Saturday, January 12, 2008

Plan for the future, not the past

On Thursday and Friday, Gov. Dave Freudenthal convened his "Building the Wyoming We Want" conference in Casper. Casper Star-Tribune correspondent Brodie Farquhar covered the event and reported in Saturday’s paper that almost 500 people attended. That’s probably why I couldn’t get in and had to settle for a waiting list. It also helps if you don’t wait until the last minute for these things.

It appears that the main point learned at this conference was this: Wyoming has to plan for the future. Lest you think that "planning for the future" is a redundancy, remember that one of the state’s favorite bumper-sticker slogans is: "Wyoming is what America was."

The Governor asked the audience to go home with two concepts:

One, a successful planning process will evolve over time, as thinking and conditions change.

Two, "We can control our own future," Freudenthal said, although that belief has been waylaid in the past by fears of today's boom turning into tomorrow's bust. If Wyoming can successfully figure out how to allocate resources, how to pay for open space and wildlife, how to pay for education, then surely the state can get a handle on growth, he said.

Freudenthal promised the audience that he'd continue to work on a supportive structure for communities what want to plan their future.

I’m hoping that plenty of legislators were on hand to hear this. They too often seem to be planning for the past. The Republicans just love stashing away money in the rainy day fund. We need to spend on infrastructure now. The Joint Appropriation Committee began holding hearings in Cheyenne this opast week and will be meeting until the Legislature convenes on Feb. 11.

To read Brodie’s entire CST article, go to

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