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Oral History Project | Women of the Senate

Nancy Kassebaum Baker U.S. Senator from Kansas (1978–1997)

Nancy L. Kassebaum (R-KS)

Elected to the Senate in 1978, Nancy Kassebaum was the only woman senator when she took office. By the time she left office in 1997, the number of women in the Senate had grown to nine. Known for her moderate but independent stand on issues, Kassebaum worked tirelessly on policies such as reducing the budget deficit, international arms control, ending apartheid in South Africa, and reforming liability laws related to general aviation. In her last term, she chaired the Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources—only the second woman to chair a Senate standing committee. Kassebaum retired in 1997, but she remains an influential role model for women seeking elective office.

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Scholarly citation: "Nancy Kassebaum Baker, U.S. Senator from Kansas, 1978–1997," Oral History Interview, August 17, 2017, Senate Historical Office, Washington, D.C.

Disclaimer: The Senate Historical Office has a strong commitment to oral history as an important part of its efforts to document institutional change over time. Oral histories are a natural component to historical research and enhance the archival holdings of the Senate and its members. Oral histories represent the personal recollections and opinions of the interviewees, however, and should not be considered as the official views or opinions of the U.S. Senate, of the Senate Historical Office, or of other senators and/or staff members. The transcripts of these oral histories are made available by the Senate Historical Office as a public service.