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Bill naming Cheyenne federal building after women’s rights pioneer Louisa Swain passes Senate Environment & Public Works Committee

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Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 4:27 PM CDT
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WASHIGNTON, D.C. (Release) - U.S.Senator Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in support of her bill to name the Cheyenne federal building after women’s rights pioneer Louisa Swain. The bill was unanimously approved by the committee today and will next be considered on the Senate floor.

S. 2126 would rededicate the federal building located at 308 W 21st Street in Cheyenne, Wyoming in honor of Louisa Swain’s historic vote.

In 1869, Wyoming became the first state or territory in the U.S. to continuously recognize women’s voting rights as equal to the voting rights of men, and Louisa Swain was the woman who cast the historic first vote under that law on September 6, 1870.

At 70 years old, Swain – a Laramie resident – cast her vote in the general election of 1870, which was 50 years before women’s voting rights were recognized in the rest of the country. Her contribution to women’s suffrage is commemorated through the Louisa Swain Foundation, a group committed to preserving her legacy and celebrating her mark on history.

Regarding her bill, Senator Lummis said, “As the first woman to serve Wyoming in the U.S. Senate, it is my honor today to talk about a true pioneer from the states of Wyoming and Maryland.

“On September 6, 1870, Wyoming was the first state to recognize a woman’s right to vote. Louisa Swain was the pioneering woman who cast that first legal vote in a general election under Wyoming law.

“I can’t think of a better name for a federal building in the first state to recognize this right and enshrine full suffrage for women in law. Many women played an essential role in the journey toward suffrage, but Lousia Swain’s contribution was the shot heard around the world. She greatly deserves this recognition.

“I want to thank Senator Van Hollen for joining me on this legislation. After Ms. Swain left Wyoming, she made her home in Maryland, and is laid to rest in Baltimore. I know that Senator Van Hollen is as proud of his home state’s part in the story of women’s suffrage as I am of Wyoming, and it’s a privilege to sponsor this legislation with him today,” she concluded.

The legislation passed unanimously out of committee today.

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