Governor Gordon was the keynote speaker on Wednesday at the connect2women conference in Casper.

Did Gordon feel a little awkward being the only man at this thing?

"I'll tell you, I don't" he said.

Gordon knows a thing or two about women and mental health.

"I can tell you from my time in classrooms that the mothers of this state--the women of this state--are the best and most remarkable resource that Wyoming has for the best and most remarkable future that we can have, which is our kids."

"My introduction to mental health really came when my first wife, who was a remarkable,6'1" tall red-head that was vibrant, mother of two daughters, just an incredible woman, was out running one day and a young man who was on his way to work a little bit late and was distracted hit her, and she passed."

Gordon was left with a four year old and two year old daughter.

"If any of you have gone trhough this you know that the entire community comes, and sometimes its a little bit overwhelming, but our community--especially in Wyoming--our community's response is such that we care for one another. We care deeply for one another."

The tragedy and trauma of that experience was extraordinary.

Both he and his first wife, Sally, had been so excited to take their daughter to Kindergarten. It was going to be a very special moment to celebrate education and how important it is.

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Gordon said all the writing he could read on young girls and fathers indicated that men were incompetent and could not deal with circumstances like his.

" I was not going to let that happen," said Gordon,  "which is why I reached out immediately to get the help that was necessary for me and my daughters, and luckily I was a rancher, so I spent a tremendous amount of time in the classroom...coached girls in soccer--all that stuff--so, I do not feel awkward being in a room filled with women."

He went on to say that oftentimes talking with mothers about issues at hand is a lot more rewarding to him than talking about football or anything else.

"Wyoming is noted for being the Equality State, and I will be the first to say we need to do more to make sure we really talk about equality, but its not going to come from government. It comes from respect and it comes from the community, it comes from the process of dealing with it. That's what's great about connect2women."

He transitioned to mental health and emphasized that everyday we have to put one foot in front of the other. "The statistics are scary. We have the first or second highest suicide rate. Most of that happens to our kids and in our veteran population."

Gordon said that from a state standpoint, the government has focused its concentration on local mental health structure with the passing of Bill HB38 to make sure that people that come out of Title 25 have the appropriate infrastructure in place to help them reintegrate back into the community.

"These issues are not deep. They are close to the surface in so many people. Yet we don't have a society that says 'lets talk about it'."

Gordon referenced Pinedale's 'Lets Cowboy Up and Talk About It' exemplary approach. "The people in Wyoming care about each other, we are friends, we are family."

He ended the speech by saying,

"I can tell you from my time in classrooms that the mothers of this state--the women of this state--are the best and most remarkable resource that Wyoming has for the best and most remarkable future that we can have, which is our kids."

The event filled the entire conference room at the Ramkota in town. Several nonprofit organizations showed up with tables and great giveaways, and it was really an amazing thing to be a woman there seeing other women lift each other up, inspire, and network.

connect2women Conference in Casper

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