Fuller launches second bid for commissioner seat
By Kevin Huelsmann, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Date: May 17, 2012
Claire Fuller wants to talk to voters about shifting development away from rural open space, about trash and about transportation as she tries a second time for a seat on the Teton County Board of Commissioners.
The 28-year-old Wilson resident announced Wednesday that she will run for the board, which she just missed joining four years ago.
Fuller said shifting development out of rural parts of the county — one of the main pillars of the recently adopted comprehensive plan — will be an important task for commissioners in coming years, one that she wants to be a part of.
“Right now we have pretty weak tools to do that,” she said. “I want to help develop tools that achieve that and preserve open space in perpetuity.”
As commissioners shift from developing a vision for the county to writing rules that reflect those policies, they must adopt regulations that will stick and set aside enough money to pay for the plan, Fuller said.
“Otherwise, we end up with something that can be changed with three votes,” she said.
Fuller sees several issues as starting points for larger discussions about how county government handles topics such as trash, alternative transportation and housing.
Fuller said the true cost of throwing away garbage is one discussion that needs to be held. It has become more difficult and expensive to find places to dump Teton County’s refuse, she said.
“It’s an interesting opportunity to talk about what throwing things away actually means,” she said.
She also wants to promote affordable housing and alternative forms of transportation, perhaps by expanding winter use of pathways.
“It’s important that people can send their children to a school in the same place where they work,” she said.
Fuller, who will run as a Democrat, is the fourth candidate to announce a bid for the commission, which has two seats up for election this year.
Incumbent commissioner Paul Perry, a Republican, is seeking re-election.
Town planning commissioner Barbara Allen also announced plans this week to run for the county commission. Allen is a Republican.
Town councilor Melissa Turley, a Democrat, announced earlier this month that she intends to run for a spot on the county commission.
Commissioner Andy Schwartz, who holds one of the two spots up for re-election, said he does not plan to seek office again.
Fuller is a third-generation valley resident. She has been working at the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance as the organization’s community engagement associate. She resigned that position last week and will work at the alliance until the end of the month. Fuller said she wanted to avoid a conflict of interest.
Fuller helps manage her family’s ranch at the base of Teton Pass.
Fuller recently completed a masters program in public administration at the University of Wyoming. She graduated from Northern Arizona University in 2006 with a geology degree.
In 2008, Fuller was narrowly edged out of a spot on the commission by incumbent commissioners Schwartz and Leland Christensen.
Fuller pulled in roughly 25 percent — 5,256 votes — of all votes cast. By comparison, Christensen took 31 percent of the vote and Schwartz received 27 percent.
Schwartz and Fuller were separated by 340 votes.