By Laurie Milford

Twenty-six new governors are being inaugurated across the nation this week. One of those, Matt Mead, took the oath of office on Monday in Cheyenne.

As an organization whose work includes being an advocate for Wyoming’s natural resources at the state level, the Outdoor Council appreciated the chance to welcome the new governor and First Lady Carol Mead and to tell them we look forward to the work ahead.

After the ceremony began, the Mead children led us in the pledge of allegiance. The audience stood to acknowledge outgoing Governor Dave Freudenthal.

Thaddeus and Christopher Brown sang the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” (Notably, the Brown brothers sang, “Let us live to make men free” instead of the original lyric, which Julia Ward Howe wrote in 1861: “Let us die to make men free.”).

Chief Justice Marilyn Kite administered the oath of office to the elected officials. Governor Mead took the oath last and then made his inaugural address.

As a conservative in the way the word “conservation” connotes conservatism, he warned us that as a state we must live within our means, without “overgrazing our grandchildren’s pastures.”

He cited clean water, clean air, “wildlife that enthralls us all,” and open spaces as resources that deserve our attention. He noted the chance we have in Wyoming to watch the sun set over the “ramparts of the Wind River Range.” He encouraged us to plan for the “water needs of the future.”

I was encouraged by these signals that conservation should be an important tenant in the new administration. Governor Mead also promised to leave the door to his office open, which implied to me that transparency also may be an important tenant in his office.

The highlight of the day was the chance to talk with fellow Wyomingites: I met people from Cody, Thermopolis, and Gillette, and elsewhere. We lined the capitol steps to shake hands with the new governor. Perhaps more than 1,000 of us waited for three hours in the bitter southeastern Wyoming wind for the chance to be received in the capitol rotunda by the five elected officials and their families.

Governor Mead pledged to serve all of us; Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. I look forward with optimism to working with this new administration.

West Edge