tv Oral Histories Women in Congress - Barbara Kennelly Interview CSPAN September 8, 2018 1:10pm-2:55pm EDT
barbara kennelly served in the u.s. house of representatives from 1982 to 1999. she was the first woman named in the house intelligence committee and served as chair of the democratic caucus. ms. kennelly talks about how to prepare for congress. she also describes her experience on the ways and means committee and he work to reform social security. the u.s. house of representatives office of the historian conducts the interview. it's about 1:40. my name is kathleen johnson with the house historian's office and matt wisniewski who is the house historian and today's date is september 9, 2015. we're in the
house recording studio and we are very happy to be with former representative barbara kennelly of connecticut. and this interview is part of a project we're doing to recognize and celebrate the 100thanniversary of jeanette rankin the first woman elected to congress. congress. the first question we wanted to ask you is if you had any female role models when you were young and what drew you to those particular people? a lot of role models, to tell you the truth. my father was state chairman for 32 years, democratic state chairman and he was national chairman to the administration of kennedy and johnson. so i had the good luck to meet many women and men, of course that were in politics and chase wood house was a congresswoman from connecticut. and she was quite special and of
course i did get to know her and ella grasso, as you know, was the first woman elected in her own right and i don't think she ever gets enough credit for that and she was -- of course i knew her very well. and what in particular drew you to those women that you mentioned? it wasn't i was particularly drawn to the women. living with the state chairman, my father, i met all sorts of politicians, adlai stevenson stayed at our home for a week with his family. john kennedy took a nap at our home. i lived a political life as a child so i had a lot of role models but i didn't think of it then. i just thought it was a great life to meet these famous people and i never thought it would be me and not famous but be in a role my
father always said -- he took us everywhere, to the picnics, everything. he always said if you behave you can come. i went to that first national convention in 1952 when i was 15. i was a page and four years later i went again as a page. my father and mother had three girls and a boy. any father's mother was the first commissioner in the city of hartford and my father had no thought that women were any different or less talented and so he -- wherever we wanted that's where we went to college. and ella grasso was -- i would say she was one of his best
friends friends. but in those days i didn't think i was going into politics. what influence did your mother have on your upbringing and outlook? i had a wonderful mother but i don't think she was going into politics. and then my father was in washington and my mother came to washington with him but she knew what a tough like it was. what kind of influence did she have on you personally? huge. this morning she said wear a skirt, don't wear pants. i hear her all the time. my husband's mother-in-law was an active woman in the city of hartford. she ran for the bord
ofard of education for years, she had a school named after her. she was the vice chairman of the democratic party in hartford for years and our first house was about three houses from hers and she's the one that really got me interested. she taught me how to register voters, how to get out the vote, how to run a committee room and she was the one that really -- and then i ran for town committee. it was the first thing i ran for. what was her first name? eleanor bride kennelly. and where did she learn these skills? sometimes it comes naturally. and she was a schoolteacher and education was her love. she did it 24 hours a day. very strong woman. you mentioned that you were in a political family and we've read about that and the influence that must have had on you but you said you didn't think you would have a political career.
i didn't. i was an economics major in college. i was under the harvard radcliffe school of business. i thought i would be going into business. i really did. but i got married and very quickly had five children. so any thoughts were -- but i became very, very active in my community. i was active in my church, active in the auxiliary of my hospital. i ran as president of the board, a large group of wayward children and so i was very active in the community. and when i was in congress young staff would come and say to me i'm would like to go into politics and i would say what are you doing here? go home, start running at the lower level. in those days you went up through the step ss. i told my husband when my youngest child went to school i was going to work. i had a b.a. and an m.a..
betty friedan, i was the perfect one that was influenced and when my son john went to school i was going to go go to work and i said that at a speech at wesleyan university and he was in the back of the room and he stood up and said "she hasn't been seen since." i was very active in the city council and i was vice chair for a commission for elderly for a number of years and i went downtown to the political boss and i said i'd like that vacancy and he said well you wouldn't run for the
board of education so it's not your turn for this and i don't know where i got the courage and i said well, i'll primary. and suddenly there were two vacancies and of course that was in the summer, in august. i got primaried in september but i won. but i won. and i was on the city council. i loved it. chairman of public safety and zoning. when an alarm went off, off we'd go. i loved it, i really did. and then for your house seat when you ran for congress, what drew you to that particular position. i was secretary of the state of connecticut and has been for four years, which is a delightful job but it's not exactly -- it's a -- day in and day out job. you control the elections and you speak about voting and i didn't feel i -- to
tell you the truth i felt a little bored and my predecessor died quite quickly and the seat opened up for congress and everyone said oh you can stay secretary of state forever and i thought i don't want to stay for secretary of state forever. and i announced for it and ten people announced for it and i really got it pretty easily. i've been so active in the community people know me. the former mayor of hartford who was very popular and gordie howe, the hockey player, his wife who was very well known. and it was quite a campaign and i said this is not going to be as easy as i thought saying it was a good race, she was a wonderful woman. she didn't know as much about
washington. she was a nixon appoint mentment. she didn't know as much but it was a fair race and i won. what type of advice did you receive adds you were starting your campaign. anything that stands out in your mind? a lot of advice. you always get a lot of advice but i never -- it was a joy, it was. you go from running in the city to the entire state. he is very orderly. much more than me. but all my friends gathered and helped me. and we had a very good time. my mother had a nice car, much nicer than mine, she loaned me her car, we traveled all over the state and had a fine time. secretary of state is a good job. it's a
constitutional job in connecticut. is there anything about the special election to the house that -- any memory in particular that stands out? yes. it was hard. it was -- you know, it's brand new talking about federal issues. and at that time our campaign was a lot about president reagan. she was a great fan of president reagan. and i wasn't and connecticut was in some economic difficulty. you ran against a woman, that was unusual for the time period. it was, but she was a good mayor, very capable i'd worked pretty hard so it was a fair campaign. how much did the issue of gender
come up in the campaign? very little. very little. ella grasso was very much in the picture at that time we had women there and you find if you have women -- one woman makes it, more women make it,. was fund raising a barrier for your campaign? not at the beginning. i represented the whole time i was in congress. you name it they were there but of course we didn't spend anywhere near what
we spend now. we didn't have to have that much money. were there any women's groups in particular that got behind your first campaign? supported it? yeah, i think definitely women supported me. that was a very active time. the second wave of women's movement affected me and affected many other women and so i think i got the result of that that. and she did, too. for people outside of connecticut that might not be familiar with the area, can you describe the district? my district was hartford. and the district has hartford which is and then was a poor city. it had these wonderful businesses
businesses. that was very different than my surrounding towns. beautiful suburban town so i had a very different district in two ways. how did that affect your campaign with having so much diversity in the district? there's where my father helped. my father was a very democratic man and he worked incredibly hard for the first jewish governor, the first black candidate on the ticket as treasurer. he was very, very active in the african-american community. they were very fond of him and he helped them.
