By U.S. Sen.Cynthia Lummis, guest columnist
Those of us lucky enough to call Wyoming home know of our state’s rich history of pioneering women and female firsts. Be it Louisa Swain casting that historic first vote in Laramie, Esther Hobart Morris being sworn in as the first female Justice of the Peace in South Pass City, or Nellie Tayloe Ross becoming the first woman in the United States to serve as a Governor, Wyoming has a rich history of smart, courageous and capable women leading the way.
It should come as no surprise then that there are three exceptional women at the top of Wyoming ballots this year. Homegrown Wyoming leaders who have dedicated their lives to making the Cowboy State the best place to live, work and raise a family: Harriet Hageman, who is running for the U.S. House of Representatives; Tara Nethercott, who is running for Secretary of State; and Megan Degenfelder who is running for Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Each one is distinguished in their own right, but these leaders share a common thread. They were raised in Wyoming, educated in Wyoming schools, built businesses in Wyoming, volunteered in Wyoming and contributed greatly to Wyoming communities. They have chosen to make Wyoming and its people their priority throughout their entire lives. It is this commitment, and their proven records to back it up, that makes all three of these candidates worthy of consideration by the people of Wyoming.
Having grown up on a ranch outside Fort Laramie, Harriet has a deep understanding of Wyoming’s lands, natural resources and people. As an attorney and two-time graduate of the University of Wyoming, she’s spent her entire career fighting government overreach and working to ensure Wyoming maintained primacy over our land, water and energy resources. She’s not just a conservative, she’s a Wyoming conservative who knows how to do battle with Washington, DC – and win.
Tara Nethercott is another proud daughter of Wyoming, born here, raised in Fremont County and having also earned her bachelor’s degree and law degree from the University of Wyoming. She’s an attorney and small business owner who was first elected to the Wyoming Senate in 2016 and served as the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman and a member of the Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee. A longtime champion of Wyoming businesses, Tara has been named legislator of the year by the Wyoming Business Alliance and person of the year by the by the Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce. Her conservative background, experience with election law, and history of advocating for Wyoming businesses and jobs make her an ideal candidate to serve as Wyoming’s Secretary of State.
It seems all too fitting for the person in charge of Wyoming’s school system to be a product of it. Megan Degenfelder attended Wyoming schools K-12 before going onto the University of Wyoming where she served as student body president. She has extensive experience in the private sector championing Wyoming coal, oil and natural gas and served as the Chief Policy Officer at the Wyoming Department of Education. A lifelong volunteer who has worked with organizations from Wyoming Agriculture in the Classroom to the Wyoming Taxpayer’s Association to local republican parties across the state, Megan has a deep-rooted understanding of our state, schools, businesses and families.
People across Wyoming often ask me what I look for in a candidate when I am voting. I always say the same thing, I look for candidates with experience working on the most important issues facing our state and I look for candidates who have shown their love and loyalty to Wyoming time and time again. Harriet Hageman, Tara Nethercott and Megan Degenfelder are three such candidates.
Cynthia Lummis is the Junior U.S. Senator from Wyoming.