Presented by Lapham's Quarterly and the Institute for the Future of the Book

Alan K. Simpson served from 1979 to 1997 as a United States Senator from Wyoming. Following his first term in the Senate, Al was elected by his peers to the position of the Assistant Majority Leader in 1984—and served in that capacity until 1994. He completed his final term on January 3, 1997.

Simpson is currently a partner in the Cody firm of Simpson, Kepler and Edwards, the Cody division of the Denver firm of Burg Simpson Eldredge, Hersh and Jardine, and also a consultant in the Washington, D.C., government relations firm The Tongour, Simpson, Holsclaw Group. He continues to serve on numerous corporate and nonprofit boards and travels the country giving speeches. His book published by William Morrow Company, Right in the Old Gazoo: A Lifetime of Scrapping with the Press (1997), chronicles his personal experiences and views of the Fourth Estate.

From January of 1997 until June of 2000, Simpson was a Visiting Lecturer and for two years the Director of the Institute of Politics at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. During the fall of 2000 he returned to his alma mater, the University of Wyoming, as a Visiting Lecturer in the Political Science Department and he continues to team teach a class part-time with his brother, Peter, titled “Wyoming’s Political Identity: Its History and Its Politics,” which is proving to be one of the most popular classes offered at UW.

A member of a political family—his father served both as Governor of Wyoming from 1954 to 1958 and as United States Senator from Wyoming from 1962 to 1966—Al chose to follow in his father’s footsteps and began his own political career in 1964 when he was elected to the Wyoming State Legislature as a state representative of his native Park County. He served for the next thirteen years in the Wyoming House of Representatives, holding the offices of Majority Whip, Majority Floor Leader, and Speaker Pro-Tem. His only brother, Peter, also served as a member of the Wyoming State Legislature.

Prior to entering politics, Simpson was admitted to the Wyoming bar and the United States District Court in 1958 and served for a short time as a Wyoming assistant attorney general. Simpson then joined his father, Milward L. Simpson, and later Charles G. Kepler in the law firm of Simpson, Kepler and Simpson in his hometown of Cody. He would practice law there for the next eighteen years. During that time, Simpson was very active in all civic, community, and state activities. He also served ten years as City Attorney.

Simpson earned a B.S. in law from the University of Wyoming in 1954. Upon graduation from college, he joined the Army, serving overseas in the 5th Infantry Division and in the 2nd Armored Division in the final months of the Army of Occupation in Germany. Following his honorable discharge in 1956, Simpson returned to the University of Wyoming to complete his study of law, earning his J.D. degree in 1958. He and his wife Ann have three children and six grandchildren, who all reside in Cody, Wyoming.

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