how did this help your career? i ran in a special. i don't know exact lily what happens in a special. you and your friends come down and you get sworn in by the speaker of the house and they hand you a ticket and that's it. you get no preparation whatsoever at the beginning it was interesting. it was very interesting. i think it was government yops and
transportation. they just put you on something that has an opening. but i knew i didn't want to stay there. there. we mentioned before we started taping that we had photos we wanted you to take a look at. the pictures we have there. how did you make the decisions what you wanted to use for buttons and bumper stickers? we made those quickly because the campaign is much shortener a special election so i said -- i had wonderful friends, many women that worked and gave me their after-work time and of course i hired professionals, too, no doubt about that. the one campaign button that has
your photograph on it, one of the things we were wondering is why as a candidate you would do that, put your face on a button. and how important you thought that was? i think when you're running in a much larger area everybody in hartford knew me but in glass -- glastonbury and rocky hill, they didn't know me. and did you continue that once constituents were more familiar with you? i think they like to see you. i do. i've seen the picture get older and older and older. so the personal connection with your constituents? very definitely. one of the buttons that is in the house collection from one of your campaigns says "cops for kennelly." do we have that? do you remember that particular oh, i said i was chairman on the city council of public safety and that's fire and police and i always was very supportive of the unions. always. and they
knew it. and they continue to be when i went to congress. show shall we go on to the next section? sure. when you came in it was the 97th congress and it was a special election. you were one of 21 women serving in the house. i think i made the 21st. you were the 21st, exactly. since there weren't that many of you in the larger of over 400 representatives, did you find women gravitated? very definitely. when there's only 21 and that means 21 democrats and republicans the women's caucus started that and republicans and democrats met together. you knew the 21 very well. were there any in the group of 21 that you spent more time with?
oh, yes, linney boggs. she was beloved. and hale boggs and lyndy had been very friendly to my parents so she was wonderful. when i got to congress there was no woman on ways and means and no woman on preparations and we went to see tip, we set up a meeting to see tip o'neill tunnel, the speaker, and the 21 of us went and talked to him and then we left and lindy boggs said barbara, make an appointment with tip and go back and see him by yourself. couldn't have better advice. and i got on ways and means. do you remember any of the pitch that the group made to speaker tip o'neill?
of course, there wouldn't be women, social security, ways and means, pays for everything. social security raises all the money by taxes and then it has the audacity to spend half and the appropriations distributes all the money. did you mention that you wanted to be on ways and means. yes, lindy was on appropriations, she understood. for the women that you just spoke about, you just spoke about lindy. what other women did you feel a connection or bond with? i had two very close friends. one was geraldine ferraro and the other was barbara mikulski. we were very, very friendly. first trip i ever took, the three of us took and when geraldine didn't make vice
president, she told me victim her apartment, which was right on d street and -- but she said there's one caveat and that's if when barbara mikulski wants to stay overnight she stays with you because she always stayed with me. so i had known geraldine much better because she'd come to campaign for me when i was running but i got to know barbara very well and we stayed friendly forever. how would you describe the atmosphere when you were elected? was it welcoming to women? yes, yes. the house was -- i won't say happy place but it functions very well. there was a cordial feeling. i had many, many republican friends and republicans had many democratic
friends. it was a different atmosphere. but we've had that atmosphere that we have before and i'm not worried we won't go back to normal. normal. did you feel like you faced any particular obstacles or that you were treated fingerprintly as a -- differently as a woman? my first couple years were interesting.differently -- differently as a woman? my first couple years were interesting. there were fun things. and he said i never did that, oh, yes, you did. but after a year or so i never let it bother me. never. i wasn't one of those oh, poor me. and i loved being on the committee so they accepted me and i played golf. i had not played as much because my husband didn't play but when i got down there i knew we were doing tax before, take
out the golf clubs because they stayed on weekends because they worked an worked and that helped my. was it just a more relaxed atmosphere? no, 18 holes takes four hours. there is a lot of good talk. we talk about what we do. we knew exactly what was happening. and the more times you did something like that, did you feel if it was easier to relate to male members on ways and means. did they accept you more? it was silly things they did. one time working late and i wasn't agreeing on some things and i came in and they had the pizza and they said you can't have it, you're not voting with us. but that didn't last at all.
father was such a strong man and this was this and this was this. and the guys didn't intimidate me, not at all. that's the thing i didn't -- i didn't ever let them know. and when you don't fight, it's over. the women that you came in with, the group, like you said, the 21st. did they offer any advice or give you a heads up on how things might happen? lindy was wonderful, barbara was great. barbara and i got very friendly. we often talked on the phone on sunday and i had to take notes. she was one of the smartest people i ever knew. what kind of advice did she offer? do you remember anything specific? it wasn't advice, it was fact. what was happening. she knew, she had been there a while. and as i said, she's brilliant. you mentioned lindy boggs. what
are you -- looking back on her service in congress and her role as a mentor, what do you think the secret of her success was? one of the nicest people you can ever meet. very caring, very kind. and she knew -- hale had been there for many, many years. and as a supportive wife, she knew more about congress than she came than most people do. being the nicest person and knowing the most. and she kept -- she didn't keep it to herself, she gave it. and she was very aware of giving it to women. she had two daughters, she knew her -- one of her daughters ended up preston. over time different women members have adopted different approaches to serving in congress. some choose to work
within the system that's there and others confront gender inequalities frontally. we're curious to know which strategy is more effective. i think you need both. no one was better than pat schroeder. she set it on the table and said it the way it was and i picked it up. i wasn't going to be a as blatant. but we needed pat. we needed pat. did you feel that was a kind of a tag team approach? people have different approaches and she was perfect with the one liner. do you recall the media congress
that you received when it was a special election? there was a lot of media attention at home but not much here. just one more person 435 were already there. one more person was coming. there wasn't a lot. it was more attention when i became a member of ways and means so soon. what were the kinds of questions that you were asked as a woman in congress and also just even if -- when you achieved a first, a historic first or something that was influential in your career. i certainly got more press attention. talk about jumping in. i came -- had a real
improvement of ways and means -- excuse me, of social security. it hadn't really been looked at for many years, little pieces but the whole social security issue was redone and that was huge. so that took work. i had always been interested in social security because i worked with the elderly but that was a wonderful experience, but boy you had to study and learn -- so lucky i had a friend that new bob ball who was like the godfather of social security. and as i look back on my career, i was more of a process person than -- i had my legislation and i knew what i had to do and i knew i had to represent but i like that see the process work. now that i teach i look back and i teach politics and i realize the constitution -- the whole constitution of the first article is all about the congress congress. you mentioned the women's caucus. i want to know some of
with so few women. it was always the difference between pro-life and pro-choice. that separated us but it brought up that we felt equal pay and things like that. all that was back then and we came together on that chlt. but the nice thing is you got to know each other. what kinds of things did you work on outside of legislation. you said you got to know each other better. can you give some examples. some of the thing that hadn't been addressed today were on the table. day care for children. by that time more and more women
