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Candidate Questionnaire: Jordan Evans for House District 7

(Photo courtesy of the Jordan Evans Campaign)

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Cap City News has sent out a questionnaire to those running in the primary election in August. The following are the answers from Jordan Evans, who is running for House District 7. Answers are edited only for clarity and style.

Who are you? (Name, where you’re from, employment, hobbies, etc.)

My name is Jordan Evans, and I am a 33-year-old born-and-raised Wyomingite. Aside from a quickish stint in Laramie to earn my Geography degree from the University of Wyoming, I have proudly lived in Cheyenne my entire life. I work for both the City of Cheyenne and Laramie County as a cartographer, and I help provide mapping resources to our community. Outside of work, I enjoy playing guitar and exploring Wyoming’s outdoors with my wife, Sarah, and our soon-to-be third-grade daughter, Olivia. I am running to represent House District 7 in the Wyoming Legislature.

Why have you decided to run for office and what do you hope to accomplish should you be elected?

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As a constituent and lifetime Wyomingite, I have not typically experienced the representation I wanted from Wyoming legislators. Specifically, I have noticed an unfortunate trend of legislators increasing their focus on issues originating from national political identity rather than on solving complex challenges facing our state. I have also watched many of the people I grew up with move away — taking their talents and perspectives with them — because they did not see a viable future in Wyoming. I have no doubt that if we could make Wyoming a place where younger people wanted to stay and build their futures, their contributions to our communities would greatly improve Wyoming. Put another way, I want to create a Wyoming where my daughter envisions living and raising her family and where my friends see returning as worthwhile.

How do you plan on accomplishing your goals?

I will strive to accomplish these goals by approaching governance thoughtfully and constructively with an open mind. To determine whether or not I support legislation, I will avoid the pitfall of viewing it through an ideological lens. Instead, I will consider my conversations with constituents about their needs, apply my own critical thinking and any relevant background knowledge, and work to find areas of agreement with my colleagues. Using this thoughtful approach will help enable practical steps toward addressing Wyoming’s challenges while meeting citizen needs.

What experience do you have that qualifies you for the office you are seeking?

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I believe the only necessary experience to be a quality representative is the experience of meeting, conversing with, and listening to your neighbors. Anybody, with some hard work and patience, can learn the technical ins and outs of legislating. However, it is only a representative’s own values, lived experience, and conversations with their constituents that can ultimately guide their legislative decisions. I intend to have as many conversations with the citizens of HD7 as possible both during the election and while in office. I also proudly bring the experience of a lifetime lived in Wyoming. I know what it means to both grow up and raise a family in Wyoming. My relative youth also provides me with insight about how to make our state more appealing to younger generations.

Do you feel you could be a good steward with taxpayer dollars? Why or why not?

To my mind, being a good steward of taxpayer dollars goes beyond just avoiding waste and spending less. More importantly, being a good steward of taxpayer dollars means ensuring spending is a meaningful investment that addresses citizen needs and improves lives. An oversimplification I often hear is that “Government should be run like a business.” I cannot overstate how much I dislike this idiom, because the goal of business is to grow and profit, which is incongruent with the goals of government. I am passionate about the government’s role in helping the citizens that empower it, which requires the people’s representatives to agree on clear societal goals and fiscal responsibility to ensure those goals are carried out responsibly.

On the issue of transparency, where do you stand on ensuring all public business is conducted openly and in a manner that encourages public attendance? 

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Transparency is vital for an educated and informed citizenry — the basis of good governance. Public entities must always provide direct, open communication with the public and be receptive to new and innovative ideas for engaging with those they serve.

Do you believe the office or board position you seek has been open and honest with the public? If yes, how can the entity remain open and transparent when conducting public business moving forward? If no, what changes would you implement to ensure that all future dealings are open and transparent?

I believe that mostly the Wyoming Legislature adequately conducts public business in a transparent manner. I will be supportive of continued efforts to make legislative meetings and documents available on the internet and consider seriously any reasonable efforts to increase citizen engagement.

If you were presiding over a meeting and a topic was being discussed that you didn’t fully understand, would you ask for a more detailed explanation during the meeting or would you seek the information after the meeting?

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Typically, I will try to educate myself after the meeting to be respectful of the time and attention an issue requires as well as the time of those attending the meeting. As there are no simple issues, I would want to take sufficient time to truly understand an issue. However, there may be situations where it is important to have a point clarified for the record or where there is general confusion on a topic in the meeting, and in this case, I would seek that understanding in the meeting.

Should you be elected, or reelected, do you plan on seeking any major policy changes in your chosen office? If yes, what would those changes be? If no, why not?

There are two issues in particular I would like to lead action on. The first is providing increased funding and support to local governments for more livable, vibrant communities. Local governments provide the most immediate citizen engagement, which is crucial to good governance, and provide amenities that bolster communities and enrich Wyomingites’ lives.

Secondly, Wyoming needs to support and grow its burgeoning tourism industry. Many of our neighboring states have used their natural wonders to entice visitors to small communities, resulting in local and regional economic growth. To start, Wyoming needs to increase access and amenities on public lands. Further, we must provide for habitat and wildlife preservation that also ensures a strong future for hunting, fishing, and wildlife viewing along with preserving our wide-open spaces — a central part of Wyoming’s character. Wyoming must also establish infrastructure to support an influx of tourists to help manage the impact on our small communities. Additionally, funding for the state and local tourism boards will assist our communities in harnessing the interest people are already expressing in Wyoming’s wonders.

Marijuana legalization, or at the very least decriminalization, is on the minds of the public and public officials alike. Where do you stand on marijuana legalization? What would your office’s stance be if marijuana was decriminalized?

I am in support of marijuana legalization, both medically and recreationally. So many other states have shown that it can be done responsibly, and I am confident the Wyoming Legislature can find its own safe and sustainable path to legalization. At the very least, I would support any decriminalization efforts to ease the burden on our already resource-strained justice system — releasing courts and law enforcement from their obligation to severely punish nonviolent offenders for substance use.

Should you be elected, or reelected, where do you stand on the issue of constitutional vs. community policing?

I am afraid that I am not very familiar with what those specific terms entail, or how they would be defined, so I am hesitant to weigh in using those terms. 

I will say that I think all public servants, from someone working behind a desk (like myself) to a police officer enforcing the law, all have a duty to comply with law and work for the benefit of the community they serve. This means treating all citizens with respect and professionalism while carrying out job duties knowing your actions reflect upon the entire community. I also believe that all local government employees, including law enforcement, should have the resources and training they need to be safe and effective in their work. Public servants should always work to educate the public and local representatives on the services they provide, the resources they require, and the challenges they face. Further, through appropriate public engagement and local representation, public servants should remain open-minded and willing to listen to criticism from those they serve.

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