In a sense, a luncheon in the park last Thursday in Powell broke the mold for political campaign gatherings in these parts.
Political candidate forums have traditionally been hosted by the League of Women Voters or local political party affiliates like the county Republican or Democrat women’s organizations. Local media outlets have also played the host role in the interest of introducing candidates to voters.
Not this time. Enter the Powell Economic Partnership. PEP stepped it up a notch last week by inviting the full slate of statewide candidates to share the stage with those running for local and county office. It was a bigger version of a similar PEP event held in 2016.
And why not? Economic development is a huge issue for the State of Wyoming and for each community in the state. But would candidates come to Powell for 1 minute and 45 seconds of time at the mic? The short answer is ask and they will come.
PEP got the candidates here, and people of the community came out. Over 30 candidates — including seven running for governor — had time to meet and greet and then paraded one after another for their allotted time on stage. A minute and 45 seconds is not a lot of time to tell a little about oneself and then answer two questions about economic development. But most carried it off pretty well before the bell ended their round, and candidates were respectful of the time limits.
PEP should be commended for good planning and well-managed execution. Powell came face to face with a whole bunch of candidates, without a doubt some for the first time.
There’s another benefit of the meeting on the village green: Economic development is PEP’s role, and its election campaign event says Powell wants to be a player. It keeps Powell on the map for an audience of leaders from across the state.