2016 News Releases

Western Governors Endorse Improvements to Endangered Species Act

posted Jul 13, 2017, 10:42 AM by David Bush   [ updated Jul 13, 2017, 10:53 AM ]

July 13, 2017

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – As Chairman of the Western Governors’ Association (WGA) in 2015, Governor Matt Mead launched his Species Conservation and Endangered Species Act Initiative. Through the Initiative, the Governor sought to promote and elevate the role of states in species conservation efforts and explore ways to improve the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Over two years, the WGA held nine workshops and six webinars where a diverse group of people explored opportunities to modernize the ESA. Many of these opportunities were highlighted in a policy resolution adopted by Western Governors in June 2016. This June Western Governors adopted detailed recommendations on ESA modernization.

“I am very proud of this Initiative. My fellow Western Governors hosted workshops and webinars where over 6400 people participated, representing thousands more from myriad backgrounds,” said Governor Mead. “Through this inclusive process, we developed and adopted recommendations that can improve species conservation and the ESA for people and wildlife. I thank these Governors for their continued support of this Initiative along with the staff and the many diverse groups and people that have joined in this effort.”

The Initiative engaged groups representing agriculture, energy, sportsmen and conservationists, along with Federal, state and local governments across the West. Governor Mead and WGA will now work with Congress and the Administration to improve the ESA through policy, regulation and statute.

The Species Conservation and Endangered Species Act Initiative Year Two Report is available on the WGA’s website:

Specific recommendations from the Initiative are also available on the WGA’s website:



Wyoming to Join First Responder Network Authority

posted Jul 12, 2017, 2:59 PM by David Bush   [ updated Jul 12, 2017, 3:00 PM ]

July 11, 2017

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Governor Matt Mead announced today that Wyoming will join the First Responder Network Authority known as FirstNet. Congress established FirstNet in 2012 to build, operate, and maintain the first high-speed, nationwide wireless broadband network dedicated to public safety. This network has been a top priority for first responders and public safety agencies in Wyoming and throughout the country, and has been designed on their specific, expressed needs. Governor Mead sent a letter to Mike Poth, CEO of FirstNet, indicating Wyoming’s intent to participate in the plan.

“The State of Wyoming has participated in FirstNet consultation and outreach activities throughout the planning of the network and reviewed the details of the FirstNet State Plan,” wrote Governor Mead. “I have determined that it is in the best interest of Wyoming to participate in the FirstNet deployment of the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network.”

FirstNet network satisfies the priorities identified by the Wyoming public safety community, rapidly provides access to public safety features, and delivers extensive population and geographic coverage.  

Pursuant to the federal law, the Governor had three options: opt-in, opt-out or do nothing. With the opt-in decision, FirstNet and AT&T take on all the risks, costs and responsibilities associated with deploying the network in Wyoming for 25 years. Wyoming is not responsible for any costs for the FirstNet network. If a state opts-out, the state is responsible for all costs and logistics associated with the network. If a state does nothing, then it defaults to opt-in.

“FirstNet will be an asset for emergency personnel across Wyoming. This is a tool that allows for better communication and faster response,” said Governor Mead.

More information on FirstNet is available on their website:


Governor Appoints New District Court Judge for the Fifth Judicial District

posted Jun 23, 2017, 1:25 PM by David Bush   [ updated Jun 23, 2017, 1:25 PM ]

June 23, 2017

CHEYENNE, WY - Governor Matt Mead has appointed William L. (Bill) Simpson to be District Court Judge for the Fifth Judicial District. Simpson fills the vacancy occurring in the District’s Park County, Cody office with the retirement of Judge Steven Cranfill effective July 31, 2017.

A graduate of Cody High School, Simpson has a Bachelor of Science degree, with honors, from the University of Wyoming and a Juris Doctor degree from the UW College of Law. He has been in private practice in Cody for 33 years - with Simpson, Kepler & Edwards beginning in 1984 upon graduating from law school, and since 2000 with Burg, Simpson, Eldredge, Hersh & Jardine. Simpson has also worked for the Wyoming Public Defender’s Office for almost three decades. His pro bono work through the years, in a variety of matters including domestic relations, child custody, family law, and indigent defendants, has been significant.   

