Patriots dinner hosts Noem

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem will speak to guests at the Four Seasons local GOP fundraiser on Friday. Noem said she was “incredibly honored and humbled” after former President Trump endorsed her for second-term gubernatorial re-election last week.

Tickets are sold out and there is a waitlist to see Kristi Noem in Jackson.

The governor of South Dakota is the guest speaker Feb. 18 for the second annual Patriots Dinner hosted by the Teton County Republican Party.

Gov. Mark Gordon and State Auditor Kristi Racines will also be there.

Noem has recently introduced a bill banning transgender women and girls from competing in school sports leagues that match their gender identity. And she has called herself the “most pro-life” governor in the country.

“I just think she’s been very brave with her opinions and her leadership, and I’m kind of curious as to what makes her tick and drives her,” said Mary Martin, who is the county party chairwoman.

Tickets for the cowboy-formal event at Four Seasons Resort in Teton Village cost $500 each or $5,000 for a table of 10.

Martin said the money from tickets is meant to lower the barrier of entry for Republicans in local elections.

“When I ran, I got $500 from the party, and that didn’t cover squat,” she said.

This is Martin’s first year as county chair.

“We don’t want just the wealthy to be able to run for office,” she said. “[We don’t want a] working person in this community to come up with tens of thousands to be willing to run for office.”

The party’s website says some tickets have been purchased for young Republicans, and some money has been raised to “contribute to local Republican campaigns in our effort to ‘make Teton County Wyoming again.’ ”

“I don’t particularly use that slogan,” Martin said, but “I think there are many in the party that are concerned that Jackson has kind of ceased its desire to be a Wyoming conservative community.”

The cost to attend the Patriots Dinner has increased from last year’s inaugural event, where tickets went for between $75 and $175.

Martin said people are coming from across all the sectors of the county.

“We had that as just a party building,” Martin said. “We could get together and have a good time over some hamburgers and hot dogs. However, we need money.”

The Teton County Democratic Party is hosting a free community and trivia event not advertised as a fundraiser at the Old Wilson Schoolhouse Community Center tonight, the day before Noem is scheduled to be in Jackson.

Contact Sophia Boyd-Fliegel at county@jhnewsandguide or 307-732-7063.

Sophia covers county politics, housing, and workforce issues. A Pacific Coast devotee, she grew up in Washington, studied in California and has worked in Oregon and Alaska.

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