Gordon seeks first full term to strengthen Wyoming investments, develop educationWritten by Saige Albert
Kaycee native Mark Gordon has served as the Wyoming State Treasurer for nearly a year and a half and is seeking his first full term to continue the work he started in the office.
“In the year and a half of getting caught up and doing great stuff in the Treasurer’s Office, there is a tremendous amount more to do,” says Mark Gordon.
Gordon was raised on the family ranch west of Kaycee, which he and his sister still operate. Gordon and his wife also have a place in Buffalo and a ranch east of Kaycee.
“Ranching is my base and my love,” he says, noting that in 2009, the Society for Range Management selected their operation as the Excellence in Range Stewardship Award winner.
In the 1980s, Gordon started a mail order business in Sheridan, which was later sold. They then purchased a bookshop and now own a movie theater in Buffalo with several partners.
“I have a small business background. I also worked for Apache Corp at the executive level, so I have experience from a Fortune 500 oil and gas company, as well,” he notes.
He also has experience serving on several boards, including the Kansas City Federal Reserve Board.
Gordon resigned from the Federal Reserve Board after State Treasurer Joe Meyer passed away in 2012 and carried out the rest of Meyer’s term.
Gordon highlights development of investments and continuing education for county treasurers as priorities for his campaign.
“The state has a wonderful ‘rainy day’ account,” Gordon says. “The $1.8 billion in the fund is the equivalent of about 25 percent of the Permanent Mineral Trust Fund, which is allowed by the Constitution to be invested in different sorts of securities.”
While state funding is invested, he notes returns aren’t as high as what the state could and should achieve.
“We want to make sure the ‘rainy day’ account can be used as a rainy day fund, but, more importantly in the near term, that we get better returns,” he adds. “Investments are the second most significant and most reliable source of income to the state.”
Gordon hopes to work with the Wyoming Legislature to set up a program allowing a 2016 constitutional amendment to create a new account, which he proposes calling Constitutional Funds.
“This new account would allow for money to be much more broadly invested,” he says.
Gordon has worked extensively with county treasurers, initiating education programs that he’d like to continue to develop.
“By statute, we are supposed to train county treasurers,” he explains. “We’ve really worked with county treasurers and the University of Wyoming to set up a program for training.”
Regardless of the county or the community, Gordon notes that issues facing small communities, including funding for waste and water expenses, are similar.
“I have been working very hard to relieve expenses that town’s face while promoting accountability intended,” Gordon comments.
Gordon has also worked closely with the state auditor to make sure each elected state official, as well as their staffs, are educated about investments the state is making.
As a born and raised Wyomingite, Gordon says, “Wyoming is such a wonderful state, and I’ve been working hard to promote the state.”
“Specifically in the area of economic development, the state also has a couple of lending programs,” he comments. “We’ve worked very hard in the Treasurer’s Office to place the money with banks at a very cheap rate, so it is available to be used for Wyoming loans.”
He notes they continue to adapt the program to improve access to Wyoming loans while also fostering the values of private businesses.
“I truly appreciate how the state can serve as a good partner for small towns,” Gordon says.
With the most practical experience with agriculture in state leadership aside from Governor Mead, Gordon says, “I’m actively engaged in agriculture, and it is my life blood.”
The experience only helps with his work on boards and commissions in the state.
“I have worked to promote stewardship on state lands through the State Board of Land Commissioners,” Gordon explains, noting that often those who utilize state lands for recreation don’t take care of them as well as they should. “I’d also like to figure out how the Office of State Lands can be more helpful to grazing lessees as they deal with energy development.”
“I think the next few years are going to be great ones for Wyoming,” Gordon says. “They aren’t going to be as easy as in the past, but with good thought, wisdom and leadership, we have a terrific economic future.”