“The Judicial Nominating Commission sent over three great candidates, making this decision very difficult,” said Governor Mead. “Bill Simpson received supportive letters from judges, fellow attorneys, a victims’ services organization, and members of the community from many walks of life, as well as from others around the state. His long and strong commitment to the Cody area, his criminal and civil legal experience acquired over decades of practice, and his considerable volunteer legal work to help those in need were important in making the final selection,” added the Governor.  

In reaction to his appointment, Simpson said: “I am truly and deeply honored by Governor Mead’s appointment. I will work as hard as I can for the people of the Fifth Judicial District – a place I know and love.”



Governor Appoints New District Court Judge for the Eighth Judicial District

posted Jun 23, 2017, 1:22 PM by David Bush   [ updated Jun 23, 2017, 1:23 PM ]

June 16, 2017

CHEYENNE, WY - Governor Matt Mead has appointed F. Scott Peasley to be District Court Judge for the Eighth Judicial District. Peasley fills the vacancy occurring in Converse County with the retirement of Judge John Brooks effective August 4, 2017. The District serves Converse, Niobrara, Platte and Goshen Counties.

Peasley has been in private practice for 16 years in Douglas with his father. His practice has been broad and diverse, including representation of municipalities as well as the local school district. He has also served as a part-time deputy with the Converse County Attorney’s Office since 2001. For the County Attorney’s Office, he handled misdemeanor and felony criminal cases until a couple years ago when his work turned primarily to Converse County civil matters.

“The Judicial Nominating Commission sent three highly qualified nominees, and that is appreciated,” said Governor Mead. “Scott Peasley grew up in Douglas and clearly loves living, working and raising a family in this great town. The strong support he received locally, his hometown connection, and the depth of his criminal and civil legal experience stood out in making this selection. Scott’s volunteer work in the community - with Wyoming Boys’ State for 16 years, the Converse County Bar (serving as President the past six years), and other groups - is also impressive,” added the Governor.

Peasley stated, in reaction to his appointment: “I am honored and humbled to be selected by the Governor. I am going to work really hard to maintain the integrity of the bench and to serve the people of Converse County and the entire 8th Judicial District well.”



Governor Mead Hails Decision to Delist Yellowstone Grizzly Bears

posted Jun 22, 2017, 12:02 PM by David Bush   [ updated Jun 22, 2017, 12:03 PM ]

Credit: Wyoming Game and Fish

June 22, 2017

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – The US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced today that grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) have sufficiently recovered and will be returned to state management. There are approximately 700 bears in the GYE which includes Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. Governor Matt Mead praised the decision.

“Grizzly bears have met or exceeded recovery objectives since 2003 and have long warranted delisting. In 2013, I asked Secretary Salazar to delist the grizzly bears and much work toward this end has been done. I appreciate that the FWS is proceeding now with the delisting,” Governor Mead said. “The Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team, which includes the FWS and Wyoming Game and Fish, must be commended for its years of great work. Thanks to the team effort, grizzlies will be managed appropriately by our experts at Game and Fish. I thank all involved in the delisting effort.”

A brief history follows. In 2007, the FWS delisted grizzly bears in the GYE. A federal judge reinstated protections in 2009 after finding that the FWS did not adequately consider the impacts of the decline of whitebark pine nuts - a grizzly bear food source. In 2013, the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team determined that the reduction in whitebark pine nuts did not significantly impact grizzly bears and again recommended delisting. In March 2016, the FWS published a draft rule to delist grizzly bears in the GYE. States gave additional assurance regarding long-term viability. Wyoming has adopted a Grizzly Bear Management Plan outlining how management will occur after the bears are delisted. That document is available on the Game and Fish website.


Governor Appoints New District Court Judge for the Second Judicial Distric

posted May 25, 2017, 10:50 AM by David Bush   [ updated May 25, 2017, 10:50 AM ]

May 18, 2017

CHEYENNE, Wyo – Governor Matt Mead has appointed Dawnessa Snyder to be District Court Judge for the Second Judicial District in Carbon County.  Snyder fills the vacancy occurring with the retirement of Judge Wade Waldrip on July 7.

Snyder is currently the Chief Deputy in the Carbon County Attorney’s Office.  She has also served as an Adjunct Professor for Western Wyoming Community College.  She is a native of Rock Springs.  She received her Bachelor and Law degrees from the University of Wyoming.

“Dawnessa Snyder has earned a reputation as an outstanding prosecutor.  She has broad trial experience and has handled a number of highly complex and sensitive trials as a prosecuting attorney,”  Mead said.  

