BREAKING: Senator Phil Nicholas Will Not Seek Another Term [VIDEO]
Senate President Phil Nicholas will retire from the Wyoming Legislature at the end of his current term.
Nicholas, 61, made the announcement at his law office in Laramie's historic Charles E. Blair house at 9:30 a.m. Thursday.
"I wanted to get that notification out so others could make their plans to run for the office," said Nicholas. "It's been a wonderful twenty years."
Nicholas said he expects Rep. Glenn Moniz (R-Albany) to run for his Senate seat when he leaves office.
Nicholas is committed to finishing his term, which will last another year, and looks forward to working hard to finish projects such as the Capitol renovation project.
The senator reflected Thursday on his accomplishments throughout his legislative career including helping establish the Legislative Stabilization Reserve Account, devoting coal lease bonus and some federal mineral royalties to K-12 schools in Wyoming, developing the Business Ready Community program and setting up the Hathaway Scholarship program.
"I wanted to thank, of course, the voters of Albany County for giving me the opportunity to represent them for the last twenty years," said Nicholas.
Nicholas described three phases of his legislative career: joining the House in 1997 and facing reduced state revenues as mineral resources declined, the budget surplus in the early 2000s resulting from innovations such as the extraction of coal bed methane, and finally the past two years in which the Legislature has again focused the budget on a shrinking revenue base.
Nicholas, an Albany County Republican, served with three governors over the course of his career, as well as 90 legislators at any given time. He was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1997 and served there until 2004. In 2005, Nicholas went to the Wyoming Senate to represent the 10th District. Nicholas was Senate vice president from 2011 to 2012 and majority floor leader from 2013 to 2014 before he became Senate president in 2015.
During his time in the Wyoming Legislature, Nicholas served on many standing and interim committees including appropriations; judiciary; revenue; travel, recreation and wildlife, and the Rules and Procedures Committee. Nicholas was chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and served in that group for 10 years. He helped establish Wyoming’s Circuit Courts and modify the statewide court system as part of the Judicial Reorganization Committee.
Nicholas is currently co-chairman of the Laramie Beautification Committee. He previously served on the Albany County Hospital Board of Trustees, the Laramie Area Chamber of Commerce Board, the Albany County Planning Commission and the Laramie Economic Development Corporation.
Nicholas earned a bachelor’s of science in microbiology from Oregon State University before he obtained his Juris Doctor from the University of Wyoming Law School in 1979. He clerked for a Wyoming District Court judge, then served as Assistant Attorney General for two years before entering general practice in Laramie in 1982.
His brother Bob Nicholas represents Cheyenne's 8th District in the Wyoming House.
Nicholas lives in Laramie with his wife Karen and their four children.