Back to all news and updates
May 21, 2023

Bringing Southwest Wyoming’s perspective to Cheyenne

As I reflect on my time at the Legislature, I am humbled by the honor to serve and mindful of the issues before us in Wyoming. I appreciate the confidence you have bestowed upon me and will endeavor to bring awareness to matters of importance to southwest Wyoming. While we have many issues in common with other areas of the state, some are unique to our corner and deserve heightened attention.

For me, one of our greatest accomplishments this session was the increased focus on mental health and suicide prevention. I say accomplishment because we are finally starting to talk about suicide prevention in earnest, but we have so much work to do – Wyoming ranks #1 in suicides per capita. I’ve been a strong advocate for resources and have worked diligently to raise awareness about suicide prevention through my involvement with the Uinta County Suicide Prevention Task Force. It’s a difficult conversation that nobody wants to have, but talking is key to understanding the signs of when someone needs help. I was heartened to see a coalition of entities stand together during the Legislature in support of finding solutions. Even the business community is speaking out. More people joining the fight means the greater chance we have at making a difference. Wyoming’s ranking is a statistic we must tackle and turnaround for the betterment of families, communities, and our state.

Soon we will begin committee work where we study issues and prepare bills for consideration next year. I look forward to the learning process and hearing from the public directly. My assignment to both the House Agriculture, State and Public Lands & Water Resources Committee and the House Minerals, Business & Economic Development Committee are key for southwest Wyoming as the committees will be addressing topics of particular importance to this region including energy, carbon capture and water issues related to the Colorado River. I’m also very excited to have been appointed to the Select Water Committee and a new Task Force on Regulatory Reduction. I often hear we have too much government in our lives and businesses. This new Task Force will take aim at that very issue. What is the proper role of government? How and where can we reduce regulation? These are good questions to ask and it’s an exercise long overdue.

Working in the trona industry, I understand the importance of carbon capture technology to our operations as we work to reduce emissions and improve air quality. Here in the “Trona capital of the world,” we know that trona provides us all with many of the products we need to live our daily lives. But Wyoming also had the distinction of being the carbon capture and storage capitol of the world, with the LaBarge facility capturing more carbon dioxide emissions than any other facility globally.

These two industries working together, among other industries that utilize carbon capture and storage such as coal, oil, natural gas, and agriculture, can afford Wyoming the opportunity to position itself as the pragmatic, all-of-the-above energy solutions leader. We know that communities rely on the jobs and economic activity generated from these core industries, but we also appreciate and understand the need to improve air quality and our climate. Carbon capture and storage allows Wyoming to demonstrate to the world how this innovative technology solution is a win-win.

As the West continues to grapple with long-term drought effects, we’ve seen first-hand impacts of reduced water flow on the Green River and at Flaming Gorge. Southwest Wyoming is tip of the spear when it comes to Colorado River impacts. In September, Wyoming will host a regional conference on

Colorado River issues for legislators in 13 western states. This is our chance to highlight not just water issues, but Wyoming itself, from our energy industry, to agriculture, to our rural lifestyle.

I am grateful for having been selected to serve on committees with such a direct impact on issues we grapple with in southwest Wyoming and for the privilege to serve you. I look forward to hearing from you and need your input throughout the process so our voice in southwest Wyoming is heard in Cheyenne. Please reach out and help me continue to promote "Uinta County Makes Wyoming Great.”

Jon Conrad