In 2016, Marian Orr became the first woman elected mayor of Cheyenne, Wyo. But she’s worked in and around government throughout her entire career. Growing up, she talked about politics around the dinner table. Orr, a self-described “kid of the Cold War,” was in college when the Berlin Wall came down. “I just really remember watching President Reagan on TV and feeling such a sense of patriotic pride,” she recalls. That sense of pride translated into a desire to work in politics, first as an aide in Washington and then as a lobbyist in Cheyenne.
Her interest may have been piqued by grand global issues, but she spends her time as mayor concentrating on the basics -- infrastructure, public safety, economic development. As mayor of the capital of a state with some of the worst rates of political gender equity in the nation, Orr is trying to ensure she doesn’t remain lonely as a woman in leadership. She’d at least like to convince people to stop referring reflexively to potential hires for top posts as “he” and “him.”