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Wyoming loses three-term Senator

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Big Horn – “On energy, on agriculture, on public lands issues, Sen. Wallop was all Wyoming, all the time,” says U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis of the late Senator Malcolm Wallop, who passed away Sept. 14.

As the ranking Republican member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee from 1990 to 1994, Senator Wallop was an outspoken advocate of the multiple economic uses of federal lands and development of domestic energy supplies of coal, oil and natural gas.

Wallop served in the Senate from 1977 to 1995 and had an unusual resume for a western politician. According to Frontiers of Freedom, the organization he founded after his Senate service, he was part of the third generation of a Wyoming pioneer family, he was born in New York City, he graduated from Yale University, and his grandfather served in the British House of Lords.

After his graduation from Yale in 1954, Wallop served in the U.S. Army as a first lieutenant from 1955 to 1957. He worked for a decade as a cattle rancher and small businessman before entering politics in 1969 as a successful candidate for the Wyoming House of Representatives, where he served two terms, followed by a stint in the Wyoming Senate from 1973 to 1976.

In 1974 Wallop sought the Republican gubernatorial nomination but was defeated by Richard R. “Dick” Jones from Park County. In 1976 Wallop unseated three-term Democrat U.S. Senator Gale W. McGee.

In his first term, Wallop authored legislation that established the Congressional Award program to recognize outstanding volunteerism among America’s youth, and in 1977 the Wallop Amendment to the Surface Mining Control Act was hailed by property rights advocates for forcing the federal government to compensate property owners whose ability to mine was undercut by regulation. Three years later, Wallop successfully amended the Clean Water Act to protect states’ interests.

Wallop’s later career was characterized largely by his participation in the foreign policy and trade debates of the late 1980s and early 1990s. From 1990 to ‘94 he was the top Republican member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and in 1992 he was a key force behind passage of the far-reaching Energy Policy Act.

In 1994 Wallop opted out of a race for a fourth term, and Republican Craig Thomas succeeded him. Immediately upon his retirement from the Senate in January 1995, Wallop founded the Frontiers of Freedom Institute, a Virginia-based non-profit group that lobbies for constitutionally limited government and a strong national defense.

“Wyoming owes Sen. Wallop a debt of gratitude for the way he spoke for Wyoming people during the years when the battle cry was, ‘Cattle free by ‘93,’ a slogan used by anti-public lands groups,” continues Lummis.

“Today, Wyoming and America lost an extraordinary man. U.S. Senator Malcolm Wallop was a dedicated public servant and a great legislator,” said U.S. Senator John Barrasso on Sept. 14. “He leaves a proud legacy of a Wyoming Senator who solved problems and initiated great solutions. He set a high bar for public service, and all of Wyoming is grateful.”

“Whether he was serving in the Army, the Wyoming Legislature or in the United States Senate, Malcolm always stood for freedom. For decades he worked to strengthen America’s national security and protect states’ rights. His common sense and commitment helped break down Washington’s barriers to American energy development, and our nation continues to benefit from his leadership today.”

“With his brilliance and determination he fiercely defended Wyoming values; advocating for our military, for smaller government and for individual freedoms,” says Wyoming Governor Matt Mead. “Senator Wallop provided leadership for Wyoming and America during his three terms as Senator and every day since. He fought for lower taxes, multiple-use of public lands and developing America’s energy resources.”

“Wyoming was very fortunate to have Malcolm Wallop representing us in the Senate for 18 years,” says U.S. Senator Mike Enzi. “For all of his three terms, he was a powerful and effective presence in Congress that ensured the people of Wyoming were heard and their concerns were addressed.”

Article compiled by Christy Martinez, managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments to

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