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Follow Wyoming Public Radio as we cover the Equality State and U.S. elections online and on-air.

Wyoming Equality Director Wins House Seat

Sara Burlingame

Laramie County Democrat Sara Burlingame clinched a seat in Wyoming House of Representatives, beating out Paul Johnson by 70 votes. Burlingame is the director of Wyoming Equality, a group that advocates for LGBTQ issues. She says it might surprise people that someone like her could win an election in a predominantly Republican district, but she says it helped that she’s very active in the Cheyenne community. She says she thinks her message of political civility also resonated with voters.

“I think a lot of people don’t realize that a civil conversation doesn’t mean you don’t state strongly what you believe,” Burlingame said. “It means you listen to other people and you hold space for each other.”

She said her campaign also worked hard to connect with people door-to-door with a strong message. She’s a big supporter of Governor Matt Mead’s ENDOW initiative to diversify Wyoming’s economy.

“And whether we have the vision and the guts to put it into practice. That means tech investment,” she said. “Not 10 years from now but today. That means we don’t slash another penny from education. And that means a statewide nondiscrimination law that lets people know that we’re open for business.”

Burlingame beat out Paul Johnson for the seat with 51 percent of the vote.

Melodie Edwards is the host and producer of WPM's award-winning podcast The Modern West. Her Ghost Town(ing) series looks at rural despair and resilience through the lens of her hometown of Walden, Colorado. She has been a radio reporter at WPM since 2013, covering topics from wildlife to Native American issues to agriculture.
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