Public Comment Guide

We want to make sure our members and supporters feel empowered to participate in public meetings. You do not have to be a subject matter expert to engage in political processes; you do need to care about the issue you are commenting on and be prepared to share your “why”!

Please use our resources about how to contact your elected officials and officials and to see upcoming meeting schedules.

Scroll to the bottom of the page to see an example of an effective public comment.

Two ways to share public comment:

  • During a meeting: in person or online via Zoom
    • When you are attending an in-person meeting, make sure you are checking the corresponding agenda. If the item you are commenting on is on the agenda, you are expected to wait until that item comes up to share your comment. If you are commenting on an item that is not on the agenda, there is an opportunity to share your comment at the beginning of the meeting.
    • Live comments should be no more than three minutes long.
  • Anytime: Email, phone calls, snail mail

Public Comment Tips

Do your research.

If you plan to make a specific ask and/or reference data in your comment, make sure you do your research. Comments do not have to be full of statistics—in fact, it’s often more effective to share your personal story. However, ensure you have at least a rudimentary understanding of the issue at hand. Our resource pages are a great place to start! Reach out to us if you need more information about a particular topic.

Maintain decorum.

Whether you are commenting in person or penning an email to an elected, here are some principles to keep in mind while drafting your message:

  • Address the head of the governing body along with additional members
  • Introduce yourself and share where you live, share any affiliations you may have: are you representing a local group of some kind?
  • Consider thanking officials for their time

For example: “Good morning Mayor Morton-Levinson and Jackson Town Councilors, my name is XX and I live in Driggs and work in Teton County. Thanks for taking the time to listen to/read my comment about XX.”

Be concise.

Your comment can be as short or involved as you like. Try to avoid repeating what other commenters have shared. Make every word count.

Employ a clear ask.

Make sure your electeds know what you want them to do. Do you want them to vote no on an ordinance? Fund an initiative? Hold a specific group accountable? Hire more staff? Make a clear and direct ask ideally at the beginning and end of your comment.

Make your comment personal!

Share your story: why are you here? Why is this issue important to you? Consider utilizing organizer Marshall Ganz’s storytelling principles by including a story of self, us, and now: learn more here.

For example: 

  • I have moved six times in the last six months; I have watched as friends and family have been forced out of the valley due to a lack of housing options; I struggle to staff my small business; I am unable to afford my property taxes; etc.

Hold electeds accountable.

Did you vote for a specific candidate based on their campaign promises? If so, remind them why you voted for them and reiterate your expectations of them while they serve in public office.

Public Comment Example

Good morning Chair Propst and Commissioners, my name is XX, I’ve lived in Teton County for over a decade, and I’m here to ask you to vote yes on ordinance XX. Thank you for taking the time to hear my comment. I moved here with dreams of adventure and the great outdoors, but what I found was a stark reality of housing insecurity. For the past five years, my family and I have struggled to find stable, affordable housing. We’ve faced the anxiety of looming rent increases, the fear of eviction, and the stress of not knowing if our children will have a stable home.

But I know I’m not alone in this struggle. I’ve met countless friends, coworkers, and neighbors who are grappling with the same housing challenges. Teton County is a place we all love, and we share the same values of community, sustainability, and opportunity. Yet, our shared vision is undermined by the housing crisis. Many essential workers can’t afford to live here, and families are being forced to leave the community they cherish.

Today, we stand at a critical crossroads. The housing insecurity in Teton County is not just a personal or family problem; it’s a community crisis. We must take action now. We have a unique opportunity to address this issue by implementing policies that promote affordable housing, protect renters, and preserve the unique character of our county.

We need to invest in initiatives that provide affordable housing options for our essential workers and local families. We can support responsible development that includes a mix of housing types and price points. Furthermore, we should consider rent stabilization measures to protect renters from sudden, unsustainable increases.

By addressing housing insecurity today, we can ensure a more inclusive and prosperous future for Teton County. It’s a chance for us to reaffirm our shared values and strengthen our community. Let’s come together and take action now to make Teton County a place where everyone can find stable, affordable housing, and where the values of community and opportunity are upheld for all. Every single one of you ran for office on a promise to address our housing crisis. Please vote “yes” on ordinance XX.

Thank you for your time and attention to this pressing issue. Together, we can create positive change and a brighter future for Teton County.