Pro-Life Wyoming Legislator Rachel Rodriguez-Williams Has Challenger

Wyoming’s most vocal pro-life state legislator state Rep. Rachel Rodriguez-Williams, R-Cody, has a reelection opponent in David Hill, who shares many of her conservative values, but says the incumbent hasn’t been effective enough.

Leo Wolfson

May 03, 20248 min read

State Rep. Rachel Rodriguez-Williams, R-Cody, and challenger David Hill.
State Rep. Rachel Rodriguez-Williams, R-Cody, and challenger David Hill. (Cowboy State Daily Staff)

State Rep. Rachel Rodriguez-Williams, R-Cody, has built a reputation around the state over the last three years as one of the biggest pro-life advocates in the Wyoming Legislature.

Now, she has a Republican primary reelection opponent for House District 50 in Cody attorney David Hill.

Hill said he agrees with most of Rodriguez-Williams’ conservative views, including her stance on abortion. But he wants to run for office because he believes the incumbent has been ineffective in getting legislation passed into law.

“I think that she has really good intentions, but unfortunately I think that she’s trying to legislate good intentions and she hasn’t been effective,” he said. “I think Wyoming and Park County deserve effective solutions, effective representation.”

Hill said the gridlock at the state Capitol in Cheyenne is starting to duplicate the gridlock on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

“We’re paying higher taxes than ever before, abortions are still occurring in record numbers, Wyoming is the top state for suicide deaths,” he said.

During her time in the Legislature, Rodriguez-Williams has had three bills pass into law. Two prohibit most forms of abortion in Wyoming. The constitutionality of these laws is being challenged in court and will not go into effect at least until a decision is rendered on the matter.

“Each session, I have successfully passed pro-life legislation and strongly defended our Second Amendment rights,” Rodriguez-Williams said. “My proven conservative voting record is popular with the people of HD 50 — this is made clear by the fact that my opponent has chosen to mirror my stance on issues because he knows I represent the district well.”

Rodriguez-Williams said Hill is announcing as early as he is to allow local Democrats to switch their party affiliation to vote for him. The deadline to change party affiliation in Wyoming is May 15.

“Just like Liz Cheney asked for Democrat votes in the 2022 Republican Primary,” she said.

But it was Rodriguez-Williams who announced her reelection campaign first, Hill pointed out.

“I’m confused if it’s just the entrenched establishment that is allowed to declare their candidacy before the filing period,” he said.

Who’s Hill?

Although he said he hopes their two campaigns focus on making Park County and Wyoming better, Hill said the voters “will see that I am the true conservative candidate.”

Hill has spent most of his adult life in Wyoming. He moved to the Cowboy State from Utah in 2015 after spending most of his childhood bouncing around from state to state due to his father working in retail management.

After receiving an MBA and law degree from the University of Wyoming, he moved to Worland to work as a judicial law clerk and judicial extern with the 5th Judicial District Court. After that, he moved to Cody in 2021 to work at Burg Simpson law firm, where he’s currently employed.

Hill also assists with Title 25 cases in Park County, which are involuntary mental health hospitalizations. He also runs a drug treatment court program.

Hill is also pro-life on abortion and said his conservative values “respect the dignity of every individual.” He doesn’t believe Wyoming is meeting its obligations when it comes to addressing the underlying causes of mental health problems.

"With Wyoming's alarming suicide rates and mental health challenges, exacerbated by the COVID hysteria, it's clear that our battle to protect life extends far beyond birth,” he said in a Thursday press release.

One of Hill’s biggest priorities is improving access to mental health services, particularly for children, seniors and veterans. It’s an issue that hits home for Hill as he had a friend whose son died by suicide last year, which he said was caused by mental health issues, bullying and social media.

“Social media and mental health is a huge concern for kids and we need to be able to find a way to solve that problem,” he said.

Although Wyoming’s suicide rate has shown modest improvements in recent years, Hill said much more needs to be done to address this problem. He supports an approach that blends solutions from the public and private sectors.

“The Legislature can only do one thing and that’s legislate,” he said. “The Legislature cannot force religious solutions or private solutions.”

