Examine housing needs up close and personal
If state lawmakers wish to continue overriding local solutions to local problems, they should come to Jackson to personally meet the workers who live in the kind of housing they’re trying to eliminate.
Recently, a legislative committee met in Jackson. It did not put housing on the agenda. It did not invite workers living in affordable housing to testify. It did not tour affordable housing. Given those knowledge gaps, how can they grasp what the housing looks like, who lives there and how the program works?
Instead, they held another meeting this week in Cheyenne where they heard from the same group — Jackson Hole Working — that had their full attention during a mostly private lunch session to which the public was not invited. Most workers did not go to Cheyenne. They were driving buses, teaching children, waiting tables, counseling those in crisis, policing and otherwise keeping the town humming.
Thankfully, town and county elected officials — the very people who local voters chose to solve these local problems — did travel to Cheyenne to defend our freedom to ask commercial developers to chip in to solve our housing crisis. But their advocacy for local control was squashed by the committee, in an increasingly common snub of Teton County priorities.