Traffic: Election

Twenty inches of new snow in 24 hours combined with a minor traffic accident involving a START bus on Highway 390 on February 17 created a snarl that had traffic stalled from Teton Village all the way to Broadway Avenue in Jackson. The two candidates running for mayor both opined on how they would tackle traffic congestion in the News&Guide's candidate survey. Check out their answers below.

There are two candidates running to be Jackson's next mayor. Read more about them and their positions here. You can vote for one candidate. Early voting is open now. — Billy Arnold

Michael Kudar Mug

Michael Kudar

MICHAEL KUDAR

Occupation: Consultant

Years living in Jackson: Between Green River and college 1991-97, Jackson 1997-2005, Pinedale 2005-15, Jackson full time 2015 to present.

Age: 48

Lives in: East Jackson

Why are you running for mayor?

I am running for Mayor to bring back leadership on tough community decisions, respect for taxpayers, and accountability at all times in the governance process. I am ready to instill a new responsibility as Mayor.

What is or was your occupation, and how has it prepared you to be mayor?

Today I assist our family lodging business as a business development consultant, and I am a managing partner in Collaboration Engineering, a consulting firm of specialists in the AEC industry that provides estimating, accounting, project management and company culture engineering, headquartered in Jackson. I have extensive experience in entrepreneurship and small business, serving the tourism, agriculture, construction and tourism industries. Drawing on 17 years of leadership, I will ensure Jackson retains its fiscal health while providing essential daily services to citizens.

Top 3 most pressing issues facing Jackson

  1. Human services funding
  2. Traffic
  3. Affordable/workforce housing

What does this miss? Unsafe levels of E.coli [in] Flat Creek

Who is responsible for developing affordable housing? Please rank in order.

  1. Free market developers
  2. Employers
  3. Government

Explanation: My opponent led the charge against 155 deed-restricted affordable lots in Hog Island via private sector.

Mitigation for commercial and residential development: Oppose — I will support mitigation for protection of public health and safety and protection of the natural environment.

Seventh penny tax: Oppose — How about a tax-deductible contribution to the Community Foundation of Jackson Hole before we tax working families?

What will you do as mayor to make headway on our affordable housing shortage?

What process is followed for publicly sponsored housing projects like Redmond Street to determine who‘s given first opportunity? What process did electeds go through to obtain a subsidized unit? Does the mayor rent his second bedroom to a third party? These are questions coming from my door knocking. In response, as your mayor, I will support policy for future public workforce housing projects to be prioritized for essential workers and government staff over town electeds. My opponent agreed to put her quality of life and salary raise before working families she claims to be fighting for. Putting electeds in deed-restricted housing paid for with your tax dollars is a red flag in fiscal responsibility and transparency in town governance. If voters rely on government to build workforce housing it will take too long and cost taxpayers more. The key to making a dent is to support different types of housing working people can afford. I will dedicate the extra time it will take to reevaluate pocket zoning where climate-smart density makes sense.

What does “private property rights” mean to you?

Private property rights are a fundamental principle of what it means to be an American: freedom. As part of the greater Yellowstone area, Jackson has obvious reasons that private property affects public property and the natural environment. Our role as civic leaders is to respectfully advise for good policies, zoning and legislation for the protection of public health and safety in both the human and natural environment while not commanding and controlling private property rights.

What is the first initiative you would work to put in action to ease traffic congestion?

Has traffic in town been better or worse the last four to eight years under the current council? My first initiative will be to work as a team with START and the Wyoming Department of Transportation to use advanced traffic technologies and software to optimize commuter routes that help outlying communities and residents get to their jobs. I am ready to work with task groups to write good policies that incentivize private property owners who design residential and commercial projects that support connections to hiking trails and pathways and transit lines. I will lead with a comprehensive approach and work with creative thinkers to get people out of cars and on mass transit in the long term.

Hailey Morton Levinson

Hailey Morton Levinson

HAILEY MORTON LEVINSON

Occupation: Innkeeper, Town Councilor

Years living in Jackson: 33

Age: 34

Lives in: East Jackson

Why are you running for mayor?

I am running for the families and individuals trying to make it all work in Jackson. I am running so that we can raise our kids in a place that is community first, where we work together to solve our problems and support each other through the easy and the hard. I am running to represent a voice that would otherwise not be at the table. After two terms on the council and serving under three mayors, I have the experience to serve as mayor.

What is or was your occupation, and how has it prepared you to be mayor?

Growing up in the hospitality industry taught me the ins and outs of running a small business and how fostering relationships is key to success.

Top 3 most pressing issues facing Jackson

  1. Affordable/workforce housing
  2. Human services funding
  3. Climate change

What does this miss? Child care is also a top priority, as it directly affects how our community functions as a whole.

Who is responsible for developing affordable housing? Please rank in order.

  1. Government, free market developers and employers
  2. x
  3. x

Explanation: I think all are responsible for providing affordable housing.

Mitigation for commercial and residential development: Support — Mitigation is one of the tools we have to address our housing need.

Seventh penny tax: Support — I support it because I support funding for social services, housing, COVID recovery, etc.

What will you do as councilor to make headway on our affordable housing shortage?

As mayor I will continue to work on opportunities that provide housing for our community members, including public projects, public/private partnerships, preservation, zoning incentives. Every unit counts. In my years on the council we have created opportunities for deed-restricted housing at a faster pace than any other time during my life, including over 400 units built and over 200 units approved and in early stages of development. It’s important that we work on housing for different income levels and households so that we truly house our community.

What does “private property rights” mean to you?

Private property rights means being able to do what I want with my property within the zoning applied to my property and being able to work through an established process if I want to change those rights.

What is the first initiative you would work to put in action to ease traffic congestion?

I would work with the Wyoming Department of Transportation to look at our intersections ­­— the “Y” comes to mind — and see how we might reconfigure to have high-occupancy-vehicle lanes or bus lanes so that we can incentivize travel outside of single-occupancy vehicles. Working on a regional transportation network, as we called out in the Integrated Transportation Plan, is also key to making the whole region function better in terms of traffic.

Contact Tim Woods at 732-5911 or town@jhnewsandguide.com.

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