World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Nancy Kassebaum

Nancy Kassebaum
United States Senator
from Kansas
In office
December 23, 1978 – January 3, 1997
Preceded by James B. Pearson
Succeeded by Pat Roberts
Personal details
Born Nancy Landon
(1932-07-29) July 29, 1932
Topeka, Kansas
Nationality American
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Philip Kassebaum (1956–1979; divorced)
Howard Baker (1996–2014; his death)
Alma mater University of Kansas
University of Michigan
Religion Episcopalian

Nancy Landon Kassebaum Baker (born July 29, 1932) is an American politician who represented the State of Kansas in the United States Senate from 1978 to 1997. She is the daughter of Alf Landon, who was Governor of Kansas from 1933 to 1937 and the 1936 Republican nominee for president, and the widow of former Senator and diplomat Howard Baker. She was the first woman ever elected to a full term in the Senate without her husband having previously served in Congress.[1]


  • Early life 1
  • U.S. Senate 2
    • Elections 2.1
    • Tenure 2.2
  • Personal life 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Early life

Baker was born Nancy Landon in Topeka, Kansas, the daughter of Theo (née Cobb) and Governor Alf Landon.[2] She attended Topeka High School and graduated in 1950. She graduated from the University of Kansas in Lawrence in 1954, where she was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta. In 1956 she received a master's degree in diplomatic history from the University of Michigan, where she met her first husband, Philip Kassebaum, whom she married in 1956. They settled in Maize, Kansas, where they raised four children. [3]

She worked as vice president of Kassebaum Communications, a family–owned company that operated several radio stations. In 1975, Kassebaum and her husband were legally separated; their divorce became final in 1979. She worked in Washington, D.C., as a caseworker for Senator James B. Pearson of Kansas in 1975; however, Kassebaum returned to Kansas the following year.[4]

U.S. Senate


She was the first woman ever elected to a full term in the Senate without her husband having previously served in Congress, and the second woman elected to a U.S. Senate seat without it being held first by her husband (Margaret Chase Smith of Maine was first elected to the House of Representatives to fill her husband's vacancy, but later won a Senate election), nor appointed to complete a deceased husband's term. She was also the first woman to represent Kansas in the Senate.

At the time that she entered the race, Kassebaum was legally separated from her husband Philip, but not yet divorced. She chose to use the name Nancy Landon Kassebaum in order to capitalize on the political fame of her father.[5] She defeated eight other Republicans in the 1978 primary elections to replace retiring Republican James B. Pearson and then defeated former Democratic Congressman Bill Roy (who narrowly lost a previous election bid to Kansas's junior senator, Bob Dole, in 1974) in the general election. After her first few years in office, "her maiden name was used less and less as the senator established her own credibility and credentials as a federal lawmaker", and for the rest of her political career, she was primarily known as Nancy Kassebaum.[6] She was re-elected to her Senate seat in 1984 and 1990, but did not seek re-election in 1996.


Kassebaum is a moderate-to-liberal Republican who is known for her health care legislation, known as the Kennedy-Kassebaum Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which was co-sponsored by Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy, a Democrat. She was also active in foreign policy. She expressed strong support of anti-apartheid measures against South Africa in the 1980s and traveled to Nicaragua as both an election observer and to encourage diplomatic resolutions to the conflict between the Contras and the Sandinistas.

Early in her career, she was tapped to serve as Temporary Chairperson of the 1980 Republican National Convention. Presiding over the first two days of the convention, her appointment to that role was seen by many as a nod from the Reagan campaign to the moderate and liberal wings of the party.

Kassebaum voted to confirm Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court in 1991, a vote she would later come to regret, expressing disappointment in his performance.[7] The year after the hearings, she noted, "I was never once asked by anyone at the White House or by any of my colleagues about how I reacted to Anita Hill's public public allegations of sexual harassment or how I thought the allegations should be handled".[8]

In 1991, Kassebaum was mentioned by Dan Quayle was not the Republican vice-presidential candidate in the 1992 U.S. presidential election.[9]

Personal life

She is an Advisory Board member for the Partnership for a Secure America, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to recreating the bipartisan center in American national security and foreign policy.

In 1996, she married former U.S. Senator Howard Baker, Jr. of Tennessee. He died in 2014.

Her son, William Kassebaum, is a former member of the Kansas House of Representatives. Her other son, filmmaker Richard Kassebaum, died of a brain tumor August 27, 2008 at the age of 47.

As of 2015, she currently resides at a family ranch near Burdick, Kansas.[10]

See also


  1. ^ Of the female Senators who preceded Kassebaum: Rebecca Latimer Felton (D-GA), Rose McConnell Long (D-LA), Dixie Bibb Graves (D-AL), Vera C. Bushfield (R-SD), Eva Bowring (R-NE), Elaine S. Edwards (D-LA), Muriel Humphrey (D-MN), Maryon Pittman Allen (D-AL) were all appointed and were never elected; Gladys Pyle (R-SD) and Hazel Abel (R-NE), were elected, but not to full terms (i.e., to complete terms where the previous senator had died or resigned, not to new six-year terms); Hattie Caraway (D-AR) and Maurine Brown Neuberger (D-OR) were both elected to full six-year terms, but their husbands had held the seat previously. Margaret Chase Smith's (R-ME) husband never served in the Senate, but he did serve in the House. When he died, Margaret won the ensuing election. Of the appointed senators, Long, Bushfield, Humphrey, and Allen were all appointed to fill out part of the terms of their deceased husbands, while Graves and Edwards were appointed by their husbands, the Governor of their states at the time. However, Kassebaum's father means that the first woman to be elected without any family connections was Paula Hawkins (R-FL), elected in 1980.
  2. ^ Nancy Kassebaum and Howard Baker - New York Times
  3. ^ women in congress: Nancy Landon Kassebaum
  4. ^,-Nancy-Landon-(K000017)/
  5. ^ "Nancy Landon Kassebaum Intends To Use Dad's Name", The Fort Scott Tribune (March 22, 1978), p. 4.
  6. ^ "Salute To Senator: Her Retirement Came As No Surprise, But Sen. Nancy Kassebaum Still Will Be Missed By Kansans", Lawrence Journal-World (November 21, 1995).
  7. ^ "Kassebaum regrets vote for Thomas". Knight-Rider News Service. May 27, 1995. Retrieved May 10, 2015. 
  8. ^ Reported in Wendy Kaminer, "Crashing the Locker Room", The Atlantic (July 1992), Vol, 270, p. 59-60.
  9. ^ Time Covers - The 90'S - Hosted by Google
  10. ^ Former senator Nancy Landom Kassebaum calls Flint Hills home; Marion County Record; September 30.

External links

  • Congressional Biography
  • Kassebaum, Nancy Landon. To Form a More Perfect Union Presidential Studies Quarterly 18 (Spring 1988): 241-49.
  • Marshall-White, Eleanor (1991). Catalysts for Change: Interpretive Biographies of Shirley St. Hill Chisholm, Sandra Day O’Connor, and Nancy Landon Kassebaum, Vantage Press, ISBN 0-533-09130-6
United States Senate
Preceded by
James B. Pearson
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Kansas
Served alongside: Bob Dole, Sheila Frahm, Sam Brownback
Succeeded by
Pat Roberts
Political offices
Preceded by
Ted Kennedy
Chairman of the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee
Succeeded by
Jim Jeffords
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.