Q&A with State Senator Affie Ellis

Affie Ellis

State Senator, WY

Affie EllisTell us about your background. What are the experiences, including education, that make up the person you currently are?

I care about Wyoming and my community. I have been involved in a number of non-profit organizations and my husband and I have 3 young children. I am a practicing attorney and wanted to use my knowledge to serve Wyoming.

What was your trigger moment and why this specific office?

In 2016, there was only one woman serving in the Wyoming Senate (30 senators total). I took my then 8-year-old daughter to watch them debate and she innocently asked if girls were allowed to be in the Senate. I thought about her question for weeks and it prompted me to run.

What made you feel qualified to run for office?

I knew I would be able to work hard to learn the issues and that I would keep an open mind.

Do you work full-time or part-time?


Most people don’t know what their elected official does on a daily basis. What’s a typical day looking like for you?

Wyoming is a citizen legislature, so most of us have full-time or part-time jobs outside of our service. Nonetheless, each day, I work on my legislative duties which include attending lunches and events, responding to constituents’ phone calls, e-mail and meeting requests, preparing for interim committee hearings by reading background materials, and working each day on legislation I plan on introducing for the upcoming session. To prepare legislation, I research what other states are doing, I reach out to any relevant stakeholders (including potential opponents), and make sure I obtain as many facts as I can. These past few years, I have also assumed a few chairmanships, so I work to make sure my committee is prepared for its scheduled hearings on assigned interim topics. Thus, despite the fact that we meet for so few days as a legislature, fulfilling my legislative responsibilities consumes a substantial amount of my time.

Additionally, they might not know what their elected official is responsible for. What is your role in comparison to other elected offices on your level?

State legislators write state laws.

What do you think people would be surprised to know someone in your position does?

I think most people assume I have a scheduler or an assistant. I do not. Scheduling and responding to constituents directly fall directly on my shoulders.

What are 3-5 skills needed to be successful in the elected office you served in/are currently serving in?

1. Stay focused on what you want to work on (don’t let others decide that for you); 2. Have grit; 3. Do your homework.

What’s the best part about serving in elected office?

I love interacting with my constituents, particularly kids. I also really enjoy the feeling of bringing an idea and watching that idea become law.

What has been the accomplishment you’re most proud of while in office?

I am most proud of our efforts to provide all Wyoming K-12 students with computer science knowledge and skills as well as passing legislation to begin reform on the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls.

In terms of finances, how much money did you have to raise for your campaign?


What’s one piece of advice you would give to someone who’s thinking about running for the position you serve/have served in their community?

The only question a candidate should ask herself: Do I want to do this? It’s the only question that matters.