Former Colorado Political Operative Running For Wyoming Legislature

A former Colorado political operative has announced her candidacy for the Wyoming State House in Sheridan, and the seat of one of the most prominent members of the Wyoming Caucus, Cyrus Western.

Leo Wolfson

March 13, 20244 min read

Laurie Bratten
Laurie Bratten (Cowboy State Daily Staff)

Sheridan resident Laurie Bratten wants to bring change to the Wyoming Legislature and has announced her candidacy for House District 51.

“People are tired of the failures of our current Legislature to address the issues that matter to them most,” she says in a press release.

Bratten wouldn’t talk to Cowboy State Daily about her candidacy for this story, but her press release says she has been involved in Wyoming politics for more than 10 years.

However, she didn’t move to Wyoming until 2019, according to Colorado Liberty Scorecard, a Republican political group she had connections to before coming to the Cowboy State.

HD 51 is now held by state Rep. Cyrus Western, R-Ranchester, who is one of the House’s most prominent Wyoming Caucus members.

Western was not complimentary of his challenger, if he runs again.

“Another WINO who’s recently moved to Wyoming that hasn’t collected a Wyoming paycheck and wants to bring D.C. politics with them,” Western said on Tuesday when asked about Bratten running for his seat.


Bratten was very involved in Colorado politics while there, running a Principles of Liberty scorecard based on the principles of individual rights, free markets and limited government. Scorecards like these have become popular within conservative circles and used to judge whether Republicans are adhering to the party platform based on their voting records.

Bratten also worked for Colorado Republican congressman Ken Buck.

These days, she runs an agricultural operation with her husband, Rich, in the Big Goose Valley.

Bratten said she’s had many people encourage her to run for office and looks forward to proving herself along the campaign trail.

“I feel like I’m being called to take on this challenge to truly represent the people of House District 51 in an effective way that they can be proud of, and to do so with integrity,” Bratten says in the press release. “My walk will match my talk and the voters will have a clear choice to make this year.”

The Issues

Bratten said property taxes are one of the biggest issues where the Legislature has fallen flat.

Sheridan County has experienced some of the largest property tax increases in the state in recent years as many people flocked to the area from more expensive locales in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, driving up the competitiveness of the local housing market and causing overall prices to rise.

“While skyrocketing property taxes have been an issue for over four years, very little has been done to actually fix the underlying problems or provide real relief for all property taxpayers,” Bratten says in her press release. “We need a bigger vision and a more collaborative approach to the problems we face.”

Four major property tax bills are now sitting on Gov. Mark Gordon’s desk for consideration. All of these bills provide various forms of short- and long-term exemptions, but do nothing to address Wyoming’s actual taxation structure, which is the source of many of its perceived underlying problems.

Bratten said she would work to build consensus on how to achieve property tax relief.

She also says in the release that she’ll work to defend the state’s energy industries and agriculture, “push back against radical liberal ideology and stand up for parents’ rights in raising their children, work to protect Wyoming against the negative impacts of illegal immigration, create a framework for school choice that is fair and empowers families to pursue educational paths that best suit their needs, and work with health care professionals and law enforcement to address the issue of mental health and its impact on our community.”

Bratten’s social conservative views align with those in the Wyoming Freedom Caucus.

Leo Wolfson can be reached at

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Leo Wolfson

Politics and Government Reporter