Celebrating Wyoming Suffrage And Beyond

Wyoming Public Media honors the 150th anniversary women's right to vote. In 1869, legislation granting women the right to vote and hold office was passed. In 2020, we commemorate the first vote cast by a Wyoming woman. She cast her vote in the small town of Laramie, 50 years before women could vote in the rest of the nation. Women shaped the West in the days of the great westward migrations. In Wyoming they broke the glass ceiling and established parity in our nation's voting laws. Since then, Wyoming's women have continued to blaze the way. This page captures some of their achievements.

Enter The Wyoming Women's Suffrage Limerick Contest

Sep 5, 2019

Help celebrate one hundred and fifty years of women's suffrage in Wyoming-by writing a limerick!

Photo provided by Meaghan Todd

 

Around three-quarters of Americans say they are dissatisfied with the state of politics in the country. That's according to an Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll conducted just before the 2018 mid-term election.

Archives On The Air 163: Wyoming Defends Women's Suffrage—Morton E. Post Family Papers

Jun 17, 2019

2020 marks one hundred years since the nineteenth amendment allowed women to vote in the U.S. But Wyoming women have had the right to vote for 50 years longer than the rest of the country.

ThinkWY

The Wyoming Humanities Council is releasing a new podcast that celebrates the 150-year anniversary of women's suffrage in the state. Wyoming was the first state to give women the right to vote in 1869, and it was on September 6, 1870 that Louisa Swain cast the first ballot by a woman.

Nick Youngson CC BY-SA 3.0 Alpha Stock Images

A much more concerted effort is underway to abolish the death penalty in Wyoming. The League of Women Voters, religious groups, the Wyoming ACLU and Wyoming's chapter of the NAACP have organized a campaign after an effort to abolish capital punishment failed in the State Senate this year after passing the House. Sabrina King of Wyoming's ACLU is leading the nine month campaign to gain support for the effort and she discusses the effort with Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck.

Tennessee Watson / Wyoming Public Radio

Mary Ellbogen Garland is this year's recipient of the "Making Democracy Work" award. The League of Women Voters of Wyoming gives the annual award to recognize contributions to the vitality of the state's communities.

When you talk to Virginia Democrats these days, you hear a lot of words like "disappointing" and "frustrating."

That's because the men at the top of state government — and at the center of these scandals — have been well-liked by a lot of people who worked hard to help elect them.

"It really is kind of a hard thing to reckon with — some of your heroes either causing embarrassment or shame or disappointment or anger," said Alexsis Rodgers, president of Virginia Young Democrats.

Kamila Kudelska

It's a windy and freezing afternoon in Cody. A bunch of women are gathered around a table at the Chamberlin Inn in Cody, chatting about the dynamic of their relationships.

On Monday, Nevada's statehouse begins its legislative session by marking a major milestone. It's the first time in our nation's history that any state legislature holds a majority of female lawmakers. Just like the country, the body is slightly more than half women.

"It's been a long, hard fight. I'm starting to see some of the fruits of not just my labor, but the labor of so many other people whose names I don't know," says Patricia Ann Spearman, a Democrat and Nevada senator who was first elected in 2012.

Bob Beck

This week the legislature's Senate Corporations and Elections Committee entertained a couple of bills that would change how people vote in the primary election. One was a Republican Party driven bill that would keep people from changing parties after a specific date.

It was crafted in response to last year's GOP gubernatorial primary where some think democrats helped determine the outcome by crossing over and voting in the Republican primary. Committee Chairman Bill Landen of Casper was not convinced that something needed to be done.

United States Mint

What do you think of legislative efforts to address the wage gap?

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Erik Hersman

If you're confused about where to vote, or what you need to bring with you to the polls, there's now a 24/7 hotline addressing those concerns. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Wyoming and the Equality State Policy Center established the hotline.

Christine Garcia, a 37-year-old stay-at-home mom, doesn't consider herself a particularly political person. But like a lot of women, she has strong opinions about President Trump.

"Maybe on the business side ... the money is better as far as I understand," Garcia said. "But a lot of the other things are very worrisome," she added with a laugh, as she pushed her daughter on a swing in a park in Birmingham, Mich., an affluent suburb of Detroit.

Garcia considers herself a fiscal conservative but a social liberal.

Editor's note: NPR is examining the role of women in the 2018 midterm elections all week. To follow upcoming coverage and look back at how the role of women in the 2014 midterms was covered, click here.

