsement process. Besides our usual candidate questionnaire and candidate forum, we also hosted member meetings with our English- and Spanish-speaking members to get their direct input on candidates; incorporated years of vote tracking for incumbent candidates; created a detailed rubric for comparison purposes; and invited each candidate for a personal interview.
We have chosen not to endorse candidates for some races. In these cases, we have recommended the candidates who are most aligned with our values.
Three of the four candidates for Town Council demonstrate a commitment to housing locals locally. While Jonathan Schechter has made pro-housing decisions during his tenure as a Town Councilor, his belief that relocating the fairgrounds is a “non-issue” for the upcoming Town Council stands in stark contrast to our policy priorities. He is also hesitant to support the potential Housing Council, which we believe is a key piece to building collaboration around housing efforts in the valley. If re-elected, we hope to educate him more on these pressing issues.
- ENDORSED: Arne Jorgensen is a proven housing champion with decades of experience supporting housing initiatives for locals. He is eager to get involved with projects and embodies our values consistently through his votes. He travels to our Capitol on behalf of local housing issues and interacts constructively with our membership. We are confident he would continue to support our goals if re-elected.
- ENDORSED: Devon Viehman has strengthened her advocacy for the real estate tax since she last ran for office in 2020. She enthusiastically engages with ShelterJH and seeks our advice and input on local issues. She looks to other mountain communities for innovative solutions to our housing emergency and has strong state connections that could benefit Teton County in Cheyenne. We believe that her enthusiasm would be an asset to the Town Council.
It is exciting to see so many qualified candidates running for County Commission. Brenden Cronin, although new to the local political scene, is committed to learning about solutions to the housing crisis in the valley. Brenden has the potential to become a strong housing champion in time. The three Republican candidates for County Commission all had varying levels of support for government involvement in the housing crisis, including critical changes like lobbying for a real estate tax, increasing the density in Northern South Park, and relocating the fairgrounds. In the end, we are endorsing two candidates for County Commission, and recommending one.
- ENDORSED: Wes Gardner’s policy stances and priorities closely align with ours: he supports all housing SPET measures; wants to find a new, permanent, state-of-the-art home for the fairgrounds; and believes in building collaboration via a new Housing Council. He asks us questions and thoughtfully engages with our organization.
- ENDORSED: Luther Propst eagerly includes us in his policy considerations. We especially appreciate his thoughtful approach to issues like Northern South Park and Legacy Lodge, and he understands that sometimes you need to say “no” to subpar housing developments to make way for plans that truly support locals. His voting record is strong and we look forward to working with him more.
- RECOMMENDED: Mark Newcomb is a dedicated community leader who has made many pro-housing decisions while serving on the Commission. We are grateful for his commitment to housing, but given the gravity of our local housing crisis, we need him to go beyond good work to truly outstanding work to move the housing needle. We hope that if re-elected, he will be open to meeting with us more frequently and taking stronger stances to support homes for locals.
House District 16
ENDORSED: Mike Yin has built essential statewide relationships while serving as a representative in Cheyenne. We are thrilled to support his re-election, his efforts to pass a real estate tax, and his creative approaches to housing solutions like a second/empty home tax. We are fortunate to have him as a supporter of ShelterJH.
House District 22
RECOMMENDED: While not yet a proven housing champion, Bob Strobel supports local control (i.e. letting counties decide whether or not to impose a real estate tax) and is open to ideas like a property tax rebate and a second/empty homes tax. His opponent is vehemently opposed to government-subsidized housing, which is directly contrary to our fundamental understanding that the free market alone cannot solve the housing crisis in Teton County. If elected, we hope to work with Bob to deepen his understanding of the housing crisis and how it can be addressed at the state level.
House District 23
ENDORSED: Liz Storer has the ability and experience to advocate for housing solutions in Cheyenne. While her opponent is also a community leader, his opposition to tax reform will not allow us to create and sustain the revenue streams necessary for addressing our housing needs.
Senate District 17
RECOMMENDED: Incumbent Mike Gierau is not a housing champion yet, but he has the institutional knowledge and experience needed to further progressive goals in Cheyenne. He understands the need for tax reform based on the lack of income from the extractive industry in Wyoming. While his opponent Amanda Padilla is open to the idea of tax reform and has the potential to be an effective senator, her lack of knowledge regarding the intricacies of state-level opportunities for tax reform is problematic. We hope she continues to learn with us about how to utilize state power to lift up all Wyoming communities.
Get to the polls by November 8!
If you haven’t registered to vote yet, there’s still time! Early voting opens on September 23 and the general election is on November 8.
ShelterJH is a membership organization created by Jackson’s middle-class and working-class workers. We are especially focused on solutions for our neighbors living with the most housing insecurity. As a 501(c)4 nonprofit instead of the typical 501(c)3, we can endorse, oppose, and support candidates – and help get and hold them accountable once they take office. Please join our movement and be ready to vote by November 8!