The capitol building in Cheyenne, Wyoming, is flanked by a large statue of Esther Hobart Morris, the first-ever woman justice of the peace in the United States. It commemorates the fact that she worked for Wyoming to grant women’s suffrage before any other state. Wyoming is known as “The Equality State” for that reason—and this November, the capitol will elect its first woman mayor in 150 years.
Of ten candidates running in the primary for the mayor of Cheyenne, Wyoming, the top two winners were Marian Orr, a lobbyist promising to create a “Fight the Blight Task Force,” and Amy Surdam, a health care provider currently serving on the Downtown Development Authority and as president of the Children’s Museum. (The latter is also offering to have coffee with you.)
Speaking to the Wyoming Tribune-Eagle, both were excited about the historic moment but also didn’t want it to focus just on their gender. Orr, who “celebrated the end of her primary campaign in the same place it began, inside the Peaks Café II at Cheyenne Regional Airport”:
“How appropriate in the Equality State we have two women running for this position,” she said. “But I really want voters going forward to realize it’s not just two women. We’re very diverse in our opinions and what we prioritize with the community, and I think voters will be able to distinguish between two females, but these are exciting times for Cheyenne.”
“I’m a little bit surprised and excited that the community put two girls forward,” she said. “I didn’t expect that, and I’m glad. I think that’s a very loud voice from our community saying they’re ready for something different and ready for a different kind of leader than we’ve had.”
Wyoming’s renown as the Equality State is also due to Nellie Tayloe Ross, America’s first woman governor from 1925 to 1927, though it hasn’t had a woman governor since.