Lummis honored for years of service to agWritten by Saige Albert
With a long career in the Wyoming Legislature and U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Cynthia Lummis finds her deepest roots in the Wyoming agriculture industry, and in recognition of her history of supporting the industry, she will be inducted into the Wyoming Agriculture Hall of Fame on Aug. 17.
“Cynthia is one of the most principled individuals I know who has stuck up for agriculture, worked tirelessly and achieved lasting accomplishments on behalf of the industry,” says Wyoming Stock Growers Association Executive Director Jim Magagna. “As Cynthia steps down from her role as Wyoming’s lone member of the House of Representatives, we can only speculate as to the next journey that her life will take. However, I can state without hesitation that her commitment to Wyoming agriculture will not waver.”
Mark Eisele, past Wyoming Stock Growers Association president and Cheyenne rancher, comments, “Cynthia’s life at both a professional and personal level have always displayed the belief and support of Wyoming agriculture and its people.”
Growing up in agriculture
Lummis was raised on her family’s cattle ranch outside Cheyenne, where she developed an outstanding work ethic and a love for the agriculture industry.
Later, she jumped into the civic arena as she began to help her mother prepare for Cheyenne Frontier Days (CFD).
Lummis served as Miss Frontier Lady-in-Waiting in 1975 and was Miss Frontier in 1976.
“A critical part of that royalty involved a lot of traveling to communities, hospitals and rodeo events to market the famous Daddy of ‘Em All show,” Magagna says.
Her involvement in CFD extended later when she was the first female board member of the event.
“In addition to her lifelong service to CFD, Cynthia embarked on the challenge of forming the first-ever FFA all-girls’ ag class in 1969-70,” he adds. “The program has grown exponentially over the past 45 years, with today’s membership at least half female. Although it was a natural extension of what Cynthia was already doing on her family’s ranch, it paved the way for others to learn about agriculture and sharpen their skills in the industry.”
Education to career
On graduating high school, Lummis continued her education at the University of Wyoming, where she earned bachelors’ degrees in animal science and biology. Then, she earned a law degree at the University of Wyoming.
With her law background, Lummis became the youngest female to be elected to the Wyoming legislature, serving 14 years in the Wyoming House and Senate. In her tenure there, she concentrated on natural resources and taxation issues.
“After leaving the legislature, Cynthia went to work for the Governor of Wyoming and spearheaded the Open Spaces Initiative for the Western Governor’s Association,” Magagna says. “Her efforts resulted in the adoption of a toolkit to promote western development of natural resources designed to assure the economy and environment of the West would be in balance, while maintaining Wyoming’s high standards.”
After her service to the state of Wyoming Legislature and the Governor, Lummis was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2008. In her tenure there, she has emphasized the role of agriculture.
Eisele says, “Cynthia helped develop innovative ideas and solutions for families and their lands by using both voluntary and incentive-based options.”
Sublette County Commissioner Joel Bousman comments that Lummis’ support of the federal Payment in Lieu of Taxes and Secure Rural Schools programs have been valuable.
Magagna also adds, “She has authored several pieces of legislation on behalf of the industry, including the original Open Book on Equal Access to Justice Act to make attorney fee awards transparent and publicly available,”.
From working on the Endangered Species Act to increasing transparency in government through her bills, Lummis spent countless hours fighting for the agriculture industry.
She chaired the Congressional Western Caucus, where Magagna says, “Cynthia led the charge to protect the western way of life, including protecting multiple use of public lands and pushing back against greater federal control.”
He adds, “She pushed policy provisions benefiting the West, including securing reauthorization of the BLM Pilot Office program, important grazing protections, active forestry implementation and priorities like forest health and rangeland management.”
“Lummis has made it a priority to have county officials testify at her committees at least 10 times since her election,” Bousman adds, noting that the action has provided easier access for agriculture producers into congressional decisions.
Lummis has also been recognized for her efforts and success in Congress.
“She has been recognized for her consistent voting record on behalf of the agriculture industry and our natural resources,” Magagna notes.
She has been recognized by the Small Business Administration, Realtor’s Association and other organizations.
This year, on June 4, the Wyoming Stock Growers Association voted to bestow the organization’s highest honor on Lummis when she was elected an Honorary Life Member.
“Cynthia’s actions speak louder than words,” Eisele says. We are very fortunate to call her one of our own, as well as a colleague and a friend.”