2018 Hall of Fame Inductee
Minnie Mitchell was referred to by many as “the grand old lady of Wyoming politics.” In her nearly 20 years in public office, she marked many firsts while serving the citizens of her state.
Mitchell arrived in Wyoming by covered wagon with her family in 1896. She later became the very first teacher in the town of Arminto, Wyoming, simultaneously editing and publishing the local newspaper.
When she was appointed to serve as state treasurer in 1952, Mitchell became the first woman to serve in that role. In 1954, she was elected as state auditor, a position she held until 1967, also a role in which she was the first woman to serve.
As state auditor, Mitchell proudly promoted revising and modernizing accounting procedures, including using computer systems to provide an audit trail. She instituted a daily balancing of state accounts and brought in the office’s first check protectograph. Despite an increase of 14 percent to her office’s workload during her first year, there was no increase in staff. As a testament to her character during this time, Mitchell was named “Executive of the Year” by the Cheyenne National Secretaries Association in 1961.
In 1965, Mitchell was selected to serve as president of NASACT, presiding over the association’s 50th annual conference in that same year. Once again, she was the first woman to hold this esteemed role.
Mitchell was well known for the integrity and kindness she brought to public service. She once stated that “there should be no fringe benefits of holding public office, other than those of friendships gained and prestige earned.”
During a time when there were few women in politics, Mitchell championed equality on the public stage, speaking at a 1967 Republican Women’s Conference to encourage more women to run for office.
After 12 years as state auditor, Mitchell ran for state treasurer, a position she held until her retirement in 1971. At that time, Governor Stanley Hathaway honored her by naming her “State Treasurer Emeritus.”
Minnie Mitchell’s many accomplishments during her lifetime demonstrate the strength of her pioneering spirit. Her lasting example as a trailblazer for women in politics, and as an advocate for government efficiency and civility, is still relevant today.