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VARD doesn’t endorse

Newspaper: Valley Citizen & Teton Valley News

Valley Advocates for Responsible Development is proud to be a community based, member driven organization. The generous contributions of our local members keep us going; they give more than just financial support, they also give time and enthusiasm to community initiatives that encourage vibrant urban cores, enhance quality of life and recreational opportunities, and protect critical wildlife habitat.

The term ‘special interest group’ seems to get thrown around when trying to turn a VARD membership into something negative or devious. In reality, we are a small nonprofit organization run by a committed and diverse staff and board of directors. Our ‘special interests’ are many—mine include powder days and canning—but our organizational mission is clear and concise: we advocate for private, public, and civic actions that will result in the responsible development and sustainable use of natural resources in Teton Valley.

As a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, VARD cannot endorse, finance, or support any political candidate. We can provide voters with factual information, including where to see candidate debates and where to vote.

Unfortunately, there have been false claims over our nonprofit organization’s role in the election. To accuse VARD of supporting a political candidate is to accuse our office of engaging in behavior that is both unethical and illegal. It is a serious accusation, and one that should not be made casually through unsubstantiated rumor and innuendo. I expect the highest level of professionalism from myself and from my staff, and I am proud and fortunate to be able to say that our office is a welcoming, responsive, and ethical space where any community member is welcome to come for fact-based information on land-use planning in Teton Valley.

As a resident of this community, I am grateful to have so many accomplished candidates to choose from. I will take advantage of my constitutionally protected right to vote, and I hope others will as well. However, how I vote is my personal business, and I will respect the privacy of my staff, my friends, and my neighbors. Claims that VARD endorses or supports a candidate in anyway are false and disruptive to the democratic process—let’s leave that sort of dialogue out of our community; we can do better in Teton Valley.

Stacey Frisk
Executive Director

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