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January 03, 2014 8:22 am

Just what will — and should — 2014 bring?

Written by Ilene Olson

As we consider the new year, we wonder what the future holds for 2014.

One thing we’re sure of: This year’s upcoming elections — and, in Wyoming, particularly the primary — will include some hotly contested races.

It’s unusual when any election in Wyoming garners much attention on the national scene. But this year, the race between Liz Cheney and incumbent Mike Enzi for Enzi’s seat in the U.S. Senate has become the focus of much interest and speculation among many. It will be interesting to see how it plays out in the coming months and in the Republican primary in August.

In addition, all five of the statewide elected offices — governor, secretary of state, treasurer, auditor and superintendent of public instruction are up for election this year. The race for governor has been a matter of public interest for nearly a year, with Cindy Hill, currently superintendent of public instruction, announcing her candidacy for the state’s top post after the 2012 Legislature stripped her office of most of its duties.

Gov. Matt Mead, a Republican, is widely expected to seek a second term, but he said he is still considering his options, and will announce his intentions after the 2014 legislative session.

We hope the election provides choices between solid candidates from both Republican and Democratic parties for national, state and county offices. No race should be decided in the primary election. We believe the government flies best on two wings, left and right. And, once the election is over and the voters have made their choices, the left and right wings must work together to make it fly correctly.

Well, we can hope, right?

It appears that Congress’ recently completed budget agreement, while far from perfect, will prevent problems in 2014 such as those experienced in national parks last year. Among other things, we hope — we expect — that means that roads into Yellowstone National Park will be plowed on time this spring and will remain open for the entire traditional summer and fall seasons. The public has a right to that expectation.

For area farmers, our wish list includes a hope that this year brings rising sugar prices so farmers can do more than break even on their sugar beet crops.

We also hope that this year’s weather provides enough precipitation and snowpack to fill Buffalo Bill Reservoir and Big Horn Lake sufficiently to meet the needs of agriculture, residential use and recreation, and to help guard against raging wildfires.

Closer to home, we look forward to the completion of Northwest College’s new Yellowstone Building. The building will house the college’s nursing, education, criminal justice and speech forensics programs, opening up the space those programs use now for additional needs that now are unmet or are met insufficiently.

We also expect to see further progress toward budgeting, planning and perhaps beginning construction for a new multi-use facility at the Park County Fairgrounds. It’s been more than three years since the county demolished the former Large Exhibit Hall, and that space still is missed not only during the Park County Fair, but also year-round during community events and elections.

Last year ended on a positive note for downtown Powell, with several new or existing businesses moving or relocating to fill empty store fronts. We hope that continues during the coming year.

We expect the Powell Economic Partnership and the Powell Valley Chamber of Commerce to continue to help the community to remain vibrant, and to play large roles in Powell’s economic success. To that end, we anticipate that Powell Economic Partnership will find the strong leader it needs to fill its executive director position, and hope that vision and strong leadership will continue at the chamber as well.

Obviously, much of this is a wish list. Some of the things listed are completely out of our control. For other items on the list, we, as individuals, can do little by ourselves to make anything happen.

But if we work together as a community, we can accomplish what is possible to make 2014 a promising year for Powell.

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