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Teno Roncalio

Teno Roncalio
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wyoming's At-large district
In office
January 3, 1971 – December 30, 1978
Preceded by John S. Wold
Succeeded by Dick Cheney
In office
January 3, 1965 – January 3, 1967
Preceded by William Henry Harrison
Succeeded by William Henry Harrison
Personal details
Born (1916-03-23)March 23, 1916
Rock Springs, Wyoming
Died March 30, 2003(2003-03-30) (aged 87)
Cheyenne, Wyoming
Political party Democratic
Residence Rock Springs, Wyoming
Alma mater University of Wyoming

Teno Roncalio (March 23, 1916 - March 30, 2003) was a Democratic politician from Wyoming who served in the United States House of Representatives from 1965 to 1967, and again from 1971 until 1978.


  • Early life and education 1
  • First term in Congress 2
  • Return to Congress 3
  • Later life and death 4
  • References 5
  • Additional resources 6

Early life and education

Roncalio was born to an Italian immigrant family in Rock Springs, Wyoming. His father Frank Roncalio was a coal miner who made extra money as a junk salesman. His mother Ernesta was a homemaker. During World War II, he served in the U.S. Army and was awarded a Silver Star for gallantry in the Normandy invasion.

In 1947, Roncalio graduated from the University of Wyoming. He served as the prosecuting attorney for Laramie County from 1950 to 1956. In 1957, he was elected as chairman of the Wyoming Democratic Party. Roncalio also was chosen as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1956, 1960, 1964, and 1968. As Chairman of the Wyoming delegation to the 1960 Convention, he cast the deciding votes that won John F. Kennedy the nomination for President.

First term in Congress

In 1964, he narrowly defeated Republican Rep. William Henry Harrison to win Wyoming's at-large congressional seat. Roncalio gave up the seat two years later to become the Democratic nominee for United States Senate. He was edged out in that race by Republican Governor Clifford P. Hansen.

Return to Congress

In 1970, when Wyoming's House seat became open again, Roncalio ran again for his old job, winning by just 608 votes. He was re-elected narrowly in 1972, but by a wider margin in 1974, when he defeated Thomas F. Stroock, and again in 1976.

During his time in Congress, Roncalio worked to increase Wyoming's share of federal mineral royalties, and championed numerous conservation initiatives, while consistently advocating a sensible balance between environmental concerns and responsible resource development.[1]

He casually announced his plans to leave politics at a 1977 football game,[2] and did not run for re-election in 1978. He was succeeded by Republican Dick Cheney.

Later life and death

Roncalio then returned to Wyoming, where he served as Special Master in Wyoming's Big Horn adjudication of Indian Water Rights until 1982.

Roncalio died of congestive heart failure in 2003, and is interred in Cheyenne. The post office in Rock Springs, Wyoming, is named in his honor. As of 2015, he was the last Democrat to have served Wyoming in Congress.


  1. ^ John Gingles, "Accidents of Luck - A Personal Memoir", Washington, D.C. - 2007.
  2. ^ Cheney, Dick (October 22, 2013). Heart: An American Medical Odyssey. Scribner. p. 13. Retrieved May 12, 2015. 

Additional resources

  • Congressional Biography
  • United States House of Representatives. Office of the Clerk. Election Information
  • Wire Reports. "Teno Roncalio, 87; Served Five Terms as Wyoming Congressman." Los Angeles Times. 27 April 2003. p B-18.
  • T.R. Reid. "Republican Candidates Thrive in Rich, Uncluttered Wyoming." 29 August 1978. Washington Post. p A2.
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
William Henry Harrison (R)
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wyoming's at-large congressional district

January 3, 1965 – January 3, 1967
Succeeded by
William Henry Harrison (R)
Preceded by
John S. Wold (R)
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wyoming's at-large congressional district

January 3, 1971 – December 30, 1978
Succeeded by
Dick Cheney (R)
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