were working. and every other developed country has wonderful day care program because they know the mothers are working and the children should be well taken care of. violence against women. that was a big issue. and pregnancy leave was something we all agreed that would happen and even now -- it's been a listening time since then but just now they're talking about possibly paying those women when they have their six weeks of break which, you know, it took years, took years. most of the issues women had, many of them -- i was very active in has -- one of the things i'm very proud of was child support enforcement. me to have a man marry a woman and to have maybe one or two children and then decide he didn't want to be
married anymore and he walked off and there was no child support. and when i was secretary of state i got into that chlt. the last chairman of ways and means, dave camp and i work together on that. and i was very pleased when it would have passed. looking at the caucus and its successes, strengths and weaknesses. what role do you think it played in the institution? the women's caucus? women's caucus, yes. always good to get women together because women have lived life differently than men so i think it played an important role. i it's a good idea to sit down with people who have common problem s problems. we know that informal and formal meetings took place in what's called the lindy boggs reading
room. how important do you think it was to have that space reserved just for you. very candid conversations among yourself. it was a place to relax. you could have debate and friendship s friendships. when you have that few women with you, you work together. but i just missed bela abzuck and barbara jordon. barbara mikulski taught me a lot. anything else that drew you to them? yes, we knew each other well. some you liked better than others. and if there were a group of you
i didn't get on to ways and means. i had a run for ways and means. i always said it was one of the toughest elections i ever was in. there were 13 people running and it was a race and you had special people helping you and you had to count. and he said barbara, i'm going to help you because i don't want you to make mistakes. you have to get a yes, you can't make oh you'd make a good member of ways and means. there's so many ways for people to say it. so he was very
helpful and i campaigned very hard. i left a littleit willlittle boy in grammar school in sixth grade to come to congress. i wanted to make it worth it. my girls were in high school, one was beginning, a freshman in college. i wasn't going to be down here doing nothing. this was a big deal to leave home and so i fought very hard to get on that committee and there were three openings so that really had -- it was a race and you went at it and at it and at it and i won the first spot. and then ronnie filippo and brian dorgan won the others and we became very friendly. it was a great experience. but i'll
tell you, it was hard. when you say "campaigned," what did that entail? well, you talk to just about every member of your caucus, you try to go to a good reading on it and you try to tell them why you would be a good member and of course obviously you talk to the speaker and the majority leader and dan rostenkowski, who was not for me. that race is in my head. and there had been so few women who had served on ways and means and you were the only one at the time when you got on to it. i was the third woman in history. how important was gender? was that an issue when you talk to members? they'd never say it but i'm sure it was. ronnie filippo and byron dorgan were -- i can't remember the others but nobody was on there that wasn't a very good candidate. but no, i absolutely thought there should be a woman on that committee. did you have the support of most of your women colleagues in the
democratic party? i hope so, but you know, it's a secret ballot. you mentioned meeting with tip i know that lindy said yes because in a large group of 20 people, you can't take the mark on somebody. you really can't know what they're like and i think, you know, you ask me many questions and we talked, and you know, he was sizing me up. and he was for me, and jim wright was for me. danny was the only one that wasn't. you want me to tell you a story? yes, please. he was against me for political reasons. we had that unbelievable convention in 1968 in chicago, and abe ribokof made a speech against mayor dailyly
and he said this is wrong and the police are acting terribly, and you know, you don't do that to mayor daley when you live in chicago. so, danny never got over it. he had no interest in anybody from connecticut. but it worked out and i -- oh, i adored him. you know, we had a couple of years there when i grew to really admire him. did you win him over eventually? yeah. yeah oh, yeah. can you describe -- he seems like one of the old bulls who -- oh, yes. who carried over from the 1970s era and ran that committee. oh, yeah. can you describe his leadership style? oh, yeah. yeah. you knew exactly what it was. at one time, i had an -- i suppose the "wall street journal" or something, about
danny and women, and of course, obviously, i was the woman they were asking, and i said, well, something about am i going to change danny? i don't know. but i'm certainly going to try. well, he didn't like that at all. and then being such a representative, and i did represent the insurance companies. a lot of my work on the committee was that. and that's how i got some women's issues because i would -- you know, i would support people on theirs and then they would support me, but they knew one -- he spoke and he didn't often speak against an amendment, and i had an amendment, an insurance amendment, and i spoke for it, and he spoke against it, and it won. and they had a wonderful trip after that. it was down in africa, i think, and i didn't
go. i did not get invited, and i was in the dog house for quite a while because my amendment won and he had spoken against it. tough guy. you knew exactly where he stood. but that was typical treatment. that wasn't because you were a woman on the committee. oh, no, no. but he was not happy. and then a couple of years later, i got a call -- my husband never wanted to come to washington. he had his own law firm and he loved to travel. he had always traveled since a young boy, so he loved to go on the trips, and so he was a little disappointed. there were a couple of years i didn't go anywhere, and then one day, he called and he said, we're going, i don't know where it was, and he said, love you to go. and that was it. punishment was over. but you understood danny. you knew, you know, if you did what he wanted, you were in good shape. but you couldn't always do it. did you ever feel like you had to work harder on the committee
just to prove that you belonged there and you were just as good as your male colleagues. i had to work harder on the committee always, especially at the beginning. to do reform of social security, it was huge. it was absolutely huge. i had to do an awful lot of study, and then we went after the reform of social security, we went right into tax reform, and that was incredibly complicated. so no, you had to work on that committee, really did. but you know, when you pass legislation, you never know how it will affect in the long run, and when we were doing social security, and we did a big improvement in many ways, big changes, and we raised the age for full retirement from 65 to 67, and i never thought -- my daughter had just become a freshman at yale. when she became 65, she had to
go to 67. now, i never thought when i was voting on that it would affect my daughter to that extent, but that's how legislation like that passes. you don't have it go into something as controversial as that. you don't have it go into the next month or after it's passed or something. you put it off, and then you can add the numbers. you and nancy johnson were the only women on ways and means for most of your career. i think i was seven years as the only, and then nancy came on. what are your memories of working with her on the committee? oh, we were friendly before we came. nancy was a senator in the state legislature. my husband, of course, was in the legislature, so we knew, as couples, we knew each other. so, the press always used to try to
find ways to -- and we didn't play. we didn't bite. and we stayed friendly for years, and we still are very friendly. even though she was on the other side of the aisle, did you ever work with her on any particular legislation? yeah, on women's legislation. yeah. and you have to remember, in those days, you had moderate republicans, and so there were a number of issues that we agreed on, especially for the state you certainly touched upon this, but i just wanted to ask you directly how important you think it was to have women on committees like ways and means that were dominated by men for so many years. terribly important. you bring a whole new aspect. your arguments can be very, very different. you've lived life as a woman, and having been in social service for so many years before i went into politics, i knew so much about people who were disadvantaged. i knew a great deal about handicapped people. i certainly had worked with the
elderly, so these are things that men often hadn't done. many of them go -- an awful lot of people go from the state legislature, and i had worked at the city level in a very poor city, so yeah, i think it makes a -- women look at those issues much differently, and even on social security, i look at things differently. i understand it. i understand what it means to be a poor woman and have that as the only thing, and you know, we work so hard for housekeepers to get it and women bring a whole -- many, many ways, women and men are the same, and in many, many ways, we're very different. in 1997, you became the first woman to serve on the permanent select intelligence committee. 1987. yeah. it was wonderful. yeah. we're curious to know why did you want to join the committee and how did you
