By John Celock
Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead (R) used his second inaugural address to tout his state’s successes and natural beauty, while focusing on the need for long term planning.
In a speech during an hour-long ceremony in Cheyenne Monday, Mead talked about how he and his predecessors decision-making has placed the Cowboy State in a solid economic position. He was quick to tout that the state’s current positioning is not his alone, noting that previous governors and state officials all played a role.
“We have been fortunate that we have had leaders in the past who have made decisions that put our state in a enviable position fiscally and in every other way,” Mead said.
Among the items touted by Mead were Wyoming being ranked for having the best credit rating among the states, along with top ranking for business friendly climate and lowest tax burden. He also touted the state being ranked as number two in a survey for trust in state government and top rankings for best managed state.
Mead said that long term planning was key to these rankings, noting that he and state legislators will need to continue this practice.
“These times of 24 hour news cycles it is easy to think about how the decisions affect us today,” Mead said. “But we must think about how it affects us tomorrow.”
Among the issues Mead identified as priorities for his second term were implementing the state’s energy and water strategies, higher education, economic development, veterans benefits, international trade, port development, forest health and fighting federal overreach.
Mead, a former U.S. attorney, was sworn-in alongside the state’s four other constitutional officers. State Auditor Cynthia Cloud (R) started her second term, while Treasurer Mark Gordon (R) started his first full term, after having been appointed by Mead to a complete an unexpired term in 2012. Secretary of State Ed Murray (R) and Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow (R) started their first terms in office.
Balow succeeds former Superintendent Cindy Hill (R), a tea party favorite who did not seek reelection in order to unsuccessfully challenge Mead for governor, after a turbulent first term in office. Hill’s four-year tenure was marked by constant battle with Mead and state legislators over her conduct in office. Hill was stripped of control of the state Department of Education for a year and relegated to largely ceremonial duties until the state Supreme Court allowed her to regain control of the agency. Balow will run the Education Department.
Mead kept the ceremony low key but a family affair. His children, Mary and Pete, led the Pledge of Allegiance, while his sister, Muffy Mead Farro, emceed the event. Mead is the grandson of former Wyoming Gov. Clifford Hansen (R), who is also a former U.S. senator. Mead’s late mother, Mary Mead, was the unsuccessful GOP nominee for governor in 1990.
Mead, who grew up on a ranch, stressed the state’s natural resources during his speech, citing the need to protect the scenery of Wyoming.
“When we look at the sky at night and see what our fore brothers had seen,” he said. “We know that these views not everyone gets to enjoy and experience. It is humbling for us.”