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Representative Sue Wallis, who served four terms in the Wyoming Legislature, died Tuesday. She was 56.

Sue Wallis blogWallis, a Republican from Recluse, practiced politics that, according to the Casper Star-Tribune "were a unique blend of libertarian and Republican. She budgeted conservatively on the House Appropriations Committee but sponsored an array of legislation that didn't always conform to Republican principles. Wallis supported equal rights for same-sex couples, medical marijuana and the opening of horse slaughter plants across the country. She also was pro-choice."

She was the co-chair of NCSL’s Agriculture Task Force and a vice-chair of NCSL’s Natural Resources and Infrastructure Committee. Previously, she was an active member of standing committees focusing and agriculture and energy issues. 

Representative Wallis was also a noted cowboy poet. This poem is from her latest published poetry book, “Love, Life & Politics Poems of Sue Wallis.”

 

The True Infrastructure of the Legislature

In this Wyoming Legislature, each of us,

We are an institution, true,

But a human one.

Our camaraderie burnished, seared,

In a crucible of robust, vigorous, debate — sometimes in concert,

Often opposed — decorum religiously observed

Regardless.

Emotions honed, constrained

By civility, an integrity

That transcends ordinary.

A session, forty days of intimacy more familial

Than adversarial, we know each other’s idiosyncrasies,

Who we trust, who to keep at arm’s length.

Know for sure that if some worst thing occurs

We could count on any one of these

Ninety souls to leap illusory isles,

Vault partisan divides,

Abandon the haughty chambers

To come to the aid of a member In need.

These relationships ring down through history,

Generations girding the foundation

That supports a formidable state,

A mighty nation.

Some say it is all because of a strong constitution,

The free nation founded on principle,

But I know it is due to nothing more complex

Than respect and kindness between

Colleagues.

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About the NCSL Blog

This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.

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