Hi, I’m Jim Stanford. I have lived and worked in this community for 20 years. Many of you know me from my work as a journalist — I’ve written stories about you, your businesses, your kids’ sports teams, even your rec basketball or softball leagues.
Besides journalism, I’ve done a lot of other work here. I’ve worked in tourism, on the ski mountain at JHMR for four winters and just wrapped up my 13th season of guiding on the Snake for Barker-Ewing. From the Barker and Ewing families I’ve learned a lot about running a successful small business.
Throughout my time here I’ve always worked at multiple jobs. I worked as a waiter, as a cook at Billy’s Burgers and later the Mangy Moose. I was a substitute teacher for the school district for several years. In the off-seasons I did whatever I could to keep my head above water: construction laborer, dug ditches, stuffed insulation, cleaned The Range restaurant. Even when I started at the newspaper, I guided rafting trips two days a week and I freelanced. I edited Jackson Hole magazine and projects like the Rotary newsletter (which is how I know about all of the fine service projects Rotary is involved in). I still do a lot of freelance writing and photography, a good bit of it for nonprofits.
All of this work experience, struggling to make a living and eventually gain a toehold and become a homeowner, has given me perspective. As a journalist I’ve covered a broad swath of the community. I’ve met all kinds of people well beyond my circles of friends, been behind the chutes at the rodeo and in the pits at the Hill Climb and Demo Derby. Since I launched my candidacy, I’ve talked a lot about perspective, having one foot in old Jackson and one foot in new. I could not have stood before you 10 or 15 years ago and asked for your vote.
My experience is what distinguishes me in this campaign. I covered local, state and federal government, including three sessions of the Wyoming Legislature in Cheyenne. This has given me an understanding of how government works. As a journalist weighing difficult issues like the SRA expansion of Teton Village, for example, you have to ask the right questions, sometimes tough questions, to determine what’s in the public interest. That’s a big part of serving on the council.
I’m promising to do three things if elected: Keep an open mind, take a studious approach and have the resolve to make tough decisions. Since announcing my candidacy I’ve been meeting with leaders in the community, studying the issues and doing my homework. A journalist never writes anything without first verifying and usually talking with people on all sides. With a tough issue like the Comp Plan, you have to get past the emotional arguments and exaggerations and pinpoint the facts.
I think we need to rein in spending, perhaps shift some spending priorities, implement the Comp Plan in a way that protects town character, allow flexibility to provide for more housing, invest lodging tax dollars in our community, and make some tough choices for a comprehensive transportation plan.
I invite you to discuss the issues with me at length. Visit my website www.jimforjackson.com. Thanks again for your time, and I ask for your vote between now and Election Day, Nov. 6.