New Leaders Take the Reins

By on January 4, 2017

Pete Muldoon, Greg Epstein begin freshman terms in office.

Hailey Morton Levinson, Pete Muldoon and Jim Stanford take their oath of office during a Jackson Town Council meeting Tuesday night. (Photo: Town of Jackson)

Hailey Morton Levinson, Pete Muldoon and Jim Stanford take their oath of office during a Jackson Town Council meeting Tuesday night. (Photo: Town of Jackson)

JACKSON HOLE, WY — Residents piled into Jackson’s town hall Tuesday night to witness Pete Muldoon sworn in as mayor along with town council incumbents Hailey Morton Levinson and Jim Stanford. They will each serve four-year terms. Muldoon appointed Stanford as vice mayor.

Muldoon beat the one-term outgoing Mayor Sara Flitner by 38 votes in a race often tinged with controversy. He ran on a platform focused on the valley’s working class—promoting affordable housing, renter protections, and raising the minimum wage. Flitner, who also happened to win her seat by a small margin of 40 votes against Mark Nowlin two years ago, campaigned on her work to create affordable housing and transportation, support for social services and the arts, and her collaborative leadership style.

As Jackson’s new mayor, Muldoon will face challenges regarding a key part of his platform. In the November election voters shot down the general sales tax increase, which would have funded affordable housing projects in the valley. Muldoon says he hopes to use the Special Purpose Excise Tax (SPET) to fund affordable housing instead, but other organizations will also be vying for that money. There will likely be a vote on SPET projects in the spring.

Earlier in the day political newcomer Greg Epstein was sworn in as county commissioner alongside incumbent Natalia Duncan Macker. They will each serve four-year terms. County voters overwhelmingly chose Epstein. He led the polls with 6,241 votes. Macker was next in line with 5,810 votes. They beat out Republicans Niki Gill and Trey Davis. Now the Board of Teton County Commissioners is almost entirely Democratic with just one Republican, Paul Vogelheim. The other seats are filled by Democrats Smokey Rhea and Mark Newcomb.

Natalia Duncan Macker and Greg Epstein take their oaths for Teton County commissioner Tuesday.

Natalia Duncan Macker and Greg Epstein take their oaths for Teton County commissioner Tuesday. (Photo: Teton County)

A valley native, Epstein is head of production at Teton Gravity Research. He campaigned on a platform focused on environmental and wildlife protections in the county, creating affordable housing and finding transportation solutions to the county’s increasingly crowded roadways.

 

 

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About Meg Daly

Meg Daly is a freelance writer and arts instigator. She grew up in Jackson in the 1970s and 80s, when there were fewer fences, but less culture. Follow Meg on Twitter @MegDaly1

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