After 14 years of dedicated service in the Wyoming House of Representatives, Elaine Harvey of Lovell is headed south to Arizona instead of Cheyenne this month.
Harvey announced earlier this year that she would not be running for re-election to her seat in the Wyoming House of Representatives in the most recent election and finished her final term in the House on Jan. 10. She admitted that it does feel a little odd to be taking time off to enjoy her grandchildren in sunny Arizona instead of working the long hours required when the legislature is in session, but feels confident her colleagues will carry on with continued good work for their state and for their communities.
Harvey was elected to office in 2002, taking office in January of 2003. Though she was involved with the Republican Party for a number of years as precinct chairman, served on a number of local school committees and even worked as a lobbyist for a while, she entered public office with literally no experience as an elected official. She spent the next 14 years in leadership roles on numerous committees and was involved in groundbreaking legislation throughout her career in the House.
During her first term in office, she was appointed to the Labor, Health and Social Services Committee, a committee she served on throughout her time serving her constituents as their representative in the House. She also chaired the committee for four years. Throughout those years, she has immersed herself in learning about the important issues the state faces in all of those areas.
She also served on the Agriculture, Water and Public Lands Committee during her first term and continued serving on the Ag Committee for two years. Following that, she served on the Minerals, Business and Economic Development Committee for eight years.
During the 2004 interim, she chaired the Long Term Care Sub-Committee to study the medical and living needs of Wyoming’s aging population. Her next chairmanship was with the Select Committee on Developmental Disabled People. That assignment lasted five years, during which time she worked with others on the committee to develop and restructure payment methods and standards for the disabled population and the people who serve them. She also chaired the Select Committee on Insurance Exchanges, now known as the Federal Insurance Market Place. While chairing the committee, it studied and rejected the notion of implementing a state-based health insurance exchange.
Harvey served on the “Super Committee” that prepared for the special session in 2005, a session that looked at tort reform and
recruiting medical professionals like CNAs, nurses and medical doctors.
During her 14 years of service Harvey also served on several national task forces and chaired the Health Committee for the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) for two years. She vice-chaired that committee for four years. She chaired the Health Committee for the Council of State Governments – West (CSG-West) for one year and was vice-chairman for two years. She served on the NCSL task force for the Affordable Health Care Act.
Additionally, Harvey sat on the Milbank Foundation’s think tank called “Reforming States Group” for six years, where she worked on many public health issues.
She also worked with the Kettering Foundation’s “Civility Project,” where she was trained to teach decorum, civility and the art of negotiation to other states and nations.
She graduated from the Western Legislative Academy in 2003, where she attended a class with then State Senator John Barrasso. She went on to the Henry Toll Academy, and is fellow of the academy.
For many years Harvey held the record for passing the most legislation and became trusted by her fellow legislators and known for “doing her homework.”
She said the long hours may have been stressful at times, but the amount of work the legislature gets done in a short period of time has been an extremely rewarding experience for her.
Harvey said she is completely confident that Jamie Flitner, the newly elected representative for House District No. 26, will do a “great job” in her new role.
Though looking forward to the break in Arizona, Harvey said she’s not quite done with serving her community but plans to keep those efforts closer to home in
By Patti Carpenter