March, rally recognize 150 years of suffrage in Wyoming

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By Robert Geha, Cowboy State Daily

Several of the participants in a march Tuesday to commemorate the anniversary of women’s suffrage in Wyoming said the event helped draw attention to instances of inequality that still need to be addressed.

On Dec. 10, 1869, territorial Gov. John Campbell signed the legislation giving Wyoming women the right to vote and hold elected office. Suffrage in Wyoming came 50 years before Congress approved legislation giving women across the country the right to vote.

“And unfortunately, Washington doesn’t know that,” said Gov. Mark Gordon, who participated in the march to the Capitol. “So we need to make sure they understand. We were the first.”

Despite Wyoming leading the nation in the area of suffrage, the state still needs to address areas of inequality, said Britney Wallesch, executive director of Black Dog Animal Rescue and a participant in the march.

“The wage gap is certainly a problem, as we know, in this state,” she said. “Lack of female representation in our elected offices is still a problem. But I think that this march and this day and this year of celebration is a bit of encouragement that things will begin to change.”

Former state Sen. E. Jayne Mockler agreed more work needs to be done.

“We do have a long way to go,” she said. “We have a lot of inequality in a lot of areas in this country and that’s what this is about, is recognizing that it’s important to get out there and finish the work.”

The secret to resolving some of the issues still facing society is to get more women elected to office, said Rep. Cathy Connolly, D-Laramie.

State Auditor Kristi Racines said the state could benefit by having more women in elected office.

“The more points of view we have, the better decisions we make, the better debate we have,” she said. “So I think that’s really important that we continue working toward that.”

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