Cheyenne schoolteacher Harriett Elizabeth “Liz” Byrd, Wyoming’s first black woman legislator, served in the Wyoming House and Senate from 1981-92. She concentrated on social justice issues, and nine times sponsored a bill to make Martin Luther King day a state holiday before it was finally adopted in 1990.
Politics & Government
Browse Articles about Politics & Government
|Ellis, Frank “Pinky” on the sheep business, small-town politics and family life||Casper College Western History Center|
|Emerson, Frank||Wyoming State Archives|
|Empire, Wyoming, African-American community of||Robert Galbreath|
|Flaming Gorge Dam and Reservoir||Annette Hein|
|Flu epidemic, 1918, Wyoming||Phil Roberts|
|Fort Bridger treaties of 1863 and 1868||WyoHistory.org|
|Gage, Jack||Wyoming State Archives|
|Geringer, Jim||Wyoming State Archives|
|Glendo Dam, History of||The National Park Service|
|Graf, Louise Spinner, 1950 jury foreman||Rebecca Hein|
Politics & Government
In 1913, members of the Wyoming House of Representatives—almost equally split between Democrats and Republicans—came to blows during a 45-minute fracas on the House floor over who should serve as speaker.
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.
John Campbell took office as the first governor of Wyoming Territory in 1869. A Republican appointed by President U.S. Grant, Campbell found the job plagued by partisan conflict with Democrats, an overbearing Union Pacific Railroad and by factionalism within his own party—but he left sturdy political structures behind him.
In January 1949, a massive blizzard rocketed through central and southeastern Wyoming and nearby states killing 76 people and tens of thousands of animals and leaving memories in its wake that are still vivid more than 65 years later.
1970s amendments to the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920 boosted the share of federal mineral royalties flowing to Wyoming and other oil-rich states while preserving the original act’s aim to balance production incentives with conservation—thanks in part to some shrewd maneuvering by Wyoming’s congressman, Teno Roncalio.
Shoshone Cavern National Monument near Cody was established in 1909 but delisted after 53 years, turned over to the City of Cody and renamed Spirit Mountain Caverns. Maintaining the site proved too difficult for local concessionaires, however. In 1977, the spot was returned to federal ownership and is now managed by the BLM.
In March 1965, clergyman James Reeb, a graduate of Natrona County High School and Casper College, marched in Selma, Ala., with the Rev. Martin Luther King to protect black voting rights. Reeb was murdered soon afterward. Publicity surrounding his death helped move Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act later that year.