One of the most effective ways to make a difference on conservation matters in Teton County is to pass good, conservation-focused legislation. The best way to do this is to make sure all the conservation-minded folks of Teton County are making their voice heard in local government and voting.
That is why at the Alliance we have worked hard to build our Civic Engagement program.
The first way we do this is through making sure everyone who is eligible to vote in Teton County votes in Teton County! People live here because they adore our abundant wildlife, the breathtaking landscapes that surround us, and the access to the outdoors that is unprecedented in other parts of the country and the world. People here care about conservation.
So, when more people in our community vote, the more representative and accountable our elected representatives become. This is why we have run programs in the past to encourage more residents to vote, especially those from underrepresented groups in our community like Latinos and young people.
But in order to vote for good conservationists, the electorate needs to know where candidates stand and what issues are on the ballot. This is why we have held events like candidate speed dating where community members had one-on-one conversations with candidates, it’s why we publish a voter’s guide in the Jackson Hole News&Guide outlining the issues and past votes from elected representatives, and it’s why we coordinated a campaign of volunteers going door-to-door talking to their friends and neighbors about important ballot measures in 2016.
(We plan to replicate and improve upon much of these efforts in the upcoming 2018 cycle. If you believe civic engagement is an important piece of the conservation puzzle in Jackson Hole, invest in these efforts with a gift today!)
Finally, once those elected representatives are in office, we need to make sure we support and encourage the best ideas. This is why we regularly meet with Town Councilors and County Commissioners, write comment letters and provide public testimony at government meetings, and encourage other community members to do the same. Our elected representatives work hard day-in and day-out as part-time representatives for our community. The more good ideas and help they receive from the Alliance and community members, the more efficiently and effectively they can get things done.
Collectively, our Civic Engagement program results in more voters, more informed voters, and a more effective and accountable Town Council and County Commission.
Thank you for helping protect the pieces of Jackson Hole, and we look forward to all we can accomplish together in 2018 (and beyond!).