CHEYENNE – Gov. Mark Gordon is hopeful a potential state visit from the president of Taiwan to Cheyenne will happen. But talks are still ongoing and he couldn’t say whether it would eventually come to fruition.
During a Thursday news conference, Gordon said Wyoming had been in talks with the U.S. Department of State, Colorado and other stakeholders over the past several weeks to try and work out the potential state visit.
“I can’t confirm whether that visit will happen or not. But I can tell you that we are working to make sure the transit from Colorado to Wyoming will be a good one, should it come to pass,” Gordon said.
“The president of Taiwan is quite anxious to come to Wyoming. And we’ve been working with the State Department and others to make sure that transition goes as well as possible. I think we’re reaching a very positive point in those conversations.”
Gordon said the goal was to have the state visit occur during Cheyenne Frontier Days, which starts July 19.
The potential of a state visit from Taiwan was at the center of a conflict between Gordon and Cheyenne Mayor Marian Orr at the beginning of June. Orr accused Gordon of going on a profanity-laced tirade and physically trying to intimidate her during a meeting on the potential visit.
Gordon said Orr completely mischaracterized the incident, and at no time did he try to intimidate or threaten her. But he did apologize to Orr for the language he used during the meeting.
Orr initially accepted the apology before she read a statement Gordon put out saying he didn’t try and intimidate her physically.
Gordon said on Thursday he was committed to working with Orr and Cheyenne on the potential Taiwanese visit, the Capitol restoration project and other issues.
“I remain committed to working with the mayor, who is a wonderful person, to make sure on all of the issues we have to deal with whether it’s the Capitol, the (Capitol area) pipeline that will help with drainage and a number of other issues,” Gordon said. “We have very good relationship.”
As Wyoming prepares to approve another biennial budget in 2020, Gordon wants the state to take a cautious and transparent approach to its fiscal situation.
Gordon said he’s instructed state agency heads while they’re working on their budget requests for 2020 to understand the tight budget situation Wyoming is facing. He said they should be prepared to not have all requests funded in the biennium.
“My goal has been to avoid across-the-board cuts,” Gordon said. “The sort of ‘let’s take everything down by 2% (cuts).’ And to really look at if we need to make cuts, what are the programs that we will have to be cutting.”
Gordon said part of his budgeting process is to ensure transparency in the process, so Wyomingites know where the money the state is spending is coming from and what its being spent on.
“I want to make the budgeting process as transparent as possible,” Gordon said.
Gordon said he’s decided to name Buck McVeigh, his current policy director, to serve as his acting chief of staff. McVeigh will replace Pat Arp, who announced in may she would step down from the position later this year. Arp co-chaired Gordon’s transition team and had previously served as deputy in the State Treasurer’s Office when Gordon served as Treasurer.
Gordon also named his General Counsel Betsy Anderson as his acting deputy chief of staff.
“Buck and I have worked together for quite a while and have been friends for a long time. Buck’s work in this office has been actually quite pivotal,” Gordon said. “Betsy and I have worked together since I came to the Treasurer’s Office and Betsy has been an incredible ally and thoughtful person.”