Incumbency is the name of the game in the hospital board race this fall.

Candidates for the St. John’s Health Board of Trustees aren’t finalized until after the primary election because the nonpartisan race only takes place in the general election. All five people who filed for five spots are incumbents, though two were appointed within the past year.

Chairwoman Cynthia Hogan and Trustees Bruce Hayse and Scott Gibson are seeking reelection, while Trustees Sue Critzer and Debby Hopkins are looking to be elected for the first time. In October, Critzer took the seat Liz Masek vacated, and Hopkins moved from board advisor to trustee in July after Linda Aurelio left before her term ended. Because they were appointed rather than elected to the board, both women need to be elected to finish the terms of the trustees they replaced.

Terms on the hospital board are usually four years, but Critzer and Hopkins would need to run again in 2022 because that’s when Masek and Aurelio’s terms would have ended.

Filings were also finalized for the Teton County School District No. 1 Board of Trustees. Three incumbents and two newcomers have filed for the four open slots.

Chairwoman Betsy Carlin and Trustees Kate Mead and Bill Scarlett have filed for reelection. Thomas Smits, a member of the Teton County Recreation District board, and Jennifer Zung, a civil engineer and the founding principal at Harmony Design and Engineering, are the new people throwing their hats in the ring.

Trustee Annie Band did not file for reelection. She said with her son being a senior this year, she wanted to spend time with her family.

A biologist by training, Band has been vocal during the coronavirus pandemic about the science of the virus and the district’s response, and she feels it is important to have that perspective on the board during this crisis.

“However, someone else will have to step in and fill that role,” she said.

This article originally ran in the Tuesday Jackson Hole Daily, which can be picked up free on newsstands around town. 

Contact Tom Hallberg at 732-7079 or

Tom Hallberg covers a little bit of everything, from skiing to long-form feature stories. A Teton Valley, Idaho, transplant by way of Portland and Bend, Oregon, he spends his time outside work writing fiction, splitboarding and climbing.

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