Teton County lawmakers run for reelection unopposed — so far

They say they're in part tossing their hats back in the ring to stand up against the growing far-right faction in the Wyoming Legislature.
Left to right: Rep. Liz Storer (D-Jackson), Rep. Mike Yin (D-Jackson) and Rep. Andrew Byron (R-Hoback), who have all announced they're running for reelection. (Courtesy photos)

The time is now for candidates to file for election in Wyoming, and Teton County’s state representations have said they’re putting their names on the ballot again.  

The 2024 election cycle kicked off May 16, and all of the region’s representatives are thus far running unopposed. 

They’ve said they’re in part tossing their hats back in the ring to stand up against the growing ultra right-wing faction.

Pushing back against far-right conservatives


“I think the state is in a very close tipping point with regards to the quote, unquote Freedom Caucus,” said House Minority Floor Leader Mike Yin said. “I think that this election this year creates a situation where a bunch of right-wing extremists have a chance to control the Wyoming House.”

The Freedom Caucus has been reported to have about 26 members — more than a third of the House. Yin said adding more to this list could make it even more difficult to have a nuanced conversation.  

During the budget session earlier this year, the Freedom Caucus successfully killed 13 bills upon introduction — ones that the state had spent over $600,000 on to get to that point. 

For example, this slashed funding for people to access mental health care, when their insurance companies won’t cover them. Those who voted this bill down have said it was trying to solve mental health issues through government action, instead of social solutions.

But in her election announcement, Rep. Liz Storer (D-Jackson) had another way to describe these kinds of moves from what she described as the “far-right nihilistic caucus.”

“They simply don’t believe in the common good – those public services that benefit everyone and provide the foundation for our society and economy,” Storer wrote.

Rep. Andrew Byron (R-Hoback) is Teton County’s only Republican state representative, and — alongside Storer — just completed his first term. 

A moderate Republican, Byron said he wants to go back to Cheyenne to limit the amount of legislation this faction is bringing in from other states. 

“It’s not what we need,” Byron said. “We need to, we need to get back to the communities we represent and, and ask the constituents what they want and need, and we need to go work on laws for that.”

Property taxes, conservation and affordability 

Also on the top of the lawmakers’ list, if reelected, is more property tax reform. 

Yin said the laws passed earlier this year do a lot to help owners, but there’s still many gaps.

“[The laws don’t] really help renters in town, and I know that’s something that we need to keep working on,” Yin said. 

During this year’s legislative budget session, Storer also spearheaded property tax relief for her constituents in Teton County.

Another big win for her? 

“Certainly, the protection of the Kelly Parcel, and having the authority to sell it to the park was a huge coup,” Storer said. “And, settling something that has been a controversy for decades.”

Byron, who also represents part of Lincoln County, said conservation is also a big priority for him if sent back to Cheyenne. 

“We have unbelievable land in north Lincoln County and southeastern Teton County and all of Wyoming,” Byron said. “We need to continue to have access to that land so we can recreate on it and keep it open to the public.”

Byron said he also plans to continue trying to preserve private property rights. 

“I need to represent the hardworking folks of Lincoln County,” he said.

Likewise, Storer said she aims to do more to help young Wyomingites and families.

“Wyoming’s one of the few states that doesn’t fund early childhood education in a meaningful way,” Storer said. “It’s costing us money in the long run. It’s hurting our young families, and not getting kids off to a great start as a result.”

And Yin, who’s served as a lawmaker for three terms, said the core reason he’s running this time is the same reason he has always run.

“How do we make sure that Jackson Hole and Wyoming is a place where you can raise a family, a place where you can find opportunity, and a place where you can live and have your kids find a place to live as well?” he said. “Right now, that’s getting harder and harder, but it’s something that we still need to work on.”

Sen. Dan Dockstader (R-Afton) is also running for reelection.

As of this report, none of the Teton County incumbents have an opponent for the Aug. 20 primary. The deadline to run for office is May 31 at 5 p.m.

Editor’s Note: Liz Storer is the president and CEO of the George B. Storer Foundation, which provides a grant to Wyoming Public Radio.

This reporting was made possible by a grant from the Corporation For Public Broadcasting, supporting state government coverage in the state. Wyoming Public Media and Jackson Hole Community Radio are partnering to cover state issues both on air and online.

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About Hanna Merzbach

Hanna is KHOL's senior reporter and managing editor. A lot of her work focuses on housing and local politics, but also women's health — and whatever else she finds interesting. You can hear her reporting around the country and region on NPR, Wyoming Public Radio and community radio stations around the west. She hails from Bend, Oregon, where she reported for outlets such as the Atlantic, High Country News and Oregon Public Broadcasting. In her free time, you can find Hanna scaling rock walls or adventuring in the mountains.

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