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Tom Lockhart

Former Wyoming Sen. Tom Lockhart talks to colleagues on the Senate floor during the first day of the 2014 budget session at the Wyoming Capitol in Cheyenne. House Speaker Steve Harshman announced Monday that Lockhart had died.

Alan Rogers, Star-Tribune

This week, Casper said goodbye to one of its longtime state lawmakers.

Tom Lockhart served in the House from 2001 to 2016. He will be missed and remembered for his contributions to the state.

But legislation penned and supported by Lockhart won’t be his lasting legacy. Instead, the state he served will be better for his legacy of kindness and civility in government.

Lockhart was known for his style and attitude toward others, both in government and in his personal life.

Pillars of the Wyoming spirit are respect and dignity, and he certainly embodied that in all that he did. His political opinions, his personal beliefs, his professional agenda never affected the way he interacted with others. He could disagree agreeably and he worked to represent everyone during his tenure in the House.

Lockhart was a longtime member of the Casper Rotary Club, and Rotary President Richard Schwann said Lockhart was an example of the Rotarian motto; service above self.

“He was part of an era where respect and restraint and civility was kind of standard,” said longtime lobbyist Marguerite Herman.

In a time of overwhelming political divisiveness, it seems that era is far in the past. Those traits of decency and kindness are increasingly lacking in our politicians and leaders. Civil discourse and constructive disagreement have too often fallen by the wayside.

But those characteristics that Lockhart embodied shouldn’t die along with him.

Lockhart’s legacy of civility should serve as an example to all, and especially to the lawmakers who are serving in his wake. Our current legislative body should work to exemplify the Tom Lockhart way.


Opinion Editor

Dallas Bower joined the Star-Tribune copy desk in June 2017. She studied English at the University of Wyoming. Her favorite book is The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway, or Harry Potter, depending on the day.

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