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2017 YEAR IN REVIEW: Tom Brokaw visits Powell searching for ‘The Other America’

Today Show correspondent Tom Brokaw is filmed as he strolls through downtown Powell last July. The veteran newsman was in town filming a story about conservative rural America. Today Show correspondent Tom Brokaw is filmed as he strolls through downtown Powell last July. The veteran newsman was in town filming a story about conservative rural America. Tribune file photo by CJ Baker

A media industry icon spent a couple of days in Park County in July, as veteran newsman Tom Brokaw was seen strolling the streets of downtown Powell and hanging out at the Park County Fair.

Brokaw was in town to cover the 2017 Heart Mountain Pilgrimage for a feature on the Today Show, and took the time to visit with locals as part of another story, gauging how voters in this predominately conservative area felt after six months of the Trump administration. He also met with local doctors to discuss health care in rural areas.

“I just thought that this [Powell] is picture postcard,” he explained. “I’ve kept it in my mind when I was coming here, and then I saw that Powell voted 70 percent for Trump. How do they feel now?”

After asking that very question at the Skyline Cafe and the Park County Fair, Brokaw said he found the answers interesting.

“There is some diminishment of the enthusiasm, but the people we saw at the county fair said it’s all our fault — the liberal media’s fault, not Trump’s. So I thought to myself, ‘This is the chance to do the other America.’” 

As he made the rounds, Brokaw said he was struck by the responses he received as to what weighs heavy on the minds of small-town Wyoming.

“Nobody was saying to me yesterday ‘Oh my God, what are we going to do about Reince Priebus?’” Brokaw said. “They’re not talking about that. They were talking about how it’s too damn dry out here and what’s going to happen with the solar eclipse. There are a lot of other things on their mind.”

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