Mr. President, today I would like to speak on a topic very important to my wife Diana, me, and all of Wyoming – and should be important to all of America.
It’s a topic of great importance in Wyoming. A topic at the core of what makes Wyoming the Equality State. It is Wyoming Women’s Suffrage Day, tomorrow (Dec.10). I recently had the pleasure of introducing and, along with my friend Senator Barrasso, passing Senate Resolution 430, which recognizes tomorrow, Dec. 10, 2019, as "Wyoming Women's Suffrage Day.”
Wyoming Women's Suffrage Day celebrates the contributions of women to our great state and Wyoming’s place in history as a trailblazer for women’s suffrage. 150 years ago, on Dec. 10, 1869, the Wyoming Territory approved the first law in legislative history of the United States recognizing women’s inherent right to vote and hold public office 50 years before the enactment of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution in 1920. This historic step even preceded Wyoming’s statehood. The young territory granted women the right to vote 20 years before becoming the 44th state admitted to the Union. In fact, when Congress invited Wyoming to join the Union and demanded that women’s suffrage be revoked, the Wyoming Legislature said, “We will remain out of the Union one hundred years rather than come in without women.” This pioneering spirit is truly remarkable and something I keep at the front of my mind every day as I continue my work in the Senate.
Wyoming was not going to allow the acknowledgement of women’s right to vote to be ceremonial or artificial. In fact, one short year after recognizing women’s right to vote, women began holding public office throughout Wyoming, serving as the first women in the United States to do so. In 1870, Esther Hobart Morris became the first female justice of the peace, serving in South Pass City, Wyoming.
Just as they did in 1869, women's voices and their votes continue to help build our economy and guide our democracy. Throughout history, Wyoming has been home to many remarkable women and today still recognizes how important women are to the success of the state. This continued dedication to being the Equality State has made Wyoming home to trailblazing women’s organizations like the Wyoming Women’s Legislative Caucus, a nonpartisan caucus that advocates for the support and leadership of women in all levels of government;