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Governor Gordon proposes his recommendations for using $500 million American Rescue Plan funds

Image of Gov. Mark Gordon with water, valley landscape in background. Below banner reads Wyoming's strategy to survive, drive and thrive.

A virtual town hall was held last Friday, to update the public on the final recommendations that Governor Mark Gordon is proposing for allocating the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the federal government has put in place a number of COVID-19 relief bills. One of those is ARPA. The state is required to spend the $500 million it received within five years.

Renny MacKay, the governor's policy director, emphasized that the goal is to pursue solutions to help the state in the short and long term.

"We've been focused on developing what is needed to immediately help us survive the pandemic," said MacKay. "And the economic impacts that have gone along with the pandemic. And then also looking to that future with a drive and to thrive. So that's the overarching strategy."

Members of Governor Gordon's cabinet presented their recommendations for how to help the health, workforce services, and family services departments in the state.

Many participants voiced a need to improve connectivity with better broadband and then using that for services like telepsychiatry. Department of Health Director Stefan Johansson said it's a serious need.

"We can deliver better psychiatric services evaluation and treatment through telepsychiatry," Stefan Johansson, the interim director at the Wyoming Department of Health. "So there's a proposal for that, which really overlaps with how connectivity and broadband are so important to a lot of these areas."

The public has till Jan. 14 to comment. Those suggestions will then be brought to the legislature.

In addition to reporting daily on the happenings in Northwest Wyoming, Kamila is also the producer of the Kids Ask WhY Podcast and the History Unloaded Podcast.Kamila has worked for public radio stations in California, New York, France and Poland. Originally from New York City, she loves exploring new places. Kamila received her master in journalism from Columbia University. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring the surrounding areas with her two pups and husband.
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