Wyoming has been responsible in putting together savings that can help stabilize the downturns. If we are to chart our own future, we must also be disciplined and refill and even augment those savings in the good times.
We must be wise with our savings, using them when we need them. I support a bill to better define the purpose of the Rainy Day Account, or LSRA, so that those nearly $2 billion can be invested in a way that, first and foremost, assures the money in it will be there for rainy days and second that it can earn incrementally better returns than it does now. This definition will also clarify when, how much, and for what purposes we have set aside these specific savings.
I applaud Governor Mead's dedication to providing funding to locals these past eight years, and I will continue that work. But beyond dollars, I hope to move forward with improving the tools required for cities, towns and counties to prosper. This means finding ways to enhance the services of the State Loan and Investment Board.
That is why I support a suite of proposals including Wyoming Works, which promise new ways for high school students and even adults to continue their technical education and this would also stand up career and technical education programs in our community colleges. I believe Wyoming should create a new Trust Fund under the Amendment A provision, with private industry's support and a Wyoming match, would offer scholarships for Career and Technical Education. I look forward to making Wyoming Works a reality. I applaud those bills that would help Wyoming students move more seamlessly from high school to college and from community colleges to the University of Wyoming.
I want to take just a moment to talk about coal. Coal continues to power this country and, despite market trends and politics, it will remain an essential part of America's energy portfolio for decades to come.
[Improved] technologies, when paired with Powder River Basin coal, can reduce the overall carbon emitted to the atmosphere. That is progress that should be a gut cinch for those advocating to control carbon emissions.
There are promising new uses of coal that can provide advanced building materials and innovative new products. Some of these are being developed at UW and others by private industry.
Here in Wyoming, we will continue to seek innovative solutions that support coal, address climate change, and grow our economy.
In our quest for UW to be a top-tier agricultural school, certainly one mission we should consider expanding is our research into better ways to expunge and control the spread of invasives. In support of that effort, I plan to work with UW's College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, our community colleges and the state's weed and pest districts to put together a program that will combine research with management, aiming to make sure Wyoming is a leader nationally on combating invasive species.
Wyoming continues to be a global leader in trona, uranium, and bentonite production. We must continue to advocate for all of these industries, including fighting for level-playing fields internationally.
Around the globe technology keeps advancing, there is progress benefitting our world by burning coal more cleanly and efficiently. Japan and Korea have built the most efficient clean burning fleets of coal fired electric generation ever.
Technologies employed there, when paired with Powder River Basin coal, can reduce the overall carbon emitted to the atmosphere. And yet, our access to these Asian markets remains restricted, tied up in permit after permit. I believe this to be an unconstitutional restraint of trade. And I will strongly advocate for access to all markets.
Last fall, a young person stepped forward to tell Principal Terry Quinn about a fellow student who planned an attack in his school. After hearing this information Principal Quinn immediately acted to locate and disarm the student, who was carrying a pistol and had another gun in his locker. When confronted, the student revealed that he had wanted to shoot as many students as he could. It is a sad thing that these sorts of incidents can happen.
But, Principal Quinn and the staff at Sage Valley Junior High have created a school culture that fosters confidence in students to do the right thing and come forward when necessary.
Principal Quinn is here with us today and I would like to acknowledge the courage of that young person and the quick and decisive action which averted a potentially devastating tragedy.
We have been given an opportunity to craft a Wyoming solut
I commend to you the work of establishing Wyoming's first Veterans Skilled Nursing facility. It has been a long time in coming. Building this facility will mark an important step forward for our veterans.
More broadly, I believe we have an obligation to improve access to mental healthcare for our veterans, our first-responders, and ultimately for all citizens.
Substance abuse, moral injury (the impact of actions which violate core moral values), suicide and PTSD, these are all concerns we as a state need to address. We can do more in our communities to help support those who are struggling with crisis.
Happily, in Wyoming there are many organizations working to help those wrestling with these traumas. Through improved coordination of these non-profit, public, & private programs, we can provide better mental health services in places where people live.
Lives are being saved now because of advances in tele-health. Neurologists in Casper are connected by internet-video to emergency rooms and can help treat stroke patients by getting them life-saving drugs in time for them to have the most benefit.
Advancements in technology like this improve the quality of life in Wyoming, solve complex challenges, create jobs and will allow entrepreneurs and established businesses to see even our smallest towns as fertile ground to grow a company.
The above quotations are from 2019 Governor's State of the State speeches.
Click here for other excerpts from 2019 Governor's State of the State speeches.
Click here for other excerpts by Mark Gordon.
Click here for other excerpts by other Governors.
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