actually -- well, it's very much the same as i've been talking and i said to you that i got more interested in process, of making the congress work, and i noticed it was an elevator toward the senate side, and had a rope around it and i noticed people going up and down, and i finally asked, what's up there? and it was intelligence committee. so i investigated that, and what was the intelligence committee, and wasn't talked about much, and i had become very, very interested in the sandonista contra situation with nicaragua. my is second trip was to nicaragua and i was on the investigation of the six jesuits that were murdered so i was very interested in that, and intelligence, they were good in that one. i mean, ronald reagan was doing his thing, and his people were doing their thing, and there was an amendment that was absolutely not being looked
at and not follow, and i got very interested in that, and so i went to tip and i said, tip, you know, intelligence committee addresses life and death. war and peace. and i said, there's no woman up there. and he looked at me and he said, barbara, are you never satisfied? i mean, he just couldn't believe it. and i said, no, i think a woman should be up there. so he didn't appoint me. and then when jim wright -- i said the same thing. and he said, barbara, i think you've been an kpefrmexemplary congresswoman. i'll appoint you. danny was furious. he said, you're only supposed to be on one committee when you're on ways and means, but you could get an exception for select committee. and he was not happy. he was not happy. i loved it. i just loved it. now, it was just great. i learned so much about
the world. and of course they had had a little fuss, a little scandal about someone who said something on the committee, and so, i mean, the joke was i'd say to my husband, i'd love to tell you, but i'd have to kill you, you know? but you didn't say anything. you did not say anything. you came out, you went up to that room, and you came out of that room, and it was not an easy committee, because the cia and the people that worked in intelligence, they didn't want to tell you. i mean, they were in the department. i mean, you had to know what to ask. if you knew what to ask, they absolutely would answer you. state department would tell you. but if you didn't know what to ask, you got it -- you didn't get it. so you had to really poke around and do your work. that's a committee that requires a lot of homework, a lot like ways and means.
oh, yeah. yep. so, that's, i think, as i said, process was more my thing. is that something you learned by experience, just knowing what kinds of questions to ask and how to get the information you needed. you had to work on it. you really had to work on it, and a lot of things were going on before things went on. i mean, it's always something. you know, and sometimes people say, well, they weren't that effective, but they -- you couldn't tell the places that you were effective. in other words -- and then i also helped women -- wives of people that were in intelligence world, and they got no -- they didn't get any -- i can't remember if it was pensions or special -- they got nothing as a wife, and i did put legislation in to have them get fair treatment. i was always aware of i was always aware of being a woman. >> what kind of welcome did you receive on that committee is since you were the first woman to serve there? >> well, i think they knew i had
an awful lot to learn. very definitely. but staff in the capital and staff on committees, they're very good. they're very good. they know new members are coming in, and they don't know that much, and oh, i got friendly with one of the staff who i'm still friendly with and who helped me immensely, and then my -- i had a wonderful young woman from connecticut come to work for me here, and because i was an intelligence committee, and she got to know more and more about it because i had to do things, she -- when i left, she went to the intelligence committee and went way up and made a career out of it. >> lou stokes was chairman during your first term. what are your memories of his leadership of the committee? >> just a wonderful man. just a wonderful, wonderful man. he took time with me. definitely took time with me. >> you chaired one of the subcommittees.
how would you describe your leadership style? >> i always enjoyed being a leader, and i think that's where you see the way i went in congress. i was in high school, and my senior year, i was president of the student government, and i was vice president of the class, and i played christ in the easter play, and i figured i'd peaked, you know? and so i like leadership. i really did. so, i was -- when they expanded the whip after the tom foley became speaker and a lot of people were very unhappy with -- we had a horrible time over jim wright. it was very sad. and then tom came in, and members demanded that leadership be opened, and he appointed three whips at the beginning and then there was four whips, and a woman, an african-american, and a southerner, butler derek.
we never forget that one. and then a hispanic. and so we were -- and we had an office in the capital, and we had an assistant, and oh boy, were those the days. and unfortunately, we lost the minority after that and we went back. we lost those perks, you know? but that's what i started in leadership. and then i ran. always in the republican and democratic party, congress, they had, you know, the chairman of the caucus and the secretary. well, our side was always a little more forward, and they changed it to be the elected vice chairman, and i ran and i won. and i ran twice. yeah, twice.
but louise and i had one or two votes but i think i ran before that, and i know i ran twice because i was four years. but i loved that. i loved that. so, i like leadership. you know? >> we're going to pick back up with some leadership-related questions. we want to come back to vice chair of the caucus, but we wanted to ask you before that, you also served on the democratic steering and policy committee. >> from very early on. >> yeah. we'd like to know how that happened. >> well, since tip appoints the people on the steering people on the steering and policy committee, that's how that happened. and i served for years. >> did you have to make a
special pitch to him? how did that come about? >> no. just was notified that i was going to be on the steering and policy committee. i must have had a good meeting. >> it sounds like it. how would you describe the experience of working on the steering and policy committee? i don't think a lot of people maybe off of capitol hill know what that is. what does it do? >> it chooses people for committees, and it's very serious, and i took it seriously. i really did. and you meet and you discuss the people, and you decide who would be the best, and where they would fit in, and it had an effect on people's lives. what committee you serve on is very important, and you know, you never want to say i -- i'm so big and the ways and means committee and appropriations committee, but people get on other committees and they really burrow in and get totally knowledgeable and have a real effect, so you never want to say one -- there's only a couple of important committees. all committees are important. such a difference between the authorization and the
appropriation. people like nita worked on authorization, and an expert on it, and so you always -- people come very close to their committees, you know? and of course if you stay on a committee, it has a lot to do with your seniority. >> did you feel like the leadership at the time was looking to promote women and put them on committees, and was that something that you had a special eye looking out for? >> well, i think the women's caucus did at that time because that -- why did we make the appointment with tip? why were we talking among ourselves? i mean, we weren't truly represented in places that we had real interest in. >> tip's name has come up quite a few times. >> what? >> tip o' neil. whose name has come up quite a few times. how would you describe your relationship with him? >> good. he loved golf. and i had gone a number of times
up to massachusetts, played with him, and i will tell you one story. we were down in south america, and i can't remember which country we were in, and i had told him that i wanted to play, he was pretty good then, and so one morning, i skipped. they played every morning, and 6:00, and i skipped, and he said to me, barbara, you said you were going to play golf and i expect to see you there. i didn't miss another one. not at all. >> who was part of that group that played every day? >> tip could pick when it was a codel for tip. he could pick from all committees. i do have a golf story that was -- i went to china with john mertha and one other member. i should remember who it was. but john and i were the two golfers, and we played quite a
bit. we were -- one day, we went out and we were playing against two marines or -- and it was very hot. very, very hot, and we finished and i went into the ladies' room, and the woman came and had a big wet towel and threw it over my head and was very concerned. i said, what's the matter? she said, you have heat exposure, and i looked in the mirror and my face had blown up. she kept me in there for a while and things calmed down and i went out and i said, john, you know, you didn't tell me how bad i looked and that i had heat -- i was going to have a heat stroke. he said, barbara, we were winning. i'll never forget it. and we were. he wasn't going to tell me -- good i didn't fall. >> how would you describe speaker o'neill's leadership style?
