Fewer Women Will Serve In Wyoming Legislature

Nov 10, 2016

Credit Wyoming State Legislature

There will be fewer women serving in Wyoming's legislature after Tuesday's election. A large number of women ran for seats in the state house and senate, 37 total. But only 10 won their races.

Currently, Wyoming has the lowest representation of women in its legislature in the country, with just 12 women currently in office.

Cathy Connolly, the House District 13 representative, said she is at a loss for why the state ended up losing female representatives.

“You know to tell you the truth I don’t know the reason. I don’t think any of us can give you the reason for why those numbers are so low, but they’re honestly devastating,” said Connolly.

Connolly points to Rosie Berger, who was widely expected to become the next Speaker of the House, and Mary Throne, the House Minority Floor Leader, as examples of how leadership has been shaken up. Berger lost her seat in this year’s primary, and Throne was defeated in the General Election. There will be no Republican women in leadership roles or serving as committee chairs this year.

Connolly said losing female legislators, and especially women in leadership, reflects poorly on Wyoming.

“We’re talking about having 10 out of 90 legislators being women in the state of Wyoming,” she said. “Nowhere near our percentage of the population, and nowhere near our moniker as the Equality State.”

Several woman legislators retired this year, two incumbent women lost their seats, five were reelected, and five women were elected for the first time. Although the total number of women in the Legislature is down, the Senate will have more women than before—a total of three.