CHEYENNE – Governor Matt Mead delivered his fourth State of the State address to a Joint Session of the 62nd Wyoming Legislature today. Governor Mead announced that Wyoming is strong and in a position to invest in its communities, its people and its future.
“Nine days after I took office, in my first State of the State address, I talked about the importance of economic growth and diversification. Talk turned quickly to action, and we have, in fact been growing and diversifying our economy,” Governor Mead said. “For example, we have growth in manufacturing and growth in data centers and growth in other technology-related businesses.”
Governor Mead highlighted the state’s progress over the last three years, including:
- A state energy strategy, which is being implemented.
- Consistent support for local governments.
- Improved infrastructure – roads, schools, water projects and other facilities.
- Major broadband expansion – 700% growth in access for students last year.
- A pro-business environment.
- An increase in jobs and a decrease in the unemployment rate.
- The third lowest rate of poverty in the nation.
- Government efficiency measures.
“We speak about our state rankings, successes and dynamic businesses not to boast but because such things benefit our citizens,” Governor Mead said. “We speak about them because they mean more jobs. We speak about them because fiscal stability and economic growth give Wyoming the resources available to address needs of our citizens.”
Governor Mead’s proposed budget is nearly flat and makes significant investments in infrastructure. It includes: increased support for local governments; technology infrastructure called a unified network; additional funds for school and courtroom security; enhanced services for the elderly and developmentally disabled; improving state facilities – schools, the State Hospital, the Veterans’ Home, the Boys’ School and the Life Resource Center; pay raises for teachers, UW, community colleges and other state employees; and funding for medical homes, immunization, and 211 services.
Governor Mead supports Wyoming’s ongoing investment in education. The state is a national leader in school funding. “Our kids, teachers, communities, and state deserve the best in education. We must keep our focus on improvement, and we will,” Governor Mead said.
Governor Mead expressed his desire to continue to support Wyoming’s leading industries – energy, tourism and agriculture and said he will look for ways to continue to promote them in the coming years. He also emphasized the importance of water and discussed his goal to develop a Wyoming water strategy based on citizen feedback.
“Now is the time to put projects on the ground,” Governor Mead said. “Water projects are expensive, take time, and the permitting is difficult. They are easy to put off until tomorrow, but I submit today is the day to begin. We must all begin to push for water projects – big and small, for ag, industry, wildlife and other purposes. It will be a great legacy of this Legislature to say we did all we can to protect Wyoming water.”
Governor Mead acknowledged that it is important for those in public office to take on the difficult questions and make the tough decisions. “In Wyoming, we have inherited a great legacy to safeguard and to improve upon. We can do both. In Wyoming we still believe in the American dream and want more opportunities for all our citizens. We can pursue that goal too,” Governor Mead said. “We are in an enviable position and the time is right to invest in our state, our people, and our future.”
In his State of the State Governor Mead paid tribute to the 79 Wyoming service members who died serving the country since 9/11 and recognized those serving overseas. He recognized the contributions of all those in uniform, thanking the Wyoming National Guard, law enforcement, EMTs, firefighters and medical personnel. He also recognized individual citizens representing the many who inspire us each year.