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Valley native and conservation biologist Michael Whitfield announced on July 2 that he is running for Teton County commissioner, replacing Dawn Felchle in the race for District 2.

According to his campaign site, Whitfield decided to run in order to “enhance families’ access to basic needs, to continue to conserve our unique valley, and most importantly to be a leader who listens first.”

Whitfield has a long history of volunteerism and nonprofit service. He was integral to the establishment of the Teton Regional Land Trust in 1990 and then spent 17 years as the executive director. He went on to serve a decade as executive director of the Heart of the Rockies Initiative. He has directed studies and published research on bald eagles, bighorn sheep, and other charismatic species of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Through the years he has donated his time to 4-H, ski patrol, Teton Valley Trails and Pathways, and the hospital board, among many other organizations.

As a Driggs area resident, Whitfield will take on incumbent Harley Wilcox for a two-year term in November’s election. Full candidate interviews will be published in the Teton Valley News in September.