Egan, Stanford in race
By Benjamin Graham, Jackson Hole, Wyo.
May 31, 2012
Two longtime Jackson residents, Jim Stanford and Kelly Egan, have joined a growing field of candidates running for Jackson Town Council.
The two entered the field Wednesday and will be competing against incumbents Greg Miles and Mark Obringer and challengers Phillip Cameron, Hailey Morton and Jim Genzer.
There are two open council seats. The last day for candidates to file is Friday.
Stanford, a journalist and river guide, said he has “old-school Jackson values,” but that he is also in touch with Jackson’s younger residents because of his age and role in the community.
“I feel I have one foot in old Jackson and one foot in new Jackson,” the 41-year-old Stanford said. This would make his perspective an important addition to the town council, especially in regard to the new land-use plan, he said.
While he supports the plan and the movement of development away from other parts of the county, Stanford is wary of dumping development in town.
“We need to be thoughtful about it,” he said. “Town has character, too.”
He expressed concern about town spending, including restroom construction on North Cache and the $2 million purchase of the Wort parking lot. “Also, the town and county spend a combined $8 million per year on law enforcement, which merits scrutiny,” he said in a statement.
Stanford worked as an editor and reporter for the Jackson Hole News&Guide for eight years and now publishes the news blog JH Underground. He is in his 13th year of guiding for Barker-Ewing River Trips.
Stanford has been politically active since moving to Jackson, organizing community fundraisers and a peace rally. He said he is eager to formally enter the political arena.
“The time is right,” he said. “You can only stand on the sidelines so long.”
Egan decided to run because she said she believes the council needs someone who can find middle ground on the much-debated land-use plan.
“Consensus building is what I do,” Egan, an attorney in Jackson, said.
The plan has some inconsistencies that are difficult for her to accept, but she said she believes it is important to move forward with the document.
“We’re trying to serve too many masters,” said Egan, 45. “But it would be a huge mistake to go back to the drawing board.”
The public needs clarity and consistency, she said. Egan said she will talk about the inconsistencies and how she would address them as her campaign progresses.
Egan moved to Teton County 18 years ago. She juggles her career as an attorney with being a mother.
“As a parent I am thinking in a much longer time frame,” Egan said. “This is a defining moment for Jackson, and I want to be a part of it.”
Primary elections are Aug. 21.