Randy Fetzer: Speaker of bills for the Wyoming Senate

If you’ve tuned in to discussions in the Wyoming Senate, odds are you’ve heard the dulcet voice of Randy Fetzer as he reads out bills to throngs of seated legislators.
A man sits at a desk in a fancy room.
Randy Fetzer sits at his desk at the front of the Senate floor. (Chris Clements/KHOL)

by | Apr 10, 2024 | Politics & Policy

It’s been about a month since this year’s legislative budget session ended, but Randy Fetzer settled back into his seat at the front of the Senate like it was still underway.

“This is my view of the [Senate] class,” said Fetzer. “It’s just spectacular. It looks very funny for me to see [my] desk cleared.”

As the Senate reading clerk, he’s in the spotlight while reading out bills to dozens of Wyoming’s most powerful political figures.

“Endurance gets really challenging,” Fetzer said. “When the days get long, the chair gets really, really uncomfortable. And for those of us here, especially the assistant chief clerk, and for me, we can’t get up and move around at all during the time that we’re gaveled in.”


But Fetzer’s job is purely as support staff, not as a decision-maker.

He keeps his thoughts and opinions about ongoing proceedings to himself.

As a reading clerk, he reads every bill number, title, sponsor and enacting clause for legislation introduced in the Senate, often several times.

For the last nine years, Fetzer has worked part-time as a reading clerk in Cheyenne. As he can attest, clerks must adapt to fast-paced, constantly-changing circumstances.

He’s often handed a bill jacket relating to subjects like carbon capture or abortion regulations, or even a letter from Gov. Mark Gordon.

“So those are completely cold reads at that point,” Fetzer said. “And I can sometimes get lost and forget which direction something’s going. It can move quickly sometimes.”

Then, he’s got to fire off the information to lawmakers with expeditious speed, while remembering to enunciate clearly and use good diction.

Anyone who’s sat in the Senate gallery and observed legislators as they debate, decry and defend bills has almost certainly heard Fetzer’s voice guiding the way.

Fetzer is well-known around the Capitol for having a mellifluous vocal style.

He was a radio host and news reporter for years in Colorado. And after retiring from teaching English at Laramie County Community College, he’s landed himself a gig here, in the Wyoming Legislature.

“One of my best friends on the Senate session staff just gives me constant heartache about people tuning in because I’m talking,” Fetzer said. “ I tell everybody, ‘Don’t listen to what Dick says.’”

To him, the admiration of his vocal abilities is reminiscent of a line from a play by Shakespeare.

“It’s a comedic line,” Fetzer said. “One of the characters, when he misunderstands some things that are being said, looks back at the person giving him heartache and says, ‘Ah, it’s the gifts God gives.’ But really, that’s just it. It’s just my voice.”

The attitude Fetzer tries to keep when working around so many politicians is simple: “Do the best possible read to help the Senators do their job. Try not to make a mistake.”

For the rest of the year, Fetzer enjoys singing as a bass in the local choir and visiting microbreweries throughout the state.

According to him, it’s much more relaxing than this part-time gig – but he says he has no plans to quit anytime soon.

Reporters, lawmakers and citizens will continue to hear his voice echoing through the Senate chamber.

This reporting was made possible by a grant from the Corporation For Public Broadcasting, supporting state government coverage in the state. Wyoming Public Media and Jackson Hole Community Radio are partnering to cover state issues both on air and online.


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