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Gavel

CHEYENNE — Wyoming’s newly appointed attorney general, Bridget Hill, is known for a few things around Cheyenne.

As a career public lawyer, Hill knows how to speak succinctly and directly, a trait that has helped mold a reputation for brevity around the capital. She has a sense of humor, a fact that quickly became apparent when an audience of career attorneys laughed at the jibes she made when being formally sworn in as the state’s 38th attorney general Friday afternoon. She cares deeply about her family, as made evident by the more than a dozen members of the Hill clan who made the drive out to see her on the biggest day of her career.

But what fewer people might know about Hill is that she — like the rest of her family — is a college basketball fan, a fact she used to break it to the crowd attending the ceremony that she would be breaking stride with her usual succinct nature.

“Since it is March, and March Madness is upon us,” she said, “I thought I would pay tribute to that great tournament by making just 64 quick points here today.”

“I’m kidding,” she added, to laughter. “Everyone knows the tournament got expanded to 68 (teams).”

A longtime public servant in Wyoming, the Saratoga native is a former Wyoming Office of State Lands and Investments director and formerly worked for Gov. Mark Gordon in his days as director of the Environmental Quality Council. She was among the governor’s first appointments when he took over as the state’s chief executive in January and she becomes just the second woman in Wyoming’s history to serve as its chief litigator, after Gay Woodhouse, who assumed the role in 1999.

It was a distinction for which Hill — who has worked for four attorneys general throughout her career — expressed immense gratitude in a speech for a crowd that included each of her former bosses.

“To you, Gov. Gordon, thank you so much for letting me be part of your vision for Wyoming,” she said. “I share that vision. I can tell your affection for the state of Wyoming and its people and your tremendous drive to see the people of this state succeed. I am so pleased you had asked me to fill this role and that you’ve entrusted an office that is dear to me, to me. It is an honor and a privilege, and I will do my very best to do the best job I can for you.”

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Recalling her lengthy career in state government, Hill spent her speech warmly reminiscing on the impressions both justices and colleagues alike left on her career, which began with her working as a law clerk for Wyoming Supreme Court Justices Larry Lehman and Michael Golden. She joined the attorney general’s office — “wooed” by its siren song, she said — in 2005 and, after eight years there, was named director of the Office of State Lands and Investments by Gov. Matt Mead in 2013.

“I still count that job as my favorite job thus far in my life,” she said, remembering her time in the attorney general’s office, where she represented the State Lands and Investments Board. “Though, I guess there’s some potential that this one could replace it.”

Reflecting on the long history of the attorney general’s office, she noted the different approaches and talents each attorney general brought to the state’s “largest law office,” as Justice Kate Fox described it in an opening speech, traits of which Hill said she hoped to emulate: an emphasis on teamwork, a quiet and workmanlike approach to getting the job done, a contagious enthusiasm for the law and a care for the well-being and professional development of each and every staffer in the office.

Most of all, Hill was just happy to be back.

“To the people of the attorney general’s office, it is an honor to count myself among you again,” she said. “I appreciate your work, I appreciate your dedication. The work we do is an important responsibility, and I’m pleased to work alongside you in fighting the good fight. We get to immerse ourselves in the law and in our service to the people of Wyoming. We get to advance for this great state some wonderful legal arguments, and that is something you should always be proud of. And I’m proud to join you in that work.”

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