Climate Change

Climate Change

My academic background is in History of Science. Climate change represents the essential challenge of our lifetimes, and we are forced to play for the highest stakes. I do not believe that failure is an option.

I am a Conservationist who does not believe that all roads are by necessity bad for the environment.

I am a Conservationist who will do everything in my power to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as much as possible and as quickly as possible.

Sometimes building a new road or adding a restricted lane represents the key to reducing emissions.

Deep Dive into the issues of Climate Change

Climate change is real.  It is here.  It is now.  We must act with urgency and resilience if we are to make an impact.  I believe that we can make an impact on our local behavior patterns and that we can be better stewards of our planet.  And I believe that we must.

As Commissioner, when fighting climate change, I will not get misled into ideological rabbit holes.  If we are to affect our roles, we must recognize reality for what it is.  Traffic on 22 idles for hours each day.  Over 8000 commuters drive up to 100 miles/day to get to and from work.

In order to reduce our vehicle miles traveled (VMTs), sometimes we are better served to build a short connector road like the one at Tribal Trails.  I argue that we are best served to deploy two extra lanes on 22 and restrict travel on those lanes to HOVs and buses.  I care much more about reducing our greenhouse gas emissions than I do about my commitment to some ideology.

I promise that if elected, I will work doggedly and diligently to reduce the number of vehicle miles traveled in the valley.  This will not only reduce emissions, but also congestion and vehicle/wildlife collisions.

Below are some questions posited by the Climate Action Collective followed by my answers. 

Climate change is indisputably the biggest threat to our ecosystem and to our quality of life, and the latest report from the International Panel on Climate Change states that we have 10 years to act…we can’t afford to wait. What policies would you implement in your first year in office to reduce our carbon footprint?

I feel the same sense of urgency when it comes to reducing our local impact on climate change, and I believe that our public transit system holds the key for doing so.  According to the recent Greenhouse Gas Emissions Study, local ground transportation makes up over 80% of our overall emissions. Our strategy should focus on deploying the most efficient and frequent START service that we can.  This has been my focus since joining the START Board 18 months ago. By reducing bus trip times to be more competitive with drive times and offering employer-funded passes to commuters, we hope that bus ridership will increase significantly (at least once the pandemic ends).  Getting our residents (and especially commuters) to ride the buses instead of drive their cars represents the most impactful way that we can reduce our local emissions.  As Commissioner, I will support the implementation of an efficient route plan and support increasing the frequency of our commuter routes as funds are derived from our partnerships with local businesses and organizations.

Climate change will certainly impact the landscape, but it will also disproportionately impact low income and marginalized communities. How do you think we can equitably take part in climate action?

The issue here is social.  Most agree that the most basic need for folks in Teton County is housing.  While we have done a pretty fair job of building publicly-subsidized housing for middle class residents, we have done very little to help ease the housing strains on the working class families who keep our hotels, restaurants, and other businesses running year round.

Low end housing options are rapidly disappearing from our local portfolio.  I would support the construction of dense, truly affordable housing dedicated to the working class families in our valley.  This development would require an appropriate site, preferably within town limits.  For more information about my thoughts on housing, please dive deeper HERE.

Further, I have and will continue to advocate for additional funding sources that could be used to create more affordable, affordable housing.  To read more about my position on potential funding sources for housing, please dive deeper HERE.

The economy and lifestyle of Teton County residents revolves around our amazing landscape, which is at risk due to climate change. This same landscape has led to an economic dependence on what some describe as “industrial tourism,” real estate, and construction. How will you pass policies that create an economy that regenerates our landscape and dramatically reduces our carbon footprint?

Teton County has and always will be a destination for millions of visitors each year.  We need to continue our efforts to educate our visitors about our bus options, our bag ordinance, and our general mission to be good stewards of this special place.  

In order to provide for the critical housing needs of our working residents, I am interested in working with all local partners to get workforce housing in the ground.  In order to ensure that it does not turn into more second homes, it is important that we restrict as much as possible to folks who work in our county.  We must ensure that these restrictions are crafted carefully to avoid loopholes.  

Housing 65% of our workforce locally while deploying a more effective transit system is the most realistic path forward to actually reducing our carbon footprint.