>> wonderful. tip was an absolute leader, but he was a very kind person and he cared so much for the house. and also he had been there a while and seen strong leaders, ray david gregory rayburn and other leaders. he knew how to lead, absolutely, but he did witit with a wonderful manner, and people -- people followed his lead. it was no doubt about it. one of the few times i went but he did witit with a against it was when the marines got killed over in -- >> lebanon. >> i can't think of the place right now. when they were blown up. and geraldine and barbara and i had just been -- it wasn't jordan. it was right across from israel. lebanon. lebanon. and we had gone from israel to lebanon, and we saw -- went to
visit the marines, and they had had an explosion at the embassy a couple of weeks before, and you know, we saw the marines, and we came home. and they had -- i think it was 178 of them were blown up. and we had a vote on having people stay there or leave, and i think it was the only time i really went against tip, because he wanted them to stay, and he came up and he took hold of my hand and he said, you've got to vote with me. i said, i can't. i just can't. because we had seen how open it was and how they didn't have the adequate protections, and i just couldn't. but i seldom didn't. and the way he even asked you, it was -- he was a leader. >> and when you couldn't vote with him on certain issues like that, how did he respond?
>> he was a grown-up. i felt badly. i felt terrible. he was my leader. >> did you have a special new england connection, do you think, being from connecticut? >> yeah. i got very friendly with the massachusetts delegation, to this day, and we had a lot of common interests and had good friends. >> you also served under speaker wright and speaker foley, so how would you compare their leadership style? >> totally different. totally different. as a majority leader, jim wright was wonderful. he was a very -- as a member of congress, he was wonderful. he spoke as we all know beautifully. and he was a very good majority leader. unfortunately, when he became speaker, his personality changed somewhat, and it -- i wouldn't like to say it went to his head, but he changed, and he was more
dictatorial than anyone ever expected and he didn't have a particularly happy leadership, and then i always thought they made much too much of the book thing, but -- and i -- oh, when that happens, it's heartbreaking for everybody in the chamber. but then he had to leave. and knew enough to leave. >> what about speaker foley? >> very, very kind man. bright man. wonderful man. i liked him very much. i think he made a better ambassador than he did a speaker. i mean, he was perfect as an ambassador. he was a very good speaker, don't get me wrong, but he was almost too -- he could see both sides of a question. he was almost too fair to be a tough speaker.
>> you talked a little bit about getting into the whip operation. just curious about your philosophy for what makes a good whip. >> oh, you got to know if they mean it or not. they have always said -- it's like when you're running for a committee, you know, you got to get that yes and know it's a yes, and some of the members become absolutely professional on how not to say yes when you think they're saying yes, so i wasn't crazy about being a whip. i loved being in leadership, but i wasn't crazy about being a whip because you're bothering people all the time. you're at them, you got to tell me. they don't want to tell you. but a good whip will find out. >> do you remember a particularly hard piece of legislation or monumental piece of legislation that you had to whip for? >> well, there were many, but
the thing is you didn't whip unless you had to. and a lot of issues weren't whipped on. they weren't that important, especially when we had the majority, you were going to win it. but there were some issues that people felt very strongly about, and they didn't like to be bothered and you really had to whip them and go back again and again to talk to them and then you'd have to report. so, i don't remember any right now, any particular one, but there were so many. so many. and oh, i'm trying to think of one that was -- there was one when jim wright kept the machine open forever, and then the congresswoman from texas came running down, and i can't remember what that vote was, but that was a tough one. that was a very tough one. and i had a lot of bad feeling after it. >> did you feel like you learned more about the institution and about members being a whip, seeing a different side? >> oh, yes. oh, yeah. you got to know the members better, and you had to know the
issue. that was a very tough one. and i had a lot of bad feeling because they would -- some of them wanted to know the information, and some wanted to give you a hard time, make sure you knew the information because you were telling them what to do. yeah, whip was a -- a busy job. very, very busy job i can't say it was my favorite job but it was one way to get into leadership. >> how significant were these firsts and these milestones we've been talking about, the third woman on ways and means, the first woman on intelligence, a deputy whip. how important do you think those were to the institution and to you personally? >> i think they were very important. very important. when i left congress, i was vice chair of the caucus and there's no doubt if i had stayed, i would have ran for caucus chair. and the next woman who went into leadership was nancy pelosi so, you know, you open the door a little bit and the next one can
go right through the door. so no, you have to have firsts, and the firsts always don't make it up to the top, but they get the doors open. and i think it's very important to make those efforts, and you feel very good about it. you really do. and i loved being a leader. >> you made a push in 1989, you ran for democratic caucus chair against denny hoyer. >> that was not for real. that was not for real. oh, the man from georgia, oh, he was on the ways and means. one of the nicest guys i ever knew. there was -- it was some disenchantment with the leadership at that time, and eddie jacobs -- no, yeah. eddie jenkins. and it was like this.
i think that was during -- i think speaker foley's time. and some of us were a little not liking how leadership was going, but we weren't going to go against foley. so, eddie and i and a group decided that he would run against -- he ran for -- against gephardt, i think, and i ran against denny hoyer. we knew we weren't going to win, but we were making a statement. you know, i think of it often. i thought, i bet denny -- he's such a gentleman. i bet he thought, who the heck does she think she is but it never was any attention. it was just to show that we weren't happy with the way leadership was going. >> did you get a response from leadership? >> no, we lost so badly, it didn't matter. >> not the statement you were hoping for? >> what? >> not the statement that you were hoping for? >> oh, yeah, we made a statement. the statement was okay.