The 2018 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report commissioned by American Express

Wyoming is ranked 42nd in the nation for growth of women-owned businesses since 2007, with a 22 percent increase in that time. That’s compared to a 58 percent increase of women-owned businesses nationwide. But Wyoming still ranks in the top ten for women’s businesses that employ large numbers of people.

The 2018 midterms could be the year of the woman and possibly the independent as well - especially in Colorado.

In October of 2013, the federal government shut down for 16 days — the third longest shutdown in history. A few women in particular came together to end the gridlock, including Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins and Minnesota Democrat Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

Wyoming Secretary of State's Office

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead, Secretary of State Ed Buchanan, and the Wyoming Department of Transportation will designate a 19 mile stretch of Highway 28 in Fremont County as the "Wyoming Women's Suffrage Pathway."

University of Wyoming

If your name is John, you’re more likely to run a large company or be a politician than if you’re a woman with any name. That’s according to the latest "Glass Ceiling Index" by the New York Times. So does this under-representation hold true in our region’s so-called "Equality State"?

Mary Wilson raised just under $40,000 for her Texas congressional campaign. One of her opponents, Joseph Kopser, raised $774,000, but she came in first in the Democratic primary for the 21st Congressional District near Austin and San Antonio.

Not only did she outdo Kopser, whom she will face in a May runoff, but Wilson also defeated two other men who had much larger campaign war chests than she did.

It just so happens that Wilson did all this in a year when female candidates have energized Democratic voters. So did being a woman help Wilson?

She says yes.

Wyoming State Historical Society

The Wyoming House passed a bill to create a day commemorating Estelle Reel. She was the first woman elected to a statewide office in 1894, as the Superintendent of Public Instruction.  

 

While the majority of lawmakers wanted to recognize Reel’s accomplishment, House Minority Leader Cathy Connolly said Reel’s discriminatory attitude toward Native Americans and women should make them think twice.

 

Connolly said she researched Reel and read multiple articles.

 

It was Saturday afternoon, and Abigail Spanberger was in a busy hallway at the Chesterfield County Public Library in Midlothian, Va., minutes away from training a room of about 40 campaign volunteers. She seemed ready for a quick interview, but then abruptly called out to her campaign manager.

"Hey Dana, Eileen Davis is about to come through. Can you head her off at the pass so she doesn't interrupt the — "

She cut herself off and turned to me.

"That's my mother," Spanberger said, laughing.

Her mom is volunteering for her campaign?

"Evidently."

Maggie Mullen

Women’s March Wyoming organizers are working to ensure safety after a potentially threatening comment was left on a Facebook post about the Cheyenne march. The comment referenced “claymores” and “c4” – types of explosives – saying they would come in handy at a march.

Wyoming House for Historic Women

Wyoming is rapidly approaching its 150th anniversary of granting women the right to vote – the first government in the world to do so unconditionally.

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Wyoming Women Rise

At just 11 percent, Wyoming currently has the lowest percentage of female legislators of any state in the country. Now, one woman is trying to improve that ratio.

Samantha Case is the founder of Wyoming Women Rise, a proposed non-profit that would provide non-partisan campaign training for women.

Currently, the Wyoming Women’s Caucus puts on Leap Into Leadership, which provides workshops that encourage women to take on leadership roles in their communities and consider running for office. But Case said there was still a need for an organization that goes a step further.

Wyoming Legislature

March 8 is International Women’s Day. All over the country women skipped work and participated in marches and rallies to spotlight women’s economic contributions as a part of an action called "A Day Without a Woman."

Wyoming Art Party

All across the country Wednesday, women, including some in Wyoming, went on strike in order to demonstrate their economic power as part of  “A Day Without Women.” The event coincided with International Women’s Day.

Laramie resident Heather Rockwell said she decided to take the day off from her job after she participated in the Women’s March in Cheyenne in January. She said she has never gone on strike before.

“I’m also an hourly worker,” said Rockwell. “So it’s sort of one those situations of if I don’t work, I don’t get paid. And I was willing to accept that.”

Leap Into Leadership

On Monday, women gathered from around the state to attend the tenth annual Leap Into Leadership conference. This year’s conference focused on how to cultivate a more respectful discourse in state politics.

Former U.S. Senator and Bipartisan Policy Center fellow Olympia Snowe was the keynote speaker. She talked about how bipartisanship has never been an easy job, not even when the founding fathers crafted the constitution.

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