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People & Peoples

Verda James, First Full-term Woman Speaker of Wyoming's House of Representatives

Verda James, a schoolteacher, deputy director of public instruction for the state of Wyoming, assistant superintendent of the Natrona County schools, and later a faculty member at Casper College, was first elected to the Wyoming House in 1954. She served eight terms. During the last term, 1969-1970, she was elected House speaker, the first woman to serve in that position for a full term.

Robert Roripaugh, Wyoming Poet Laureate 1995-2002

The clear, quiet poetry and fiction of Robert Roripaugh, poet laureate of Wyoming from 1995 through 2002, has long been informed by his youth on his family’s ranch near Lander. In the early 1950s, Roripaugh won bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of the Wyoming before spending two years with the U.S. Army in Japan, where he met and married his wife, Yoshiko. In 1958, the Atlantic Monthly published a short story, and Roripaugh has been publishing and winning prizes on a national level ever since. Also that year he began teaching in the English department at the University of Wyoming, rising to the rank of full professor before retiring in 1993.

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Encyclopedia | Milward Simpson also served on the University of Wyoming Board of Trustees from 1939 until 1954 when he was elected Governor.
Encyclopedia | After years of political activity and serving on many commissions, Clifford P. Hansen was elected Governor in 1963. Governor Hansen was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1967.
Encyclopedia | Leslie Miller was elected Governor in 1932 to serve the last two years of Governor Emerson's unexpired term. Reelected in 1935, Governor Miller served until 1939.
Encyclopedia | President Arthur appointed William Hale Governor of Wyoming Territory July 18, 1882. Governor Hale took the oath of office August 3, 1882 and served until his death at Cheyenne, Wyoming, January 13, 1885.
Encyclopedia | Nellie Tayloe Ross won an election to replace her late husband and became the first woman governor in the United States. Governor Ross survived several challenges to her authority, some of which started with her first days in office.
Encyclopedia | President Grant rewarded the ambitious Joseph M. Carey with the appointment of U.S. District Attorney for Wyoming. He served as the U.S. Associate Justice to the Supreme Court of Wyoming, delegate to Congress for the Wyoming Territory, the first U.S. Senator from Wyoming on November 12, 1890 and was elected Governor for the 1911-1915 term.
Encyclopedia | John B. Kendrick rose from poverty to great wealth and later to the pinnacle of political power. He arrived in Wyoming Territory in 1879 with a Texas trail herd, and by the early years of the 20th century was running his own ranches and a local bank. A Democrat, he was elected governor in 1914, and later served three terms in the U.S. Senate. There he worked tirelessly on irrigation, land use, and protection of natural resources. With humor, charm, broad intelligence and a willingness to work with political opponents, he became a model for long-term success as a Democrat in a Republican state.
Encyclopedia | Jack Gage was serving as Secretary of State when Governor Hickey resigned to enter the U.S. Senate. Gage became acting Governor January 2, 1961 and served for the duration of Hickey's term.

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