it was just -- we knew we couldn't win. we never thought we were going to win, but we wanted to make the statement. >> what do you recall about your campaign for vice chair of the democratic caucus, and particularly how you tried to convince your colleagues that you were the most qualified person for that position? >> you campaign like you always campaign. well, not real campaigns, but you go one-on-one, and ask for the support. and i was the chairman -- the chairman of the caucus was vic fazio and i was very friendly with him, and he was very helpful. we made a good team. >> you ran against louise slaughter. >> oh, yeah, that was quite a race. >> and there was a lot of press because it was two women running against each other. >> oh, was that a toughy. that really was. and i think that something -- i've got to research, because i'm quite sure i ran against her the second time.
and i can't remember who i even ran against. and louise and i ran against each other, and well, sometimes you get hurt in politics, and i always thought george miller was a very good friend of mine, and he ran her campaign. so, he wasn't that good a friend of mine. anyway, it was -- louise was very, very, as you know, she's still in congress, and she's very, very talented. but i was -- that was a tough race. it really was. and i think i won by one vote or something. >> it was really close, right? who ran your campaign? >> i think -- i don't think anybody ran my campaign. i was vice chairman. i thought i was going to go in -- like stenny didn't think -- you never know what people are going to do, but i don't think anybody ran my campaign.
>> did you enjoy that aspect of -- >> yes. >> of going out and convincing colleagues? >> i enjoyed being in leadership. i wanted to be in leadership. and then you realize the next woman that came into leadership a few years later was nancy pelosi, and she went right up. oh, wonderful. now, that was something i was so thrilled about. so, she and i went to the same college, and we knew each other before congress, and i've just been delighted at her whole service as a leader on both sides, and she's been -- she's done, i think, been fantastic. she doesn't get -- the press doesn't cover as a woman. covers her as a speaker or as the minority leader. i mean, she's really done the job. and though totally feminine and family and all. >> interesting, because you mentioned that, because you made
history becoming the vice chair, highest-ranking woman in leadership. of course, she became the highest-ranking woman in congressional history. both of you come from family backgrounds that are so deeply rooted in politics. >> catholic, the same college. yeah. >> and also families that were involved in politics. >> our fathers were quite friendly. we went way back. we went way back. but she's done a magnificent job. >> when you were elected democratic vice chair and you made history, you certainly had a higher profile in the house. what did that do for your career, and did that change your day-to-day responsibilities? >> yeah, i mean, we met -- the caucus met quite a bit, and once a week, and so you know, we were very involved, and of course we had leadership meetings once a week, so you know, there was activity. and you know, i was the lowest on the ladder, but given your
marching orders. >> and how were you accepted in that leadership circle, in that small leadership circle. >> oh, fine. i'd been there long enough. i never played poor me. >> you talked about your pride in seeing nancy pelosi move up the leadership ladder. the speakership. but just to step back and get your thoughts about how important it is to have women in leadership positions. >> oh, absolutely. because as i said earlier, men and women look at things differently, and some of the issues that are so important to us, like, as i said, day care, violence against women, some of those issues, health care, i mean, the issues go on and on.
and a woman feels stronger about them, i believe. of course i don't think nancy has got as much -- i think it's because she does the job so well, but as much fame as she should. when you think, she's third in line. if the president and vice president -- and they are together often -- something happened to them, she would be the president. and she handles the job so beautifully that i don't think she gets, you know, she became speaker, that's what she wanted to be, and she was going to be a good speaker, and when she wasn't a speaker, she was a minority leader and she's a party person and she's handled it beautifully. >> i wanted to switch topics back to very important event that took place for women members and women across the country, the clarence thomas and anita hill hearings. what effect do you think that had on the women who are serving in the house at the time? >> it had a lot -- because this is where we came together, so completely. had on the women who are serving i mean, some of us on the floor speaking, going over to the -- to the senate. it was a big moment.
it was a very important moment. and i talk about having admiration for women. anita hill, i mean, she was not the kind of woman that wanted to bring that attention on herself at all. but she was convinced that she ehad to say what she was going to say. and it showed. it really showed that there was still so far to go. that's what -- that's what i constantly tell my students, that yes, women have come a great forward in jobs and getting in leadership, but we've got so much further to go, so much further to go, and i worry terribly because the millennials don't feel that they want to go into politics, and of course part of that is that they don't teach civics in high schools like they used to. so, they don't understand the constitution.
they don't understand that the only way a democracy works is to have the people involved. and that's not taught to them. it's not taught to them. so, i mean, millennials, i find -- you know, they're wonderful people, but they don't seem to have any responsibility for the government of the country. and you know, our government doesn't work without participation of the citizens. >> to go back just a bit, quickly following on the heels of anita hill, we had the 1992 elections and what the press dubbed the year of the woman. >> i love it. >> because so many women were elected and the house, they basically doubled their numbers, almost. what factor or factors do you think played into that big spike in numbers? >> well, there was -- the economy had something to do with it at that time. and it was '92.
some of the reagan love and all that happiness, we figured out what the results of some of that was, so -- and also, the democratic party made an effort to get women to run, and oh, how -- now, i was vice chairman of the caucus at that time, and tom foley had himself and gephardt, myself, we wanted to cross to california and met the women, came back, you know, across the country, meeting, we were so thrilled to have more women and it was a very exciting time. and then the awful thing was, two years later, the congress went republican, so we were -- the excitement went just like that. and many of those women lost. many of them lost. no, it was a big high and a big low. >> did you serve as a mentor to any of these new women that came in?
>> yeah, to some, i did. loretta. i helped her. she lived with me for a while. and -- oh, yeah. i got to know -- while i was there, i got to know every woman. i was so thankful to people that helped me. >> what kind of advice did you offer these new women coming into congress? >> work hard and enjoy. two things. and you don't have to give too much advice, because they've been campaigning and they know what they want to do. but no, be friendly. be friendly and welcoming, like lindy was. >> given your experience and especially you were in leadership, were there any types of questions that you were asked by some of these people? >> oh, they got friendly with you. and you got friendly with them. and i made a particular effort while i was active to make sure i got to know them all. but i'll tell you, when a woman
gets to congress, they're very happy. they're willing to get -- take all kinds of advice and they just are delighted to be there. >> when jeanette rankin served in congress, we've done research and articles and there seems to be an inordinate amount of attention that was paid to her dress and her demeanor as a woman, and do you think that that changed over time, or did you still feel like the press or observers of congress judged women differently during your career? >> well, it wasn't as bad as when jeanette rankin went. i believe some of the reporting was, what a wonderful cherry pie she made. wonderful. you know?
