Van Mark sets sight on District 5 House seat

Rhett Breedlove
Posted 6/26/24

TORRINGTON – Torrington local Jackie Van Mark has been a familiar name and face in the area for years. In fact, to those who know her best, she is perhaps what many would consider an exemplary …

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Van Mark sets sight on District 5 House seat


TORRINGTON – Torrington local Jackie Van Mark has been a familiar name and face in the area for years. In fact, to those who know her best, she is perhaps what many would consider an exemplary example of Wyoming’s strength, spirit, intelligence, and courage.

By her own account, Van Mark is a fourth-generation Wyoming homesteader who grew up just south of Torrington on her family’s farm. Long ago on that very farm, her parents would instill in her the incredible value of hard work, the importance of studying factual history, and everlasting love for the beautiful state of Wyoming.

“My great-grandparents moved here and homesteaded just south of town,” Van Mark said with a smile. “My sisters and I still own the original homestead to this day. We are very proud of that, and have been here a very long time.”

While presently working full-time as a licensed realtor for Century 21 on top of serving as Chairman of Eastern Wyoming College’s Board of Trustees, Van Mark’s typical day involves staying constantly busy and productive not for her own interest, but specifically for the sake of others. 

After all Van Mark sees her real-estate ventures as not just part of her livelihood, but an assuring way for fellow community members to have nothing but top-notch affordable housing. Additionally, her position as head of the local college board requires significant dedication, focus, compromise, and perhaps most important to see things from the perspective of others.

Simply put, Van Mark oftentimes must listen very closely and carefully to what college faculty, staff, and students are trying to communicate with her both in and out of the mandatory meetings.

Taking these two aspects while adding years of service as Office Policy Chief of Staff for the U.S. Department of Labor during the George W. Bush administration, one could unanimously agree public service and governmental process is something Van Mark knows and knows well.

With this Van Mark has set her sights on running for Wyoming’s District 05 State Representative seat and will be on the ballot for primaries set for August 20.

As Van Mark has already begun reaching out to voters while campaigning, the Torrington resident feels the responsibilities of the job as well as the wellbeing and voice of all potential constituents are right up her alley. As the spirited candidate elaborated, every voice is important and should be heard equally at the capitol in Cheyenne.

Van Mark reflected vehemently to the Telegram recently on sacred Wyoming values and lessons instilled in her long ago by her parents. These very principles she feels make her right for the job and for the people of Goshen County.

“We have been involved in Wyoming politics as a family for a long time,” Van Mark continued. “Mainly my parents believed it is our duty to get involved. If you are going to be a citizen in the country or Wyoming, you need to be involved. They instilled in my sisters and me a deep love for Wyoming and American history. Being involved and making sure our government is run well is what makes us different. We can be involved. I love the constitution because it says everyone can be involved. Everyone has to come together, everyone has a say and we all get to open up and compromise.”

According to Van Mark, the word compromise in and of itself has become something too many officials have drawn away from in modern politics. As the district candidate sees it, cooperation and the ability to listen and see things from all constituent perspectives is truly what brings long-term economic and social prosperity to small communities such as those in Goshen County.

“Compromise is not a bad word,” Van Mark continued.  “If you are getting everything you want, I’ll be mad. If I am getting everything I want, you will be mad. Compromise just means we have to say, ‘I didn’t look at it from that perspective. I understand now where you are coming from.’ Where can we find some middle ground where we can at least all have something we want?”

“I also think it’s important for Cheyenne to be civil. If you watched the last session, it was not respectful at all. It wasn’t. To see both adult men and women treating each other and other elected officials in such ways was inconceivable. How they treated our governor, our treasurer, the secretary of state, and school superintendents were all incredibly disrespectful. It’s all performance art. It’s inappropriate and we all know it’s inappropriate. Civility is a huge issue down there and I have a knack in being able to meet and work with people. Otherwise, it does an enormous disservice to the voters of Goshen when we behave in such a way. If I get elected to something whether it’s the college board or city council, I don’t just represent the people who voted for me. I represent everyone in the county. With this, I have an even bigger job to do.”

Additionally, Van Mark further self-advocated being a loyal and devoted member of the republican party and believes firmly still the sacred adage of limited government involvement with citizens has and always will be a strong Wyoming value.

Furthermore, the house candidate also discussed the immense cruciality of the local agricultural industry. As Van Mark passionately put it, the industry should continue to be strongly protected and supported going forward.

“I’m a republican because I believe government is best when it governs least,” Van Mark said. “I believe ingenuity and creativity is what made our county, and in my mind the state of Wyoming. This is the least populated state in the country, and at one time we were financially and energy-wise one of the most powerful countries because of our coal. We still have all this fantastic stuff. And here’s another thing about Wyoming: We do have clean coal. When we face challenges, Wyoming people stand up and say, ‘I have an idea. Let’s figure it out.’ They don’t shy away from it, and this is a big part of my and our heritage. My entire family has been republicans and we believe in lower taxes, less government involvement, and being strong nationally which means we have to take care of the weak and vulnerable. Being from a gas state means we take care of our own. I have seen voters who tell us we are certainly not taking care of our own, but we somehow expect the churches to do that. We are hypocrites to say only the church will do that. Well, what are we doing then to show the love of Jesus? As the government, we need to be doing things the people can’t.”

“Goshen County are agricultural communities 100% percent, and we are the largest ag-producing county in the entire state,” Van Mark continued. “Most counties rely on oil, gas, and coal while we rely on agriculture. I don’t think Cheyenne sees that or is listening to us when we say, ‘Hey we farmers and ranchers settled the state, and we need to get going.’ Goshen farmers and ranchers are not stupid. When we talk about legacy industries, we have to talk about agriculture. Without agriculture our bucking horse is meaningless. If we don’t have ranching, our bucking horse means nothing. If we don’t have oil and gas, we don’t have anything. We have nothing if we don’t have our farmers and ranchers here. It is the little guys who make this country run, and we are the foundation. It is our small ranches and small farms which keep Wyoming afloat. That’s why it is so important for the people of Goshen County to have their voice in Cheyenne. And I plan to see Goshen County’s voice is loud.”

Shortly before getting into her car to go about daily responsibilities in both real estate and serving on the college Board of Trustees, Van Mark memorably noted one approach modern politicians have seemingly adopted.

According to Torrington’s longtime devoted Republican, this particular approach does nothing for normal everyday people. Furthermore, it only continues to do long-term damage when it comes to the trust and respect voters have for their own government and elected officials.

“Fear is a liar,” Van Mark stated. “Fear itself is a liar, and people can hold themselves back by fear. Fear is a liar. We are all just normal people. That’s the biggest challenge. We want to work together and we can start by acknowledging certain issues don’t even need to be tackled anymore. We should be creating a path of opportunity. We are seeing where we want all Wyoming kids to be, so let’s start doing some great things for them.”