ESPC pushes civic participation, government accountability
The Equality State Policy Center is a progressive “think-and-do tank” that utilizes research, public education and advocacy to advance a cooperative program of work designed to establish and maintain accountability in state government and to substantially increase public participation in and influence over public-policy decision-making.
The ESPC’s programs fall into three areas: government accountability (open government, campaign finance reform, lobbyist reporting); tax and fiscal policy (mineral severance taxes, property taxes, tax breaks or incentives, economic diversification); and Wyoming working families (access to health care, minimum wage, gender wage gap, worker safety, quality child care).
Across all these program areas, the ESPC provides trainings for citizen advocates and lobbyists to boost public participation and civic engagement in policymaking. We also work to organize low-income communities, especially those home to concentrated populations of American Indians and/or immigrants, to encourage them to raise their voices in the state’s policy circles.
The ESPC’s election-year voter education and mobilization campaigns make historically un- and under-represented voices heard where policy decisions are being made.
The ESPC’s Mission
The Equality State Policy Center, a broad-based coalition of Wyoming interests, works through research, public education and advocacy to hold Wyoming state and local governments accountable to the people they represent, and to encourage and assist state residents to participate effectively in public policy decision-making.
Who we are
The Equality State Policy Center (ESPC), a Wyoming nonprofit corporation with 501c(3) status, is a nontraditional coalition of Wyoming organizations working together on state government accountability and citizen access issues and to increase public participation in our representative democracy by voting in elections and seeking to influence public policy decisions.
The ESPC coalition is nonpartisan but strongly advocates for its values in seeking a world of equal freedom and opportunity and security – for all.
Policy initiatives were begun in 1994 under the direction of Sarah Gorin, then the ESPC board chair. During the fall of 1998, Tom Throop was hired as the first full-time ESPC director. Throop retired in 2005 and Dan Neal took over as the new executive director. Bob Spencer, an Episcopal priest working in Rock Springs, represents Wyoming Equality on the board. He was elected board chair in December 2007 and re-elected annually since. Marcia Shanor of the Wyoming Trial Lawyers Association is vice-chair. Linda Burt, director of the Wyoming affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union, serves as treasurer. Thirty member organizations comprise the ESPC coalition.
For many years, the ESPC published the Wyoming LAP* Book (Legislative Accountability Project), a compilation of each legislator’s campaign contributions and voting record on key legislative issues. The ESPC continues to advocate on “good government” legislation, including Wyoming’s public records and meetings laws, campaign finance and lobbyist disclosure laws, and state tax policy and accountability.