REAL WOMEN RUN
Consider Becoming a Runner – for Political Office
Want to really make a difference? Thinking “someday” you’ll have the time?
Please take the time now to look through the materials and links on these pages. You might find that this is your time to join our political leadership whether as a volunteer (think county and city boards) or as an elected official at the county and state level. Wyoming Rising will help you achieve your goal and grow your leadership skills in the process. This is a great effort … the more women we can elect to office, the more by working together we can expect to achieve “equality,” meaning a diverse culture of involvement, respect, inclusion, and connection, where our richness of ideas, backgrounds, and perspectives is fully appreciated and utilized.
- All in Together, a bipartisan group, focuses on getting women’s voices heard in many ways, from op-ed writing to lobbying.
- EMILY’s List, the OG powerhouse, trains and funds pro-choice Democratic women.
- IGNITE is a nonpartisan group that helps high school and college-age women get their feet wet in leadership.
- Run for Something helps progressive candidates ages 35 and under get on the ballot.
- She Should Run offers nonpartisan campaign e-courses.
- The Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University has an exhaustive database of local orgs that can help you campaign, and its Ready to Run trainings take place across the country.
- Women2women is a political action committee that helps support female GOP candidates
ONE WOMAN’S STORY
How Affie Ellis runs her small business while serving in the Wyoming State Senate.
My mom was a housekeeper and my dad was a welder. He eventually started his own small business in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, which my family still owns and operates. It had been a thought that I might run for office, but I guess I always thought it would be much later in my life — something I would do when I was close to retirement. Still, I studied political science at the University of Wyoming, and after I graduated my husband and I moved to Washington D.C., where I worked for the former U.S. senator from Wyoming, Craig Thomas. In 2004, we left D.C. so I could go to law school in Colorado. Three years later, we moved back to Cheyenne, Wyoming.
I worked at the Wyoming attorney general’s office, had my daughter, and passed the bar. But after I had our second kid in 2009, I realized my work schedule just wasn’t terribly accommodating for my growing family. I remember a friend of ours telling me that we always think about how we invest our dollars, and you’re your best investment. If it means living off your retirement savings to take that chance — as long as you have a good business plan and put your best foot forward — the worst thing you can do is fail.
Last year — after I had that moment at the Senate debate with my daughter — wasn’t the most opportune time for me to run for office, obviously. I had my own business. My kids were 8, 6, and 3. But I felt so strongly that we needed women in the legislature. And looking in the Wyoming Senate, the average age was 60.
Around this time, I also had a relative who was struggling with some undiagnosed kind of dementia/Alzheimer’s issues, and then a young friend of mine passed away. You start realizing that the days you’ve got on this Earth are numbered, so don’t wait to do the things that you’ve always wanted to do.
One big thing was that obviously if I got elected I could no longer be a lobbyist. So I wound down all of my clients that I represented in a lobbying capacity before I ran, but I kept the smaller PR clients. My husband and I also have a small investment company that we use to support some local businesses, which I kept.
My goal was to knock on every registered voter’s door, and I was so successful in doing it that I was able to do it twice. There’s no substitute for getting out there, meeting people at their doorsteps, asking them if they have concerns and letting them known some of those issues that you care about and want to work on.
During the last 15 years or so, Wyoming has had a tremendous boom in our economy. For years, we enjoyed high natural gas prices, a robust coal industry, and we were able to build a whole bunch of new schools and revamp our education system. But prices of natural gas were dropping, and our coal industry was shrinking to the point where several of out prominent coal producers were in bankruptcy. So I knew the state was going to face significant financial challenges and I think I was drawn to those challenges, particularly in education. My biggest concern was how we would manage financial cuts while still taking care of our kids and making sure those dollars are being spent in the classroom and not elsewhere on things that are not as important. I think my knowledge and passion about that really resonated with people.
Most days I honestly can’t tell you exactly how I spend my time — I’m constantly switching hats and running to different things. Things that are making this successful for me are having a really supportive spouse and community. My mother-in-law also lives here, and we have a great support network that can pick kids up from soccer practice, go to a recital, they’ll do anything to help us. People often ask me, “Who’s watching your kids?” and I’ll say they’re home with their dad, and I’ve heard some people say, “Is he a good babysitter?” I cringe because he doesn’t babysit them. He’s their father. He’s raising them like I would. I’m almost certain that my younger male colleagues in the workplace don’t hear that question.
I’m so glad I decided to do both. I love running my businesses, but I had sort of hit a plateau of challenging myself. Now I also have to deal with constituents who show up angry and learn how to talk to them. I’m being asked to be a keynote speaker at college graduations. There are difficult parts of public service, but it provides tremendous personal growth. I feel like I’m very much sitting front row on issues that matter. I have perspective.
OFFICES OPEN TO PARK COUNTY RESIDENTS IN 2018
(Position & Incumbent's Name)
Secretary of State Murray
State Auditor Cloud
State Treasurer Gordon
State Supt of Pub Instruction Balow
State Senator SD 19 Peterson
State Rep HD 24 Court
State Rep HD 25 Laursen
State Rep HD 26 Flitner
State Rep HD 28 Winters
State Rep HD 50 Northrup
Park Co. Commissioner Tilden
Park Co. Commissioner Grosskopf
Park Co. Commissioner French
County Sheriff Steward
County Assessor Meyer
Park Co. Clerk Renner
County Coroner Power
County Treasurer Poley
County Attorney Skoric
County Clerk of Dist Court Lindenthal
Mayor, Powell Wetzel
Powell Council, Ward 1 Paul
Powell Council, Ward 2 Mangold
Powell Council, Ward 3 Sapp
Cody Council, Ward 1 Anderson
Cody Council, Ward 2 Ballinger
Cody Council, Ward 3 Wolz
Mayor, Meeteetse Yetter
Meeteetse Council Fech
Meeteetse Council Trask
Frannie Town Council Myers
Frannie Town Council Roberts
NWC Trustee Powell Dansko
NWC Trustee, Powell Spomer
NWC Trustee, Cody Housel
PCSD #1 Trustee Hansen
PCSD #1 Trustee Wardell
PCSD #1 Trustee Paul
PCSD #1 Trustee McCray
PCSD #6 Trustee Simone
PCSD #6 Trustee Weber
PCSD #6 Trustee Struemke
PCSD #16 Trustee Potas
PCSD #16 Trustee Blake
Plus positions on Meeteese, Byron, Deaver/Frannie school boards; all fire districts; all cemetery boards; Powell & West Park hospital boards; and all conservation districts.