“All three nominees for this position were highly qualified.  Dawnessa Snyder received strong support from fellow attorneys, child advocates, law enforcement and community members.  The strength of this support was important in the final selection,” Mead concluded.

Many supporters cited Snyder’s successful prosecution of sex offenders and her compassionate work with child victims.  She was instrumental in the construction of the Carbon County Youth Crisis Center, a group home for at risk children.  

In reaction to her appointment, Snyder stated,

“I am humbled by Governor Mead’s appointment, and excited to serve Carbon County and the State of Wyoming by upholding the integrity of our judicial system and following in the footsteps of excellent Carbon County District Judges.”



Tom Forslund Named Director of Department of Family Services

posted May 24, 2017, 10:51 AM by David Bush   [ updated May 24, 2017, 10:51 AM ]

May 15, 2017

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Governor Matt Mead has named Tom Forslund as the Director of the Department of Family Services (DFS). Forslund is currently the Director of the Department of Health and will continue to lead that agency as well. He replaces Steve Corsi who recently announced his resignation to accept a position out of state.

“I wanted to provide the Department of Family Services immediate leadership while assessing the best long-term approach for the agency,” said Governor Mead. “Tom Forslund is an extraordinary administrator. He has proven his capability at the Department of Health and is well able to manage both agencies.”

The Governor thanked Corsi for his years of service as head of DFS. Corsi began serving in that capacity early in Governor Mead’s first term.

“Director Corsi has been an integral member of my cabinet for more than six years – the longest tenure of a Wyoming DFS director,” Governor Mead said. “He has brought good insight and perspective to the agency. I appreciate his service and wish him success in his new endeavors.”



Wolves Returned to State Management in Wyoming

posted Apr 25, 2017, 4:13 PM by David Bush   [ updated Apr 25, 2017, 4:18 PM ]

April 25, 2017

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Governor Matt Mead announced today the Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. entered its final order upholding Wyoming’s wolf management plan which confirms Wyoming’s management of wolves. The US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) will file notice in the Federal Register in the coming days.

“I am delighted that the Circuit Court recognized Wyoming’s commitment to manage a recovered wolf population,” said Governor Mead. “Our wolf management plan is a result of years of hard work by people across Wyoming. We recognize the need to maintain a healthy wolf population. I thank former Secretaries of the Interior Ken Salazar and Sally Jewell as well as former Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department for their commitment to getting this done. This is a good day for Wyoming.”

Wyoming managed wolves from 2012 to 2014. In 2014, a federal District Court judge reinstated federal protections for wolves on the premise that population commitments in Wyoming’s wolf management plan needed to be found in regulation or statute. Wyoming and the federal government appealed that decision and ultimately prevailed in the D.C. Circuit Court.

For more information about management in both the Trophy Game Management Area and the predator zone, please contact the Wyoming Game and Fish Department or visit their website:


Wyoming Top 100 Shooting Competition Workshops Announced

posted Apr 20, 2017, 3:40 PM by David Bush   [ updated Apr 20, 2017, 3:41 PM ]

April 20, 2017

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – The Wyoming Top 100 Shooting Competition, an initiative of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, is kicking off. This initiative is part of a larger effort to promote shooting sports across Wyoming. It is a “postal match” meaning it is scored on the honor system – scores can be entered online at the Game and Fish website. Amateur level competition is open to all shooters.

Representatives from the Governor’s office, the Wyoming Game and Fish, the National Rifle Association and Wyoming’s firearms industry will be attending workshops sponsored by local shooting ranges and clubs. All shooters are welcome. Workshops are scheduled for April 22nd in Laramie, May 18th in Douglas, May 19th in Lander, May 22nd in Newcastle, May 23rd in Gillette, May 24th in Thermopolis, June 12th in Rawlins, June 13th in Evanston, June 14th in Jackson and June 15th in Cody. Information on locations, times and dates is available on the Wyoming Game and Fish website.

“We are proud of our western heritage in Wyoming. This is the first round of the Wyoming Top 100 – I hope these workshops will encourage people to get out and take part in shooting sports,” said Governor Mead.

Shooting sports and outdoor recreation are among key sectors in Wyoming’s economic diversification efforts. The Governor has also launched the Open Ranges Initiative to increase access to public shooting ranges and the Magpul Governor’s Match – a national level 2-gun (semi-automatic rifle and pistol) match.