but it didn't get that bad. but yeah, if a woman did something differently or they could catch something, oh, i mean, remember when mrs. clinton went to the senate and she had her cleavage. big article. and if you looked, it was nothing. absolutely nothing. and the outrageous things like that. yeah. that happened. and they will happen if a woman does something particularly different. i mean, when -- who was the first woman that wore pants? i think barbara maybe? >> pat schroeder made headlines for that. >> pat schroeder was the first one. that was a big deal. so, whatever. you know? yes, anything you do like that -- bella's hat. big deal. but to me, those are totally unimportant. what's important to me is to get more women to the congress. say what you want.
do what you want. >> because there are so few woman that are elected to congress, did you feel that you were representing to the just your constituents we women across >> yes, i was really in that second wave of women getting liberation, and as i said, i don't know how many times i read "the feminine mystique" and so of course i was, you know, just thrilled about any woman that was making it in politics. and i think most women that came into politics felt the same way. they had a lot of pride that they made it, and that's why they often were so helpful to see that other women -- i've spent a lot of time talking to women about running. i've spoken. i've joined groups. you know, to encourage more women to run, and that's one of the reasons i'm teaching. you know, i never thought i was going to be a teacher who wanted to be a teacher.
and my whole effort of being a teacher is to encourage young women to go into politics, and it's very difficult today. >> that just made me think of an article that we came across that you had mentioned not too long after you were elected the role that your daughters played on you in getting you more involved in the women's rights movement. is that something that -- >> to tell you the truth, it's funny you mention it, i mentioned it to my business partner this morning. i don't think that was true. i really don't. their father had been in politics before me, and he had had some disappointment. he was a wonderful legislator and was an excellent speaker, and then he tried to run for lieutenant governor. no, he tried to run for congress. and didn't make it. and he ran at convention and he didn't get the votes. so then he tried to run for lieutenant governor and didn't get it. my girls adored their father, so they weren't that big on -- so, i don't know where i said that but -- and i haven't seen any of
them go into politics. >> you mentioned -- i just want to follow up that you talked to a lot of women, young women, to encourage them to run for politics, and that there are obstacles to that. what are some of the obstacles that you see? >> one of the latest articles -- obstacles -- in fact, i get kidded at the university, because they say that i say constantly to the students, and i really want you to run. so, i guess i say it too much. but parents. parents want a woman to go to college and so many of them want to go to law school, and they don't think they're going to make any money in politics. and so, you know, it doesn't look like a long-term job to make money at. and then, of course, they always say, as so many people said all
through the ages, why would you want to get into that business with all the back and forth and sometimes very not good things said about each other, you know? so, it's good reason. it will be a little tough to get into politics. a lot tough. >> so, if you had someone come back to you and say, i don't want to run because of those reasons, what would your response be to try to convince them that it's worth it? >> well, if you don't run, somebody else might run and they might not be as talented or be as -- for the good reasons that you would run, and you know, don't get me wrong, there will always be people running. what you want is the best and the ones that are not in there for themselves but are in there for the constituents. you have if the good don't run, the bad will. >> looking back on your career, are there any women staff from your office or from some other
organization or committee or member staff in the house who you recall as standing out, being important? >> to me? i had a very good staff. very, very good staff, and they've all -- many of them have stayed in the business. as i said, one of my first staffers who stayed with me the entire time became quite well known and quite successful in the intelligence committee. and right now, rhea, who's with me this morning, is -- she and i are business partners in a lobbying firm, and she was on the hill. she was one of the chief tax people on the finance committee for 17 years, and then after i left congress, i ran a large nonprofit for social security, and she came to work for me, and you know, she helped me immensely.
she knew pensions, knew social security. so yes, you often take people with you, particularly, you know, i know many members of congress who are around town. often right with them is a former staffer. it's a very -- you know, they go to a big lobbying firm and take their staffer with them. rhea wasn't my staffer but we knew each other and worked together well. >> during your career, the number of women in congress increased. what impact do you think those women staff had on the institution? >> i just met one in the ladie'' room that i remembered from -- she remembered me from years ago. oh, i think women staffers have a great dedication to their -- to members or to their committee. and as i said before, when women
would talk to me about going into politics and worked here, i would say go home. but also, what worried me over the years was women are very would talk to me about going dedicated when they take a job, and they -- many women came to the hill and got into it. and you know, then went up and became chiefs of staff, and they -- i said, go home. get married. you know the hours here are terrible. and so if you go and work early in the morning and you stay until late at night, you're not going to meet unless maybe -- but that doesn't usually -- sometimes it does happen but not that often. i could tell you a story about one of the reasons that dan -- by the way, i adored him. listen, if you can't have a few fights with somebody, a relationship isn't worth anything. but anyway, i did adore him. but when he wasn't particularly happy about me coming on the committee, andy jacobs was on
the committee and he had married martha keys and then they got divorced and one of the arguments that danny used was, we don't want to have that happen again. and i took a good look at the committee. and i said, who would i want on that committee? you know? and so it's a great place. it's a great place. you all become very close. >> and you were married at that point. >> very happily married. >> martha keys wasn't married. >> very happy. i was shocked. >> we just have a few retrospective questions to wrap up. >> martha keys wasn't married. we know that you ran for governor of connecticut. >> you notice i never bring it up. >> all we wanted to know was why you decided to run for governor and to leave the house at that time. >> for all the wrong reasons. as i said, my father was very,
very part of the state of connecticut democratic party, and in my house, going to congress, even being a senator wasn't the biggest deal in the world. but being governor of the state of connecticut was. and i grew up that that was the important person. and we win the minority, and my husband had died, and took me a little while to -- long time to get over it. and i decided -- and i was being asked. i mean, i had been asked to run for senate twice, and i turned it down. but i was being asked to run for governor, and i took the wrong road. and the best day i had running for governor was the day i announced, and i was running against a very popular incumbent who had a lot of support not only from his own party but from my party, of which i didn't know. i had totally submerged myself
into congress, and i represented my constituents completely. but i didn't know the state and what their issues were. in fact, as i mentioned before i played golf quite a bit, and bill clinton, the president, asked me to go to martha's vineyard to visit him and we played golf and we had dinner, just six of us, at his house, and he said, i really had you up here to tell you not to run for governor, and he went into how he had run the first time and it was the runtime -- it was the wrong time and i didn't listen to him. and the campaign was not a good campaign. i didn't run a good campaign, and i lost big, and i regretted it -- to this day. i made a mistake. i made a mistake, but you make mistakes. and hillary came in for me twice, and bill came in, and we
were down in southport, martha, the cook -- >> martha stewart? >> gave me a party. and the president was coming to it. and martha was martha, and the president came in, in a helicopter, and they weren't ready. martha wasn't ready. she was changing all the seats, and she doesn't like me so i hope she doesn't see this. anyway, i went out to meet bill and the secret service took me out to meet bill and i walked across to that helicopter and oh, what am i doing here? where is my husband? and we got in the car and martha still wasn't ready, and so we drove around the town, and on every corner, you know, the people were all out, and he said to me, barbara, you know you're not going to win. and i said, i know. and he said, just keep your dignity and keep going, and i'll take care of you. and of course having been on
ways and means, you know, that , nice thought. and i thought, oh, you know, maybe trinidad or one of those ways and means, you know, that places, i could play golf. so, after i lost, i made an appointment to go down to personnel and they were talking to me and they were talking to me, and i left, and i went back to my administration, chief of staff, and i said, i don't know what they're saying. so the next time he went with me, and he knew what they were saying. i had been very active in social security all through my career, and he said he was thinking of doing social security, reforming it, and he would like you to be with him because you know social security so well. and i'd like you to be the counselor to the commission of social security. so i went there two years. i had the best time there. commissioner didn't like to travel. i had traveled all over the world with the congress, and jim and i, and outside the congress.
