Jennifer Young wants to take on the government establishment.
This week, she launched a campaign to run against Wyoming Secretary of State Max Maxfield in 2014.
Young, president of the Wyoming Constitution Party, is best known for spearheading the movement to get a referendum on the 2014 general election ballot to recall Senate File 104, the legislation that revoked power from state Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill.
Young had 65 days to traverse the state and collect 37,000 signatures. She garnered 22,000.
But her travels around the state weren’t all for naught. Young, 46, slept on couches, talked with thousands of voters and created a network of loyal advocates who want to see the old guard ousted from office in Cheyenne. Tea partyers, Democrats, Republicans, the Wyoming Liberty Group and other parties joined Young’s effort. By cataloging the data, Young said she has backers in 200 communities throughout the state.
Four years ago Young had no political ambitions or ties in the state. She said she was asleep at the wheel.
She started paying attention, and has been at the forefront of challenging laws set in place by the Legislature and Wyoming courts. The tea party and other right-wing, limited-government activists paved the way for her while she slumbered, she said.
Young said the vote of the people was annulled with Senate File 104. She believes Maxfield did the same when he successfully challenged term limits for elected officials in a case that went to the Wyoming Supreme Court.
A citizen initiative appeared on the general election ballot in 1992 that outlined term limits for state lawmakers and four of the state’s five elected officials (term limits for governor are outlined in statute).
More than 150,000 Wyomingites voted for term limits in 1992. Forty-five thousand voted no.
The Wyoming Supreme Court eliminated term limits for state lawmakers in 2004. Maxfield sought to do the same for the state’s elected officials, saying the law unfairly impeded his ability to run for office after his second term. The state’s high court agreed with Maxfield in February and overturned the law. Maxfield will finish his second term in January 2015. He said he’s undecided about whether he will run again.
“We’re doing campaign organizing and raising money to be ready,” he said. “We won’t make a final decision until after the first of the year.”
Some look at the ruling as the lifting of an unnecessary restraint on liberty. Young has a different view.
“The vote of the people was loud and clear and was challenged by Maxfield,” she said. “Here we are again having our voice trampled on by another career politician.”
Young vows to serve only two terms if she wins.
“And I encourage others to do the same,” she said.
Young said she meets the statutory requirements of running for the position.
She’s lived in Wyoming for 41 years and has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wyoming in zoology and physiology with an emphasis on bioengineering.
She’s run her own Mary Kay Cosmetics business and has served on the Laramie Jaycees.
The secretary of state is required to serve on a number of boards and commissions — most notably the State Loan and Investments Board, State Land and Investments Board and the State Building Commission.
Young said she’s been attending those meetings and is also preparing herself to manage the five divisions of the secretary of state’s office.
“I am more than capable of learning what I don’t know,” she said. “The referendum — nobody knew how to do that.”