State representatives on the House floor in the Wyoming Capitol in Cheyenne this week. A close look will reveal that freshman Rep. Karlee Provenza (D-Laramie) has a message for the camera. (Mike Vanata/WyoFile)

Week one of the Wyoming Legislature’s in-person session in the Capitol is nearly in the books, and for freshman lawmakers, the flurry of readings, introductions and floor debates likely felt like drinking out of a firehose.

Some 22 newly elected lawmakers are taking their first crack at state legislating this session, according to WyoFile calculations. That includes four senators and 18 representatives. Tim Salazar (R-Riverton) is new to the Senate, but previously served in the House. Rep. Mark Baker (R-Green River) previously served in the House but resigned in 2017 when he moved out of his district.

One of the 2021 freshmen, Rep. Karlee Provenza (D-Laramie) takes her seat not only as a newbie, but also as one of few women, as this photograph of the House floor demonstrates (look closely to see Provenza’s message to the camera). 

Women hold just 18% of the 90 seats in the Legislature, according to a new report titled “Wyoming Women in Elected Roles.”

For Provenza, the first week has been “a whirlwind.” After legislating over Zoom since the beginning of the year, “coming to the Capitol has meant that things move much faster and there is so much going on beyond just hearing bills,” she wrote in an email.

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Her main takeaway? “People in our communities are struggling and our job is to help solve those problems and minimize that suffering where we can – particularly for our most vulnerable,” Provenza wrote.

Katie Klingsporn

Katie Klingsporn is WyoFile's managing editor. She is a journalist and word geek who has been writing about life in the West for 15 years. Her pieces have appeared in Adventure Journal, National Geographic...

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