He’s also very concerned about property taxes, which he considers one of the biggest issues facing residents in Park County, where property taxes have skyrocketed since the COVID-19 pandemic due to an influx of transplants moving to the area. Hill believes a lack of affordable housing has exacerbated the problem, which he also hopes to address if elected into office.

He’s also looking forward to a constitutional amendment that will be going before the voters this fall that would create a separate class of taxation for residential property if passed, as he believes this will provide a key to unlocking many of Wyoming’s long term tax structure issues.

“I think it would be good to take a look at some of those solutions that might be made available to us,” he said.

Who’s Rodriguez-Williams?

Rodriguez-Williams is running for a third term in office after first being elected in 2020.

In 2022 and 2023 she sponsored bills passed into law banning most forms of abortion in Wyoming. Both laws were challenged almost immediately in court and have never been allowed to go into effect.

“I'm proud to have been a defender of innocent life, a top priority for the people of HD 50,” she said.

Rodriguez-Williams has an extremely strict pro-life view, introducing her original 2023 and 2022 abortion ban bills without any exceptions for pregnancies caused by rape or incest.

During the 2024 session, she also passed into law legislation that extends the age a child can be relinquished to a safe haven provider from 14 to 60 days old.

On mental health, Rodriguez-Williams, a former community prevention professional, said she wants to continue to saturate Wyoming’s communities with a wide variety of opportunities to address mental health, and said the state is blessed to have a “plethora” of state-funded mental health options.

However, she voted against a bill that would have established money for a trust fund to support the state’s two suicide call centers.

“I believe that the Wyoming State Legislature needs to seem more short- and long-term outcome data from the Wyoming Department of Health to see the level of effectiveness of current prevention efforts,” she said.

Rodriguez-Williams said she wants to continue to advocate for “real” property tax reform and relief. During the 2024 session, she and many members of the farther right Wyoming Freedom Caucus (WYFC) spoke against some of the property tax bills as not providing enough relief for homeowners.

“The excess property taxes collected from 2020 to 2023 should be returned to the taxpayers,” she said.

She still voted to support all the property tax bills that passed into law. One property tax bill the Legislature passed, but was vetoed by the governor, was Senate File 54, legislation that would have reduced property taxes by 25% on home valued $2 million or less.

Picking Sides

Rodriguez-Williams is one of the leading members of the Freedom Caucus, a group of around 26 legislators often reticent to making compromises with other lawmakers. She believes the group has momentum headed into the 2024 election season. She mentioned how the Wyoming Republican Party censured Gov. Mark Gordon in April for the vetoes he made from the 2024 legislative session.

“The WYFC has the momentum, the grassroots are engaged and vocal,” she said.

The resolution to censure originated from the Park County Republican Party, of which Hill is a precinct committee member. He voted against the Gordon censure while Rodriguez-Williams, also a precinct committee member, voted for it.

“He's just not where the people are at,” Rodriguez-Williams said of Hill’s vote.

Hill said he supported the sentiment of the censure but objected to the way it was written, which he saw as hypocritical.

“I certainly feel that the governor went against the will of the citizens, but censures must be done in a better way,” he said.

The Freedom Caucus would likely have to gain about 6-10 more seats to gain a definitive majority among Republicans in the House.

Hill said he has no plans to seek an endorsement from either group and has been frustrated by the level of Republican infighting he’s seen in the Legislature, describing the 2024 session as “an example on how not to govern.” He believes he can help heal the divide and sees himself as a “real conservative problem solver.”

“I think we have a lot of people who legislate but not a lot of people who solve problems, and that’s what I want to do,” he said.

The District

HD 50 makes up a massive swath of land stretching from Park County’s eastern to northwestern borders, as well as covering east Cody and south Powell.

Rodriguez-Williams has never faced a Republican primary opponent but handily beat a third-party candidate in each of her general election wins.

Prior to Rodriguez-Williams, current Rep. David Northrup, R-Powell, represented the district from 2013-2020.

Leo Wolfson can be reached at

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Leo Wolfson

Politics and Government Reporter