Cheyenne Newcomer Runs For State House, Says Legislature Needs More Young People

A Wyoming native who’s lived in Cheyenne for about a year has announced he is running for the state House. The 31-year-old, who moved to Cheyenne from Sheridan, says the Wyoming Legislature needs more young people.

Leo Wolfson

April 15, 20245 min read

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Although Seth Ulvestad only moved to Cheyenne a little more than a year ago, he believes he’s ready to represent the capital city in the Wyoming Legislature.

“I always stay very engaged in whatever community I’m living in and always follow the Wyoming state Legislature — how they function, the issues that they’re taking up,” he said. “I believe I can be beneficial to this district.”

Ulvestad is running as a Republican for House District 11, a seat now held by state Rep. Jared Olsen, R-Cheyenne, who recently announced he won’t seek reelection to pursue a run for the state Senate this fall. The district encompasses downtown and central Cheyenne.

Since moving to Cheyenne from Sheridan in March 2023, Ulvestad stressed that he has no plans of leaving and has fully immersed himself into the community, already serving on multiple local boards.

He’s also a policy and planning analyst for the Wyoming Department of Enterprise Technology Services.

If elected, Ulvestad, 31, would become one of the younger members of the Legislature. He believes input from millennials is a voice sorely missing at the Legislature, where the average age of lawmakers entering the 2023 session was about 54. The Cheyenne delegation, however, is a bit younger.

“Our generation faces different obstacles and challenges than other generations,” Ulvestad said. “We have a deep understanding for how technology is affecting our everyday lives.”

Not A Novice

Although Ulvestad may seem relatively green on the surface and hasn’t been in Cheyenne long, he has a legitimate amount of experience under his belt.

“I believe I bring a great skill set for the Legislature,” he said.

A Sheridan native, Ulvestad is the former executive director of the Sheridan Recreation District, a role he served in from 2018-2023.

Additionally, while in high school, Ulvestad served as an intern at the Legislature during the 2010 budget session for the Sheridan delegation.

It was this experience, Ulvestad said, that made him deeply interested in the body, giving him a desire to either work for the state or run for the Legislature someday. Now, he’ll have the opportunity to check the second goal off his list.


Rep. Dan Zwonitzer, R-Cheyenne, is the treasurer of Ulvestad’s campaign committee. Ulvestad’s campaign chairman is Rod Miller, a freelance columnist for Cowboy State Daily.

“I think more than ever it’s more important to get more young people representing in Wyoming politics,” Zwonitzer said.

Zwonitzer, the second-longest serving member of the House, entered the Legislature at age 25. He was in the Legislature when Ulvestad interned and took notice of his work ethic and passion.

Zwonitzer said Ulvestad has a younger perspective than the average member of the Legislature, but still holds institutional knowledge about important historic issues like the Campbell County School District lawsuits and what they mean for the state.

When Olsen announced he was running for the Senate, Zwonitzer said he encouraged Ulvestad to run.

“I told him these things don’t come around that often,” Zwonitzer said.

Ulvestad’s time working for the state, with the Sheridan Recreation District and interning at the Legislature, has led him to spend countless hours in committee meetings and floor discussions. In short, he understands how the sausage is made in politics, Zwonitzer said.

“He’s someone who understands how politics works and understands the lay of the land with his district,” he said.


Ulvestad said his views align with the Wyoming Caucus, a group of Republican lawmakers organized to counter the efforts of the farther right Wyoming House Freedom Caucus. He did not say whether he’ll plan to actively seek the group’s endorsement.

Ulvestad said he wants to continue supporting K-12 education in Wyoming so that the same performance standards are met in the future as are required now.

He also wants to cut government regulation so businesses of all sizes can succeed in Wyoming, and continue to provide more tax relief on top of the progress already made during the recent legislative session.

Economic diversification, Ulvestad believes, will be critical to Wyoming’s future.

Working in technology has also given him experience with artificial intelligence, a field he believes the Legislature could address.

“There may be some policy we can bring to help with protecting citizens’ data and private data,” he said.

If elected, Ulvestad said he won’t step down from his ETS role, but will disengage all outreach and lobbying efforts he now performs at the Legislature for that job. This would include forgoing serving on committees like the House Appropriations Committee, which determines the agency’s biennial budget.

Any Opponents?

No opponents have officially announced to run against Ulvestad yet.

Former Democratic state legislator Sara Burlingame confirmed to Cowboy State Daily she’s considering a run for HD 11.

Burlingame, the executive director of LGBTQ advocacy group Wyoming Equality, served one term in the Legislature as a representative for House District 44 in south Cheyenne from 2019-2021. She recently moved to HD 11.

Olsen had competitive general election races against Democrats every year he ran for office since he was first elected in 2016. Prior to that election, Democrat Mary Throne held the seat.

Leo Wolfson can be reached at

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Leo Wolfson

Politics and Government Reporter