Richard Jones is running for state house to focus on the statewide issues that affect HD 24, which includes much of Cody, all of Wapiti and even Mammoth Hot Springs.
While he’s only lived at his Wapiti residence for four years, he has experience in all three locations.
Jones, a Republican, said it’s his local experiences, combined with public and private sector work across the country, that make him prepared to represent local constituents in Cheyenne.
“I want to look at state issues that affect my constituents,” he said. “I would strive to be a good communicator and keep people in the loop.”
While Jones is ready to spend time down in Cheyenne, he said he’s thrilled to finally be back in his favorite part of the country.
“This has to be one of the finest districts in the country,” he said, mentioning the first national park, first national forest and Cody’s famous founder. “And we have the goose that laid the golden egg – Yellowstone.”
Jones, born in the Black Hills, actually lived inside the massive park when he was young and his father worked as a ranger out of Mammoth Hot Springs.
Later Jones worked as a ranger himself. He was with the U.S. Park Service for 25 years, including a five-year stint at Big Horn Canyon National Recreation Area. He also spent time as the chief ranger at the Virgin Islands State Park.
He finished his park service career in Mississippi as a top ranger for the Natchez Trace Parkway.
Following that he worked for the Mississippi state government as a gaming agent checking on riverfront casinos.
He said that job brought in his governmental knowledge from his park service days and was helped by his time working with the state corrections department.
He worked for a hospital in the state capitol of Jackson as a neurological research assistant as well.
Jones has also run his own businesses, he said, giving him a mix of private and public sector experience.
On top of that, he spent decades as a certified emergency medical technician, and helped coach the wheelchair fencing team at the London Paralympics.
Eventually, his early experiences in Northwest Wyoming brought him back to the area with his Mississippi wife.
“We bought a house here and she fell in love with the area,” Jones said of his house near the Shoshone National Forest boundary.
As a member of the Cody Planning and Zoning Board, he comes into the city a fair amount, and said his time on P&Z has helped him learn more about the city’s needs and issues.
Now he wants to be the advocate in Cheyenne for Cody, Wapiti and even Mammoth Hot Springs residents.
“My plan is to look at our priorities,” he said. “I’m a right-of-center moderate and a constitutionalist. But we live in a modern society and the laws we follow are what make us civilized, so we have to be open-minded.”