Joseph Meyer (Wyoming politician)

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Joseph Meyer
28th Treasurer of Wyoming
In office
January 9, 2007 – October 6, 2012
Governor Dave Freudenthal
Matt Mead
Preceded by Cynthia Lummis
Succeeded by Mark Gordon
19th Secretary of State of Wyoming
In office
Governor Jim Geringer
Dave Freudenthal
Preceded by Diana J. Ohman
Succeeded by Max Maxfield
30th Attorney General of Wyoming
In office
Governor Mike Sullivan
Preceded by Arch McClintock
Succeeded by William U. Hill
Personal details
Born (1941-04-22)April 22, 1941
Casper, Wyoming, U.S.
Died October 6, 2012(2012-10-06) (aged 71)
Cheyenne, Wyoming, U.S.
Cause of death Lung cancer
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Mary Orr (m. 1966-2012; his death; 2 sons)
Alma mater University of Wyoming (B.A., J.D.)
Profession Lawyer

Joseph B. "Joe" Meyer (April 22, 1941 – October 6, 2012) was an American politician from the U.S. state of Wyoming.


Meyer was born in 1941 in Casper, Wyoming. He graduated from Natrona County High School and was educated at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, from which he earned his undergraduate degree and then his J.D. He began his career as the Fremont County attorney before going into the private practice of law.

Political career[edit]

In 1971, Meyer returned to public service when he was selected to serve as the first assistant director of the Legislative Service Office in Cheyenne during the administration of Governor Stanley K. Hathaway. Meyer worked with lawmakers to prepare hundreds of bills, many of which became and remain state law.[1] Meyer remained with the legislative office until he was appointed attorney general in 1987 by Democratic Governor Mike Sullivan.[2] Sullivan expressed apprehension when he approached the Republican Meyer to be his attorney general: "I didn't know if he'd be willing to risk a promising political future by signing on to an untested Democratic governor. But he was willing to take on that risk, and I think that reflects his courage."[3]

In Wyoming, the attorney general is chosen by the governor and not elected. Attorney General Meyer forged an agreement with ExxonMobil over the determination of the value of the company's natural gas processing and transportation facilities in Sublette and Lincoln counties. When production began in the two counties began in 1986, gas price were low, and the method of valuation brought no taxable value to the state. Meyer hence worked to procure dividends to the state in mineral revenues.[1] After his tenure as attorney general ended, Meyer subsequently served as a special assistant for governmental relations and communications to the president of the University of Wyoming.[2]

In 1998, Meyer was elected Secretary of State. He was reelected in 2002 and served in that position from 1999 until 2007. The Wyoming secretary of state is also the acting lieutenant governor. He pushed for statewide voter registration so that the voting histories of Wyoming residents follow them whenever they move.[1] In 2006, he was elected state Treasurer. He was re-elected in 2010, having served from 2007 until his death in 2012.

Wyoming's state treasurer manages the state's $14 billion portfolio and is, ex officio, a member of the Wyoming Retirement Board, the State Loan and Investment Board, the State Board of Land Commissioners, and the State Canvassing Board.[1] Meyer was succeeded as treasurer by Mark Gordon, a former candidate for the sole seat that Wyoming holds in the United States House of Representatives appointed to the post by Governor Matt Mead.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Meyer and his wife, the former Mary Orr, wed on September 3, 1966. The couple had two sons, Vince and Warren Meyer, and two grandsons, Ethan and Devin Meyer, all of Cheyenne.[4]


Meyer was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2009. In January 2012, he missed several weeks of work for successful brain surgery to extract cancer deposits. He died of the lung cancer in 2012, aged 71, at the Davis Hospice Center in Cheyenne.


Governor Mead termed Meyer's death a "tremendous loss" for the state and ordered that U.S. and Wyoming flags be flown at half-staff, sunrise to sunset, for two weeks in Meyer's honor. Mead said that Meyer "cared deeply about his this state and its people and always put Wyoming first. His legacy of service is unmatched. He will be remembered for his wisdom and his wit."[2]

Former Vice President of the United States Dick Cheney, who attended Natrona County High School and the University of Wyoming with Meyer, recalled that the two had also shared a small one-bedroom apartment in Laramie. After Cheney was elected in 1978 to the U.S. House, he offered Meyer the chief of staff position, but Meyer told him, "Dick, I'll never leave Wyoming.... I wanted to be involved in public life and public service, but ... my future lies in Wyoming, and I want to be here for the state and the people of Wyoming."[3]

Former Governor Dave Freudenthal, a Democrat who preceded Matt Mead, said that Meyer "had the greatest public service record in recent history. He was a lifetime friend of Nancy and me and a lifelong friend of Wyoming." Mike Sullivan called him "a true son of Wyoming. As my attorney general, he provided me with support, friendship and representation as he did for the people of the state with extraordinary confidence and judgment. During his entire career he and his wife Mary served the people of Wyoming with common sense, good judgment, and good humor."[2]

A service was held in the state capitol rotunda in Cheyenne six days later on October 18, 2012, after which time Meyer lay in state until 6 pm A memorial service followed the next day at Cheyenne Hills Church, a Baptist congregation founded in 1992 and since located at 7505 U.S. Highway 30,[5] followed by a reception in Meyer's memory. After the body lay in state, it was cremated prior to the memorial service. At the memorial service, Governor Mead described Meyer's life as "a Wyoming story: a cowboy riding to his last day because it's not just what he does, it is who he is. He works to bring every stray cow to a better place. And in Joe's case, it was giving your beloved state your every effort and your every breath to bring Wyoming to a better place."[3]

On June 12, 2014, Meyer was named an Honorary Delegate of the Wonderful Wyoming Boys' State as a tribute to his service and involvement with the program during his time in office.

Political offices
Preceded by
Diana J. Ohman
Secretary of State of Wyoming

Joseph B. Meyer

Succeeded by
Max Maxfield
Preceded by
Cynthia Lummis
Wyoming State Treasurer

Joseph B. Meyer

Succeeded by
Mark Gordon


  1. ^ a b c d "Joan Barron, "Wyoming State Treasurer Joe Meyer's career arc left tracks", October 9, 2012". Wyoming Tribune Eagle. Retrieved October 16, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d "Trevor Brown, "State treasurer, longtime state official Joe Meyer dies"". Wyoming Tribune Eagle. Retrieved October 7, 2012.
  3. ^ a b c "Trevor Brown, "Cheney remembers Meyer"". Wyoming Tribune-Eagle. Retrieved October 24, 2012.
  4. ^ a b "State Treasurer Joe Meyer dies after battle with cancer". Casper Star-Tribune. October 6, 2012.
  5. ^ "Cheyenne Hills Church (Our History)". Retrieved October 15, 2012.