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Fighting for Equality in the First State to Pass Women's Suffrage

State Senator, Wyo.

1811_Tara Nethercott 03a
Wyoming will always have a special place in women’s history. The state passed the nation’s first suffrage law in 1869, and -- unlike some other states that would extend the franchise -- never repealed the measure. “We have always remained a beacon of women’s suffrage and women’s leadership,” says state Sen. Tara Nethercott.

Nethercott is continuing that tradition as a fifth-generation Wyomingite serving as a Republican in her legislature. In 2018, she championed a bill creating the Wyoming Women’s Suffrage Pathway, a 19-mile stretch of highway commemorating the 19th Amendment. She’s also working on a current issue with particular significance to women. “Like many states,” Nethercott says, “Wyoming is challenged with unacceptably high rates of domestic violence. We want to provide some consistency in the laws for punishments for domestic violence to be comparable with other crimes.”

In the meantime, Nethercott has straightforward advice to women looking to get involved in government: “If you want to run for office, run for office. If you want to speak, speak. Don’t hesitate. Just do it.”

Read about the Women in Government program and the rest of the honorees.

Caroline Cournoyer is GOVERNING's senior web editor.
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