Representative Sue Wallis, from Recluse, Wyoming, has died. The cause is still unknown. She was 56 years old.
A republican, Wallis was a fiscal conservative who fought for small government and opposed government intrusion into people’s lives. She argued against restrictions to abortion services and was an advocate for equal rights for same-sex couples. She was also a vocal proponent for horse slaughter facilities and planned to introduce legislation in the upcoming session to legalize medicinal marijuana use. Last year, Wallis proposed a bill called the Food Freedom Act to deregulate the sale of homemade foods at farmers markets.
Wallis and Democratic Representative Mary Throne came into the legislature together. Throne says she and Wallis did not always agree on issues, but she always respected her dedication.
“She doesn’t fit into a nice neat category,” says Throne. “She had strong opinions and she was consistent in her views about limited government and she worked hard on her Food Freedom Act, something that some of us were skeptical of. But she never wavered in her commitment to the issues that she cared about.”
Throne says this is a sad day for the state and the legislature.
“She was such an incredible champion for women and for equality and, you know, she was not afraid to say what she thought. And she always did it with a smile and an incredible story to tell,” says Throne.
Governor Matt Mead, in a statement, said “Wyoming lost a great voice today. Representative Wallis was a poet and her eloquence was on display whether she was writing or debating on the floor of the House or in my office. The strength of her conviction was clear as was her commitment to the West and our way of life.”
Wallis was preceded in death by her husband, Rod McQueary, in 2012.
The Campbell County Commissioners will appoint a representative to fill her seat for the upcoming February session.