(Dubois, WY) – County 10 has contacted all of the mayoral candidates across the County to ask them a few questions.
Jason Kintzler is currently running for Dubois mayor. He has lived in Dubois for two years but is a fifth-generation Fremont County resident. He is the CEO of LifeKey, owns Dubois Provisions along with his wife, and also owns Howdy Ice Cream Company, among other things.
Below is a Q&A transcript of our interview.
County 10: What prompted you to run for mayor?
Jason Kintzler: I originally didn’t have any intention on it. But as you know, I’m involved in some organizations now. I was appointed by Governor Mead and Governor Gordon to the Wyoming Business Council. So I’ve been doing that. I’ve been on the Dubois Drive Board, which is the economic development group here. And so I’ve sort of had an ear to the ground of what’s happening, and it just got sort of overwhelming the amount of people that said, we need somebody with some leadership, with some vision to come in here and help and I was like, Well, you know, I’m a pretty busy guy. But, but you know, it just became overwhelming. I’m like, you know, what, if that’s the way I can help, that’s the best way I can contribute. I think I can help set the vision and, hopefully, some leadership that will help take Dubois into the future.
C10: Have you served in a similar role?
JK: No, nothing like that.
C10: What changes would you like to see in Dubois?
JK: I don’t think it’s necessarily changes. Part of the reason that I felt sort of compelled to run is that people said that the projects and things that are sort of designed to move the town forward are often met with resistance here. There’s kind of a perceived resistance to any sort of progress. And you know, I think Dubois has enormous potential in Fremont County and in Wyoming to sort of lead in terms of tourism and things. You know, we’re a gateway community to Jackson. That’s really important. I think we bring in more tourism tax than Lander and just behind Riverton, and I think Dubois should be number one in that for sure. I think that Dubois is kind of at an inflection point. A lot of people have moved here. It’s kind of changing from a retirement community to a destination type place for people to live. Whether we like it or not, that’s happening. So you know, I think change is inevitable here. And do we want to be involved in helping shape it? And being a local guy, I feel like I can help us shape that. Dubois has a great history and great culture here, and those are the things that are important. So we sort of have to move forward with an eye on the past.
C10: What challenges do you foresee in making those changes?
JK: I think it’s changing the perception around progress or change. It’s easing people’s fears about change. I think right now, I’m viewed as an outsider because a lot of people don’t know me, but then there are a lot of people that do know me. It’s kind of one of those things. I think it’s just getting in front of people so that they have a chance to talk to me and learn that I’m as local as they come, and even though I have a tech company, I’m a Republican, I’m conservative, but I have a vision. I have ideas, I have ways to hopefully inspire people too and build what they want for the future. The biggest thing is Dubois is an aging community, and we have a lot of these in Fremont County, but it’s an aging community. And it’s not just about us. Now, it’s about the other generations who we want to live here going forward. What do we want this place to look like? And so, if we want to have a say in that, if we want to have housing here and things like that, we’ve got to work on our economy and then play the long game a little bit, you know? Because I really feel like if you’re not growing at some level, growing your economy, growing your services, and things like that, then then you’re probably shrinking, and that’s a scary thing.
C10: What do you believe is the most pressing issue facing the town council this year?
JK: I don’t know if they’ve taken this on, but I would say I think the biggest thing that’s sort of pressing in Dubois is housing. I think that’s a difficult thing. You know, finding housing, the prices have gone up. There’s been a lot of debate around Airbnb and VRBO. Those vacation rental type properties and things like that because there’s such limited availability of housing for employees like long-term housing type things. We have a similar microcosm of the Jackson problem, which is you’ve got tourism and businesses that need workers, but you don’t necessarily have housing. So how do you solve that? I don’t think anybody’s really reached that yet.
C10: What is one thing you wish people knew about Dubois?
JK: I think Dubois is probably one of the last best places. That’s an overused cliche. But for what Dubois is, for the values it has, the patriotism on the Fourth of July or the football game, the values that the people hold here, kind of the legacy and the history with dude ranches and real cowboys and the tie hacks. I think that as someone who grew up coming up here, I sort of felt that or knew that inherently, but I don’t think most people know, and when they come up here and get a taste of it, they want to live here. So I think that’s the thing. Dubois is much deeper, it is a much more rare place than we think and we understand. If you think about there’s just not a lot of Dubois’s in this country. There just isn’t. They’ve either kind of turned into Jackson’s, or they’re just different; they have different economies or whatever. And this place is pretty unique. From that perspective, it’s built on the backs of hard workers and immigrants who came here and worked with tie hacks in lumber and making the railroads, and it’s pretty cool.
C10: Anything else you’d like to share?
JK: My motivation for running for mayor is really out of love for Dubois and its people. And I know this is a special place, and I want to protect that. But to do that, we have to grow our economy, so we’re not reliant on other places to help us sustain and build the Dubois of the future. And so, I hope they understand that my motivations are really just to help this place realize its importance on the map.
Additional questions and answers can be found here on the League of Women Voters Fremont County Primary Election Voter Guide.
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