I was born and raised in Cheyenne, Wyoming, the son of European immigrants. As a citizen of the United States, I feel I have been a very fortunate person—and I’ve dedicated myself to helping others get the same opportunities.
For nearly 30 years, I served communities throughout Wyoming and in South America as a Catholic priest, missionary, and educator. I am now seeking your support to be Wyoming’s next U.S. Senator. I would like to take back to Washington D.C. the Wyoming tradition of cooperation, respect, and compassion. I hope to meet you in the coming months as I travel the state, and look forward to hearing your concerns and to sharing my message of bi-partisanship and cooperation.
Here is a little about me, and I hope to learn more about you soon.
I grew up in Cheyenne with four sisters and a brother—in the same redbrick house where I live today. There I learned important values that I believe characterize what Wyoming is all about: respect for others, and working together.
My father taught me an old German proverb: with your hat in your hands, you can travel through all the lands. Meaning, if you show respect to others, tipping your hat to them, you will be welcome anywhere in the world. I have found that to be true.
My parents and neighbors also taught me about working together. My father hunted jack-rabbits when they lived in the country near Cheyenne, but when my parents moved to town, hunting was no longer possible. Still, neighbors would bring game animals they killed. My father butchered them on our kitchen table and his friends shared the meat with us. In summer, my father’s garden produced a bounty of carrots, lettuce, and onions, and I walked around the neighborhood with him, sharing food with others.
I would like to see these Wyoming values—respect for others, sharing, and working together—represented once again in Washington.
Another Wyoming value is hard work. While my father toiled long hours in Cheyenne’s railroad yards, I grew up working. I mowed lawns and delivered newspapers as a kid. As a teenager I worked at a children’s amusement park, running the rides. I washed cars at a local carwash and helped to mail out Wyoming Wildlife, published by the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission. I also worked for a few years at a Safeway store in Cheyenne as a carry-out boy, stocker, and cashier.
After attending Saint Mary’s Elementary and High School in Cheyenne, I earned a B.A. in Philosophy and an M.A. in Religious Education from St. Thomas Seminary, Denver, Colorado; a Bachelor of Sacred Theology degree from Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.; and an M.A. in educational administration from the University of Wyoming, Laramie.
I have also studied foreign languages in order to speak what I consider to be the most important—the language of friendship. I am fluent in English and Spanish, and have studied eight other languages (Portuguese, German, Italian, French, Slovenian, Russian, Latin, and Greek). I have visited over 30 countries.
During the twenty years I ministered as priest in the Diocese in Cheyenne, I served pastorally in the communities of Cheyenne, Laramie, Rock Springs and Casper. I was also the Superintendent of Catholic Schools in Wyoming and executive director of the Diocesan Pastoral Council. Then, from 1985 to 1993, I ministered in poverty-stricken areas in South America—living for most of the eight years in a pressed-cardboard-and-tin shack in a barrio on the edge of Caracas, Venezuela.
In 1994 I married a wonderful woman, Susana Gonzalez. We are no longer married, but maintain our friendship. Through Susana I gained a fantastic stepson, Carlos.
In recent years I have carried out inspection of personnel on tankers and cargo ships. As a writer and speaker, I have authored a book, and given over a hundred lectures in universities, colleges, libraries, and book stores. I have also worked as a substitute teacher at the junior high and high school levels.
My life experiences have deepened my appreciation and compassion for the struggles so many people face, here in Wyoming and around the world. It is their concerns which motivate me to run for the honor of representing my brother and sister citizens of Wyoming in Washington.
Today, as I run for the U.S. House of Senate, I also stay fit by running a few miles every day. My health has been good and I have been fortunate to never having to spend a night in a hospital as a patient. I was not even born in a hospital.
As I travel throughout Wyoming, seeing old friends and meeting new, I am reminded how beautiful the Equality State (and the Cowboy State) is—not just the mountains and rivers and plains, but our people. Often Washington’s partisan rhetoric pits people against each other, but I know in my heart that Wyoming values are alive and well: respect for one another and working together.
I hope to meet you in person very soon, to hear your story and concerns, so we can work together to bring this Wyoming spirit back to Washington.
Please remember: the seat in the U.S. Senate is your seat. Run with me.
– Charlie Hardy