Leland Christensen, a former state legislator, Teton County commissioner and Alta resident who spent his adult life in public service, died Thursday night.

“Leland was a kind and committed public servant and a good friend who represented the best of Wyoming,” Gov. Mark Gordon said in a statement sent to the Jackson Hole Daily. “I am grateful for his service in the Legislature and as deputy director of the Wyoming Office of Homeland Security. He will be deeply missed.”

Hunter Christensen confirmed his father’s death Friday.

The former legislator caught COVID-19 and was fighting pneumonia and complications from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and chemotherapy in the ICU. Hunter Christensen said his father was fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and boosted, and died of complications from the medical maladies he was facing. He was 62.

Hunter Christensen said his family welcomes “continued prayers.”

“We know how much so many people loved dad and we appreciate that,” he told the Daily. “I just can’t express how much we appreciate all the good people in our community and across the state.”

Leland Christensen

Christensen

Leland Christensen was a Teton County commissioner from 2005 to 2011, and before that worked in law enforcement for 20 years with the Teton County and Lincoln County sheriff’s offices. The Wyoming native served 15 years with the 19th Special Forces Airborne Army and the National Guard.

In 2011, Christensen began an eight-year stint as a Republican state senator in the Wyoming Legislature. In 2019, Gordon appointed him to the post of deputy director of Homeland Security, and in 2021, he began working for U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis as her state director.

“Leland’s death cuts me to the depths of my heart,” Lummis said in a statement. “Leland was all Wyoming. He was tough as nails, endlessly patient, unwaveringly kind.”

Christensen was admitted to the local hospital on Dec. 19. Facing complications, he was moved to a regional hospital on Christmas Eve and then was admitted to the intensive care unit on Dec. 29.

A friend of the family, Dana Mackenzie, initiated online fundraising efforts on behalf of Christensen’s family to help cover expenses insurance wasn’t covering. As of Friday, Feb. 4, the GoFundMe titled “PLEASE Help Leland Christensen and Family” had raised over $74,000, with additional donations made through the Bank of Jackson Hole.

Contact Billy Arnold at 732-7063 or barnold@jhnewsandguide.com.

Teton County Reporter

Billy Arnold has covered government and policy since January 2020, sitting through hours of Teton County meetings so readers don't have to. He moonlights as a ski reporter, helps with pandemic coverage and sneaks away to climb when he can.

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