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Politics & Government

The Wagon Wheel Project

A late-1960s Atomic Energy Commission plan to extract Wyoming natural gas with five underground nuclear explosions won strong initial support from the oil and gas industry and the federal government. Finally, however, the idea stalled, thanks to the emergence of more information on possible dangers, to Washington politics, and especially to intense local opposition in Sublette County, Wyo., where the devices were slated to be detonated.

The Ambition of Nellie Tayloe Ross

Nellie Tayloe Ross, a Democrat, was elected governor of Wyoming a month after her governor husband, William Ross, died of appendicitis in the fall of 1924. She ran because of respect for her husband’s Progressive ideas and also as a result of her own ambition. She lost her bid for re-election in 1926, but went on to figure prominently in the leadership of the national Democratic Party. President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed her to direct the U.S. Mint after he took office in 1933, a job she held for 20 years. She died in Washington in 1977, at the age of 101.

Right Choice, Wrong Reasons: Wyoming Women Win the Right to Vote

In the fall of 1869, lawmakers in Wyoming’s first territorial legislature passed a bill allowing women the right to vote. The governor signed the bill into law Dec. 10, 1869, making the territory the first government in the world to grant full voting rights to women. The lawmakers mixed partisan politics, racial fears and an eye for national publicity in with a desire among some, at least, to do the right thing.

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Encyclopedia | A sudden, hot wind one August afternoon in 1937 blew a small fire into an inferno that rushed for ridgetops above Blackwater Creek, in the Shoshone National Forest west of Cody, Wyo. Fifteen firefighters died; 38 more were burned in the fourth deadliest wildfire in the nation’s history.
Encyclopedia | Begun as a jobs program in the Great Depression, the Civilian Conservation Corps—“Roosevelt’s Tree Army”— employed more than 1,000 men in Wyoming building roads, improving parks, fighting fires and boosting local economies. The CCC legacy includes the classic, rustic stone-and-log buildings at Guernsey State Park.
Encyclopedia | 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.
Encyclopedia | In December 1892, newly elected Gov. John E. Osborne, a Democrat, took office a month early in a storm of controversy. State politics were still reeling from the Johnson County War and the 1893 Legislature, in an uproar, failed to elect a U.S. senator.
Encyclopedia | Tracy McCraken borrowed $3,000 in 1926 to purchase the Cheyenne-based Wyoming Eagle. With a media empire that came to include newspapers in Cheyenne, Laramie, Rawlins, Rock Springs and Worland, plus TV and radio, he played a big role in 20th century Wyoming politics—and prospered.
Encyclopedia | Natrona County High School graduate, Yale dropout, University of Wyoming graduate, U.S. Congressman and Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney became the second most powerful man in the world when he became vice president of the United States in 2001. 
Encyclopedia | Passed in 1934, the Taylor Grazing Act of 1934 regulated the public range around a system of grazing leases after 50 years of dispute over what to do with public lands in Wyoming and the West. The Bureau of Land Management manages most of the state’s federal lands today.  
Encyclopedia | Laramie lawyer M.C. Brown tried thousands of cases during his legal career. President William McKinley’s appointment of Brown to a federal judgeship in Alaska in 1900, however, proved disastrous for the attorney, who returned to Wyoming where he continued to practice law, but on a much smaller scale. 

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