Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon took office in January.
It has been 50 years since Wyoming has had a governor who previously served in one of the state’s top five offices. He was state treasurer for six years.
Gordon told the Wyoming Press Association that he wants to be “the most transparent governor” ever. From what I have read about him he prefers a lean government. He has opted to keep his Ford Expedition rather than get a new governor’s car.
“It works just fine,” he said. “No need to change.”
Through Michael Pearlman, the governor’s communications director and a former News&Guide journalist, I was able to conduct the following interview with our governor.
Q: Do you have a favorite childhood memory?
A: My sister, my dad and I left our mountain camp when I was 11 years old. We had just moved some cows, and it was a 14-mile ride back to our ranch. When we left it was warm, but a short ways into our ride it started snowing.
I was so proud of my dad that he was able to navigate canyons of the Bighorns when we couldn’t see anything, our hands buried under saddle blankets to keep them warm.
Q: Do you remember the first money you earned?
A: The first day that I stacked hay my dad gave me a $20 bill.
Q: Did you ever get into any trouble as a youth or teenager?
A: As a teenager I was kayaking in the Snake River Canyon and got stuck in the Lunch Counter rapid. I had to roll six times before I swam.
Q: How and when did you meet your wife, Jennie? Was it love at first sight?
A: She invited me to go cross-country skiing in the Bighorns. I showed up a half hour late and scared to death because I was a single father. It was love at first sight.
Q: Do you have a favorite book?
A: “Fools Crow,” a novel by James Welch that is set in Montana shortly after the Civil War, is one of my favorite books.
Q: Tell us something about yourself that others may not know.
A: I have climbed the complete Exum Ridge route on the Grand Teton.
Q: Please describe yourself using just one word.
Q: How do you want to be remembered?
A: I like to cite Lao Tzu, a Chinese philosopher. He said, “A leader is best when people barely know he exists. When his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say, ‘We did it ourselves.’”
Q: What is the best part about being governor?
A: Getting to meet the citizens of Wyoming.
Q: What is the downside?
A: Feeling the weight each day of making the right decisions for those people.
Q: Any plans to visit Jackson Hole in the near future?
A: I plan to visit Jackson in August and September. My family also enjoys skiing at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.
Q: Anything else that might be of interest to the readers?
A: I would like to share another favorite quote from John F. Kennedy: “We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies and competitive values.
“For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.”