Tax Day protest, 2009.

Given the Tea Party’s national reputation, I was a little leery of tonight’s Jackson Hole Tea Party forum at The Virginian. And sure enough, the applause was noticeably tepid when I was introduced.

But I gave it a shot, anyway. Candidates were given five minutes to talk about themselves. I listed my experience as a journalist, asking hard questions in news stories and learning to think in terms of the public interest. I also talked about working on the Snake River for 13 seasons, learning a lot about running a small business and a tight ship from the Barker and Ewing families.

Because the Tea Party is concerned about spending, I emphasized that we need a more conservative approach. Too often, that word becomes disassociated from its root, “conserve, ” which is a big part of my life.

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Jim Stanford

Touting the need for fresh thinking and strong leadership, Jim Stanford launched his candidacy today for Jackson Town Council.

Stanford, 41, is a 20-year Jackson resident who has worked as a journalist and river guide, among other endeavors. He cited three issues he’d like to work on: growth and development, fiscal prudence and transportation planning.

His experience in journalism has given him an understanding of how government works at all levels and taught him to analyze issues in terms of the public interest, he said. His background in tourism provides insight to a major sector of our economy.

By virtue of his age and role in the community, he is in touch with a younger segment not represented on the council, he said. He moved to Jackson Hole at a time when the town was smaller and quieter and learned what he called “old-school Jackson values.”

This perspective is important for serving on the council. “I feel I have one foot in old Jackson and one foot in new Jackson, ” he said.

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