Non-Partisan PAC supports women running for office in Wyoming

There are only 16 women in the Wyoming State Legislature, as a while the Equality state ranks in the bottom five of the nation for having a diverse state legislature.
JoAnn Skeim-True and Jen Simon sit down with Wyoming News Now to talk about the importance of having women at the political table
Published: Mar. 7, 2021 at 10:46 PM CST
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - There are only 16 women in the Wyoming State Legislature, as a while the Equality state ranks in the bottom five of the nation for having a diverse state legislature.

When it comes to representation in local offices it’s just as bad. Out of the 93 County Commissioners in the state 18 are women.

Jen Simon, JoAnn Skeim-True, Lisa Burridge, Natalia D. Macker, Renee Penton-Jones, Ann Ruble, Lisa Scroggins all founded the Cowgirl Run Fund, a Non-Partisan PAC that supports women who run for elected offices through out the state.

Wyoming News Now sat down with Jen Simon and JoAnn Skeim-True about the PAC.

“Our mission is to help elect more women, so that women’s voices are present in shaping public policy.” Simon said, “and really our goal is to build a pipeline of women who are seasoned in political leadership.”

The fund was created in 2020 to get more women elected to have their voices heard in the state. It supported 14 Democrats, 13 Republicans, one Independent and four women who ran for non-partisan positions in the last election.

JoAnn, who was censured by the Wyoming GOP for her role in creating the PAC, said “For me it’s just increasing the number of people involved in the process, in particular of this PAC, the number of women involved.”

When it comes to just having more women run for elected offices in the state, there are many factors that play into why they can’t or don’t. Like, not being able to afford child care or having child care, not getting a living salary. or seeing character attacks in news outlets of women who hold high positions.

The Cowgirl Run Fund is made up of diverse women who all bring different perspective’s to the table. Which Simon says that is why it’s important to have more than just one woman elected to positions.

“With women perspectives, that diversity of perspectives right, there’s not just one woman’s perspective. And you can’t just have one woman on your board and check that box and think she represents the rest of us.”

JoAnn emphasized local offices impact us more than national offices, and there are several local boards that are elected positions.

“School boards, college boards that kind of thing. Those are elected positions that I think we can get more women involved in, as those effect us more locally than national positions.”

There is a vigorous process to be part of the board, however, they don’t ask what your stance is on policies, as the women who created this fund truly want it to be non-partisan.

They team decided not to share who all was elected that they supported, since it was their inaugural year. Instead, they are turning the focus to the 2022 election and what they are going to do to help women, like focus on mentorship, some leadership training.

JoAnn and Jen say you can also go to the Governor’s website and look at Governor appointed board positions, and get into the pipeline of politics that way. A lot of those boards also don’t have women’s voices present.

JoAnn was censured in 2019 for helping create the Cowgirl Run Fund, at the time she was the GOP Natrona County committeewoman, the meeting minutes said “due to campaign activities.” After, she noticed the push back. Some members told her she should be focused on getting more Republican’s elected into office, and not just republican women. JoAnn is already a member of leadership and recruits women to run for Republican offices.

She didn’t think they would be thrilled, but didn’t expect as much vitriol. The day after she was censured a legislator wrote a letter saying women are adequately being represented by the men in their lives, so there is no reason for women to run for office.

For more information on Cowgirl Run Fund you can check out there website here.

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