|Minority Leader of the Wyoming Senate|
|Assumed office |
January 7, 2013
|Preceded by||John Hastert|
|Member of the Wyoming Senate|
from the 9th district
|Assumed office |
January 11, 2011
|Preceded by||Mike Massie|
|Born||October 21, 1972|
Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S.
|Education||University of Wyoming (BA, MS)|
University of Washington, Seattle (MS, PhD)
Rothfuss was born in Ann Arbor, and moved with his family to Marquette, Michigan, in 1976, and finally settled in Casper, Wyoming, in 1985. He attended Natrona County High School, where he graduated in 1990. Rothfuss then attended the University of Wyoming, where he graduated with a bachelor's degree in international studies in 1994; he then returned to the University of Wyoming, receiving a master's degree in chemical engineering in 1996. In 2002, Rothfuss graduated from the University of Washington with both a master's degree in applied physics and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering. Following graduation, he took a position as a Science and Technology Diplomacy Fellow with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and then joined the United States Department of State, working as the senior nanotechnology advisor within the department. After his family moved back to Wyoming, he began teaching courses in political science and nanotechnology at the University of Wyoming.
2008 United States Senate campaign
In 2008, Rothfuss announced that he would challenge two-term Republican Senator Mike Enzi. He defeated former State Senator and Casper City Councilman Keith Goodenough in the Democratic primary with 62% of the vote. In the general election, however, Enzi defeated Rothfuss, receiving 74% of the vote to Rothfuss's 24%.
When State Senator Mike Massie declined to seek another term in the Senate to instead pursue an ultimately unsuccessful campaign for Superintendent of Public Instruction in 2010, Rothfuss ran to succeed him. He defeated Jodi Guerin in the Democratic primary with 61% of the vote, and was elected without opposition in the general election.
While serving in the Senate, Rothfuss joined with Republican State Senator Hank Coe to sponsor legislation that would require "every Wyoming high school student to attend school through the 12th grade or until their 18th birthday, unless a parent agreed otherwise", which was prompted by the revelation that, although Wyoming spends nearly $16,000 per student, it has a low graduation rate. Additionally, Rothfuss suggested amending the Hathaway scholarship restrictions to "allow University of Wyoming summer school students to use the fund to pay for 3 credit hour classes." For the 2013–2014 legislative term, Rothfuss was selected by Democrats in the Senate to serve as the Senate Democratic Leader, and, because his party is in the minority, the Minority Leader.
- Todd, Leah (July 14, 2013). "In the nation's fifth biggest education spender, 1 in 5 Wyoming students will not graduate". Casper Star-Tribune. Retrieved July 16, 2013.
- Beck, Bob (July 16, 2013). "Lawmakers are told that Hathaway is working". Wyoming Public Media. Retrieved July 16, 2013.