April 25th: Rodger McDaniel and Alan Simpson Conversation

  1. Upcoming Talk to Focus on “Courage” in Wyoming. 

Powell, Wyo. – Author Rodger McDaniel and former Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson are scheduled to discuss  the theme of McDaniel’s recent book, Profiles in Courage: Standing Against the Wyoming Wind, at Heart  Mountain Interpretive Center near Powell on April 25 beginning at 12 noon.

Rodger McDaniel has written five books, including two award-winning biographies of Wyoming U.S.  senators Lester Hunt and Gale McGee. McDaniel has a University of Wyoming law degree and a Master of  Divinity Degree with Honors from the Iliff School of Theology in Denver. He was elected to the Wyoming State  Legislature at the age of 21, becoming the youngest representative ever elected in Wyoming. He went on to serve  in the Wyoming State Senate until 1982. McDaniel practiced law for 25 years, and pastors Highlands  Presbyterian Church in Cheyenne today. 

Alan K. Simpson served in the Wyoming State Legislature for thirteen years with Rodger before running  successfully for the U.S. Senate in 1978 where he served until 1997. Following his retirement from politics,  Simpson taught for four years as a visiting lecturer at the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and  Public Policy at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and  for two years he served as the Director of the Institute of Politics at the Kennedy School. In 2022, President  Biden awarded Simpson the Presidential Medal of Freedom. 

Simpson and McDaniel will exchange views on the complexities of courage. McDaniel says, “I have called my book a Rorschach test because the term ‘courage’ means different things to different people. There are those who believe the January 6th Insurrectionists were courageous. There were those who thought FDR’s decision to imprison Japanese Americans was courageous. Some considered the Japanese Americans who volunteered to fight in WWII courageous—but what about those who refused to serve? It’s complex.” 

Profiles in Courage: Standing Against the Wyoming Wind recounts stories of courage in the face of  pressure experienced by nine Wyoming citizens and three groups of citizens: the Black 14, the People of the  Wind River Indian Reservation, and the internees of Heart Mountain. It’s about the grace with which they  endured risks to their careers, the unpopularity of their courses, the defamation of their characters, and sometimes the vindication of their reputations and their principles.  

WordsWorth, publisher of McDaniel’s book, is co-sponsoring the program with Wyoming Rising, a grassroots organization dedicated to giving all citizens a voice in their community. 

Heart Mountain Interpretive Center tells the story of some 14,000 Japanese Americans unjustly  incarcerated in Wyoming from 1942 to 1945. The center is located between Cody and Powell at 1539 Rd 19 off  Highway 14A.


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