A Wyoming Conservation Stamp is required in order to participate in the Wyoming Top 100.



Governor Mead Announces ENDOW Executive Council

posted Apr 20, 2017, 3:32 PM by David Bush   [ updated Apr 21, 2017, 2:38 PM ]

April 20, 2017

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Governor Matt Mead has made appointments to the ENDOW (Economically Needed Diversity Options for Wyoming) Executive Council. The panel is composed of accomplished business and community leaders from across Wyoming. It will focus on developing a strategy to build a sustainable, diversified and value-added economy in Wyoming by 2038.

“These individuals are among Wyoming’s best and brightest, and they have agreed to contribute their time and expertise to help Wyoming. Their insights will be invaluable as we work to encourage the expansion and diversification of Wyoming’s economy,” Governor Mead said. “I am interested in an approach that contains defined targets with flexibility to be implemented in any area of the state.”

Governor Mead announced the ENDOW initiative in November 2016. The Legislature endorsed this initiative and appropriated $2.5 million to advance and promote economic diversification.

The Governor has asked the ENDOW Executive Council to look at education, workforce training, research, business development, entrepreneurship, innovation and private sector businesses coming together to create jobs, products and companies.

The Executive Council is scheduled to meet for the first time May 11-12 in Cheyenne. Its members are:

  • Jesus Rios of Sheridan – COO of Ptolemy Data Systems
  • Rosie Berger of Big Horn – Former Legislator
  • Karen Hostetler of Buffalo – Founder and President of Mountain Meadow Wool
  • Mark Christensen of Gillette – President of The MC Family of Companies
  • Jerad Stack of Casper – Entrepreneur and founding member of Breakthrough 307
  • Bill Schilling of Casper – President of Wyoming Business Alliance
  • Wally Wolski of Yoder – Goshen County Economic Development Corporation
  • Matt Kaufman of Cheyenne – Co-founder of Array School of Technology and Design
  • Ray Fleming Dinneen of Cheyenne – Founder of CLIMB Wyoming
  • Mary Ellbogen Garland of Laramie – President of John P. Ellbogen Foundation
  • John Temte of Laramie – Founder of Temte Capital
  • Steven Moldt of Riverton – President of Inberg-Miller Engineers
  • Cy Lee of Fort Washakie – Executive Director of the Wind River Development Fund
  • Ike Eastman of Powell – President of Eastmans’ Publishing
  • Bob Viola of Jackson – Founder of Square One Systems Design
  • Barbara Hoeft of Jackson – Managing Partner of Willow Street Group
  • Barbara Sessions of Afton – Vice President and CFO for Silver Star Communications
  • Cindy Johnson of Green River – President of the Para-Transit Division of Syncromatics
  • Bret Pizzato of Rock Springs – Plant Manager for J.R. Simplot
  • Steve Russell of Evanston – Former CEO of Carbon Fiber Technology
  • Senator Eli Bebout of Riverton – President of the Senate
  • Representative Steve Harshman or Casper – Speaker of the House of Representatives
  • Senator Michael Von Flatern of Gillette – Vice President of the Senate and Chairman of the Senate Minerals, Business and Economic Development Committee
  • Representative Mike Greear of Worland – Chairman of the House Minerals, Business and Economic Development Committee
  • Greg Hill of Wilson. President and Chief Operating Officer of Hess Corporation, a global independent energy company engaged in the exploration and production of crude oil and natural gas. Mr. Hill will serve as the Governor’s designee on the ENDOW Executive Council and as Co-Chair of the ENDOW Executive Council. The Council will also select a Co-Chair from among its members.

“The opportunity to examine ways to diversify the economy of Wyoming is an exciting challenge,” said Mr. Hill. “The state has so much to offer, and has the time and the expertise to chart an exciting course for the future.”

The Executive Council’s first report is due to Governor Mead and the Wyoming Legislature by August 30, 2017. Its preliminary findings and recommendations are due by December 31, 2017. By August 1, 2018, a twenty year comprehensive economic diversification strategy is due to Governor Mead.

In addition to the ENDOW Executive Council, Governor Mead plans to establish a Rural Council to serve as a champion for rural economic diversification and to inform the Executive Council’s work. The ENDOW Rural Council will be co-chaired by Wally Wolski and Jim Espy of Savery. Full membership will be announced at a later date.



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