Read this post and/or watch the video and take action for fair representation in Southside Cheyenne.
Legislators’ contact info is at the bottom of this post.
Residents of Southside Cheyenne have been fighting for months to ensure voting districts in their community are improved as the Wyoming Legislature draws a new voting map according to the 2020 census.
The Southside is a racially diverse, working-class community with its own distinct cultural heritage that has been underrepresented for decades in the Wyoming Legislature.
Things were looking good at first—in response to advocacy by Southside residents, the Legislature’s Joint Corporations Committee brought a map to the full Legislature earlier this month that increased representation in Southside Cheyenne.
The committee’s map consolidated the House districts that represented the area, instead of splitting them up and lumping the different neighborhoods in with areas of white, rural Laramie County.
The committee’s map made it more likely that the residents of Southside Cheyenne could elect someone from their own community to represent them in the Legislature.
But an amendment passed by the House on Wednesday, Feb. 16, threatened these gains. It reconfigured all of Laramie County and split Southside Cheyenne into four different House districts that extend into the countryside.
Better Wyoming and other members of a coalition fighting for voting rights in Southside Cheyenne spoke up, and during the discussion Wednesday several Laramie County lawmakers acknowledged that they had heard us. Here’s what Rep. Bill Henderson had to say:
“We have a lot of established neighborhoods as the city has developed over the years. I’m very concerned about the diversity and equal treatment of various ethnic backgrounds.”
Rep. Henderson, Rep. Jared Olsen, and Rep. Dan Zwonitzer pledged to fix what the amendment had screwed up in Laramie County, including restoring representation for Southside Cheyenne.
But lo and behold, when the amendment by Reps. Olsen and Henderson went live on the Legislature’s website Thursday afternoon, it turns out that they did nothing to fix the Southside—their amendment only addressed the wealthier, whiter north side of Cheyenne.
The color-shaded portions of the map below show where Olsen and Henderson’s amendment made changes. The rest is left the same as the Duncan amendment, with Southside Cheyenne split into four House districts.
Please send a brief and respectful text message to Rep. Jared Olsen, Rep. Dan Zwonitzer, and Rep. Bill Henderson and ask them to fulfill their pledge to restore better representation to Southside Cheyenne. Please do this today or tomorrow (Feb. 17 or 18).
Here are their cell numbers, which are public:
Rep. Jared Olsen – (307) 679-8689
Rep. Dan Zwonitzer – (307) 214-7826
Rep. Bill Henderson – (307) 201-9898
Share this URL with your friends and ask them to contact these representatives, as well.
Text these Laramie County Representatives TODAY! (video)