Democrat Kathy Karpan traces her love of politics to her youth in working-class Rock Springs, Wyo. She served as Wyoming secretary of state from 1987 through 1994, when she ran unsuccessfully for governor. During the Clinton administration, she directed the Office of Mining and Reclamation Enforcement, and now practices law in Cheyenne.
Wyoming’s mineral taxes make a story of personalities. Democrat Ernest Wilkerson reintroduced mineral severance taxes to Wyoming politics when he ran for governor in 1966. Republican Stan Hathaway defeated Wilkerson, but eventually presided over enactment of a severance tax and a permanent minerals fund, vastly stabilizing Wyoming’s financial future.