Thriving Communities

What do we mean by thriving communities? What is ESPC’s vision for the future of Wyoming?

  • Thriving communities are fair communities. Thriving communities offer a wide range of economic and civic opportunities for their residents regardless of ancestry, race, gender, religion, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, or any other differences. They provide equal opportunities to participate in government and the economy. They ensure free and fair elections.
  • Thriving communities are just communities. Equal outcomes can never be guaranteed, but equal opportunities and equal treatment under the law can be. Justice is achieved when all community members receive equal treatment and due process under the law and have equal opportunities to flourish.
  • Thriving communities are free communities. They ensure freedom of speech and freedom of religion. They support our constitutional rights to assemble, protest, speak our minds, and form private associations—including religious congregations, clubs, civic organizations, labor unions, charities, advocacy groups, social support organizations, addiction recovery and support groups, and other support services for those in need.
  • Thriving communities are healthy communities. They maintain a healthy environment for all their residents, including clean air and safe drinking water. They provide access to high-quality health care—including mental health services—regardless of ancestry, race, gender, religion, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, or any other superficial or cultural differences.
  • Thriving communities invest in their children and families. They provide equal access to high-quality education; establish a social safety net and social services for people in need; and offer safe, reliable, and affordable childcare for working parents.
  • Thriving communities focus on quality of life. They create a wide variety of opportunities for self-education and improvement, community gatherings and events, outdoor recreation, athletics, exercise, creative expression, and engagement in the arts.
  • Thriving communities educate, attract, and retain great people of all ages. They do this by being fair, just, free, and healthy; by investing in their children and families; and by focusing on quality of life.

Why should Wyoming’s communities care about attracting and retaining great people?

Because success depends on people: happy, healthy, thriving people.

Wyoming’s future gets brighter when we retain great people and attract new people.

  • Wyoming’s economic fortunes have, for too long, been subject to the whims of the unpredictable, natural-resource-based, boom-and-bust economy.
  • The states and countries that have successfully escaped this boom-and-bust trap and have gone on to enjoy thriving, durable, diverse economies, all have one salient thing in common: they’ve been able to educate, attract, and retain great people.

What do people have to do with diversifying the economy?

  • People—if given opportunities and access to education—are nothing less than the engine of any modern economy.
  • People are the essential ingredient to achieving vibrant, thriving, resilient communities.
  • People are creative and entrepreneurial. People take entrepreneurial risks, develop new ideas, make new businesses, and create new markets and new economic opportunities wherever they go.
  • People are generous, gracious, caring, service-oriented, and civic minded—and these folks will volunteer, give locally, and make their communities better in countless ways, wherever they happen to live.
  • People are brilliant, energetic, talented, artistic, visionary, and hard-working. They breathe life and new ideas into their cities and towns wherever they live, and they help make their communities more adaptable and more responsive to change, and more resilient to economic shocks and downturns.
  • Enough people—given opportunities, quality education, equal protections, and equal rights—will inevitably create a diverse, self-sustaining, and durable economy all on their own.

Thriving communities in Wyoming: how do we get there from here?

  • As a state:
    • Focus on attracting and retaining great people.
  • As leaders serious about economic diversification:
    • Get off the boom-and-bust economic rollercoaster. Modernize our tax structure so that education, infrastructure, and other essential funding isn’t subject to the whims of commodities markets.
  • As citizens and residents:
    • Invest in our own government and education system, ask lawmakers to modernize the state’s tax structure and revenue streams, advocate equal access to high-quality education; support a social safety net and social services for people in need; and help ensure that our local communities offer safe, reliable, and affordable childcare for working parents.  
  • As elected officials:
    • Recognize that our current, overreliance on the energy industry is a dead end—and take leadership roles in (1) explaining this fact to the public, (2) modernizing the state’s tax structure and revenue streams, and (3) presenting an achievable vision for a brighter future where Wyoming is no longer caught in the boom-and-bust trap.
  • As voters:
    • Elect leaders willing take on this difficult work.
  • As political party leaders, advocates, and voters throughout the political spectrum:
    • Elect a State Legislature that is more diverse and is a better reflection of the people and population of Wyoming.
  • As non-partisan advocates:
    • Help a more diverse range of candidates throughout the political spectrum learn about what it takes to run a successful campaign for elected office in Wyoming, while helping regular people who don’t have the opportunity to run for office to effectively monitor and engage with their government and legislators.
  • As civic-minded community members:
    • Helpour cities and towns be fair, just, free, and healthy, while investing in children and families, and focusing on the quality of life we offer our residents.
  • As policymakers:
    • Invest in education and attracting and retaining great people. Ensure that everyone has equal opportunities to participate in our government and economy.

Why does ESPC need your help?

  • This work is our collective privilege as community members and citizens.
  • We’re successful only when people like you show up, participate, assert your rights, provide oversight, and apply unrelenting pressure and encouragement for government officials to do the right thing.
  • Our government needs your input and oversight!

What are some things you can do?

  • Sign up for our emails to stay informed about opportunities to engage and speak out.
  • Take our SHAPE WYOMING grassroots advocacy training and learn how to engage effectively with elected officials.
  • Take our RUN WYOMING candidate training and to learn what it takes to run a successful campaign in Wyoming.
  • Talk to your legislators frequently about the issues that matter most to you! They need to hear from YOU in order to do their jobs well.
  • Run for office! Most elected positions in Wyoming are won by only a tiny margin of votes.
  • Donate to ESPC! Your support helps ESPC travel the state; research and analyze policy positions and proposals; create solutions; build and coordinate powerful coalitions be a year-round good government watchdog; and show up everywhere we need to be to advocate on your behalf. Most of us aren’t able—because of work, health issues, childcare, and so many other responsibilities—to travel the state and advocate year-round. That’s why ESPC exists: to be a constant presence and constant voice for transparent government, fair elections, thriving communities, and the people of Wyoming.