Gordon, Statewide Officials Sworn in at Wyoming State Capitol

In his second inaugural address, the governor emphasized decency in politics and promised to continue the efforts of his first term

  • Published In: Politics
  • Last Updated: Jan 03, 2023

In his inaugural address for his second term, Gov. Mark Gordon emphasized decency in politics and the need "to listen as much as to advocate." (Photo via Youtube / Gov. Mark Gordon)

By Jacob Gardenswartz

Special to the Wyoming Truth

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon and top statewide elected officials were sworn in Monday at the 2023 inauguration in Cheyenne, kicking off the start of the new year as lawmakers prepare for the general legislative session on Jan. 10.

In addition to Gordon, statewide elected officials sworn in included new Superintendent of Public Instruction Megan Degenfelder (pictured above), State Treasurer Curt Meier, State Auditor Kristi Racines and new Secretary of State Chuck Gray. (Photo via Youtube / Gov. Mark Gordon)

In a ceremony at the State Capitol, oaths of office were administered by Chief Justice of the Wyoming Supreme Court Kate Fox to new Superintendent of Public Instruction Megan Degenfelder, State Treasurer Curt Meier, State Auditor Kristi Racines, new Secretary of State Chuck Gray and Gordon himself. Officials promised to “support, obey and defend” the U.S. and Wyoming Constitutions, and swore to discharge the duties of their office with “fidelity.”

In his second inaugural address — which came after a first term in which Wyoming saw some of the most intense political scrutiny in recent memory — Gordon emphasized the need for civility and decency in politics. “Our government requires participation and effort and compromise. We must work together as we begin this next chapter,” Gordon said.

“To get things done, we must reacquaint ourselves with the ability to disagree without being disagreeable, to listen as much as to advocate,” Gordon added. “Our nation was founded on dialogue more than dogma.”

The incumbent governor laid out four key priorities for his second term: first, his government will be “responsive, responsible and accountable” to the public, Gordon said, reiterating a key theme from his first term in office.

Second, Gordon said he’d work to diversify and grow the economy by reducing regulation and promised to “rethink” education to better serve Wyoming students. Such comments come as the state is defending a lawsuit from a coalition of educators who allege state schools have not been properly funded, and as Degenfelder is set to take over the public school system with educational issues central to the broader culture war. 

Third, Gordon emphasized the need to protect Wyoming values, such as respect for one another and the pursuit of equality for all, decrying “the intemperance of heated rhetoric on social media or the inflammatory divisiveness of those selfishly seeking political gain.”

Lastly, Gordon spoke of optimism for Wyoming’s place in the world today, pointing to the state’s energy and natural resources as areas ripe for growth. “Wyoming energy powers the nation. Science and engineering are poised for trailblazing advances that will transform technology, natural resource management, outdoor recreation and agriculture,” Gordon said. “Wyoming is ready to solve the challenges of our time – not with talk but with action.”

Gordon thanked the Wyoming congressional delegation, including outgoing Rep. Liz Cheney and Congresswoman-elect Harriet Hageman, set to be sworn into office on Tuesday in Washington, D.C. He noted that he’d previously competed against Hageman and U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis in “spirited” election contests, but said the three “came together to work for what is in the best interest of Wyoming.”

Gordon also recognized the other candidates being sworn in, specifically congratulating Degenfelder and Grey as they begin their first terms in statewide office, and thanked former governors Matt Mead, Dave Freudenthal, Jim Geringer and Mike Sullivan. Emphasizing the need for bipartisanship, Gordon said that, “Whether Republican or Democrat, all had a singular focus to make Wyoming a little better for their time here.”

Unmentioned in the governor’s speech was anything about the struggles Gordon faced during his first term, most notably related to the COVID-19 pandemic and heated debates over public health precautions instituted by his office. But Gordon did recall lessons from his childhood which informed his time in office.

“The best course in a challenging time is to stay calm, use common sense and not be tempted to turn too sharply left or right,” Gordon said.

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