and i never really traveled in the united states. we had a beach house, so that's always where we vacationed. so i traveled all over the united states. i saw places you can't even believe because we have social security all over, and i made more good friends. those two years, i still have them, as very good friends. and then i didn't think al gore would do that well, and so on his political appointment, so i left, and i went and got a job, and it's -- i was right. he didn't win. and so then i stayed as a lobbyist for two years and then i went and headed up a very large nonprofit. but i should not have run for governor. that mistake, i know very well. in fact, i never mention it. i'm sorry you mentioned it. >> i'm sorry i had to ask.
>> it was not a good experience. >> there are now 108 women in congress. there's 88 in the house and 20 in the senate. >> you know, 108 is not 20% yet. >> but the question we have, and we've asked this of everyone we talked to so far, is how many women do you think will be in congress 50 years from now on the 150th anniversary of jeanette rankin? >> there will be a critical mass. the problem we have now is even if the republicans and the democrats went together, women, and voted together and pushed an issue together, they're not a critical mass. they couldn't do it. so, i'm sure by then, we will have that. >> and how do you think that will come about? what needs to change? >> oh, so much has become more equal. i mean, in school, we're equal. law school, we're equal. doctors, i think -- law school and doctors, we're more, and
it's -- we're moving. and you can't stop that kind of movement. and by then, of course, we'll have more of everything. and there's no doubt in my mind it will probably be equal. but these congresses right now have to behave a little better so the people who want to run, we all know that a lot of people are turned off. >> do you think that your political career and your service in congress inspired women -- any women to run for political office? >> at home, yes. yeah. yes, i do. and i saw how much i enjoyed it, and so i think so. and women -- i've had, you know, at home, i've had many, many, many women say, you know, i'd love to be like you, i'd love to run for congress. but will they? i don't know.
at least run. you know? even board of education. planning commission. there's so many -- what did i see, 600,000 positions in the united states, and the number of women are quite small. but look, we've got three women on the supreme court. we've come a long way. and then i have to say we have a long way to go. >> if you could offer a couple sentences of advice to a young woman who was thinking about running for congress or running for political office, what would that be? >> do it. you don't have to do it as a lifetime career. but it certainly will help your country and your community if you do it, and we have a participatory government. we need you. and you know, it's not like going into a religion where you have to sacrifice yourself. but really, it is a duty, because the constitution gives
so many -- go to war, collect the taxes, take care of the currency, all these powers, and the article 1 are the gifts to the congress. you have to have good people there and smart people. and that means you have to have men and women, so that's why my concern is that schools aren't teaching enough of why this government doesn't work unless people are involved in it. i mean, otherwise, the whole way we -- our forefathers set it up means that you have to be part of it. >> was there anything unexpected or anything that surprised you from your time in the house? >> yes, that i loved it so much. honestly. i don't think going into it i ever thought i'd be that happy. and i loved every moment of it. >> what specifically did you love so much about it? >> what? >> what, specifically, did you love so much about it? >> i loved representing the
people of the first district. i loved politics. and i loved being active in getting more women to be involved. and i, you know, some of the things that i did, the earned income tax credit was a big thing for me in ways and means, and it was making sure that people with children got a good tax break. that was so important. i did a number of things for families that made life easier. i have some regrets in social security reform. we have, for the first time, we had people pay taxes on social security, and we didn't adjust it for inflation. and now that should be changed completely because people who don't earn that much are paying taxes on their social security. so, you don't get everything right, but making life better for americans, what's better than that? >> okay. >> all right.
>> that's all of our prepared questions. is there anything you think we missed or anything you'd like to add? >> no, i think you were great. >> i wanted to ask you one follow-up question and that's because you mentioned chase going woodhouse who served in the '40s. do you have memories of her? >> i can see her. she was a businesswoman, and she worked right in hartford so i was able to get to know her. >> did she talk about congress a lot? >> oh, she loved it. she loved it. she was a wonderful person. and then of course we had claire booth from connecticut. and i didn't know her, really, but we all knew her. i mean, we all read about her and she was quite a -- a good model. quite a good model. >> you said you were good friends with elagraso. >> yes and no. my father and she were incredibly good friends. he was the party boss, and he was.
she was in the legislature, secretary of state for 12 years. she and he worked very close together. they were partners. he had been the legislature commission. he did put a lot of his time into the house and the senate in connecticut. she wrote his speeches. i ran for secretary of state. she had candidate she wanted very much. she had another candidate that she wanted not add much but second. we have conventions. we don't have primary. i was very late. i had to get out of the city council. i had been talked about running for secretary of state but i
wasn't interested because there was so much in this investigation. when i realized i had to leave city hall, the convention was coming up and i put my name in to run for secretary of state because i knew i wanted to stay in politics. she was very unhappy. i beat her twice on the floor. i had many, many friends in that convention. she was very unhappy about it. she called me at 6:00 and said your father would be very unhappy. i said if my father was alive, i would not have done it.
as a result, we do not have a close relationship which i felt badly about. >> politics. >> that's politics. >> woodhouse was the secretary of state as well. >> she was a wonderful woman. wonderful woman. just a delight. >> she has got a great oral history of the library of congress. thank you so much for your time. minute of every congress and i love to talk about it. you for sharing that with us. we appreciate it. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] sunday at 4:00u for sharing 1933 army film-- on the commander of the expeditionary forces during the great war.
up a great tribute to our officers and soldiers of the line. when i think of their heroism, i'm full but emotion which i am unable to express. pershing was decorated by nine foreign governments as well as his own country. announcer 1: watch railamerica on sunday at 4:00 eastern on c-span three. tonight on lectures in history, university of texas at austin professor madalyn chu teaches a class on the 1965 immigration act and current immigration demographics. here's a preview. madeline: when we talk about push for immigration reform which people agree generally is needed, there is a significant group who think that we need to lower the numbers of immigrants once again.
what we then have to do is think about what categories of legal immigrants would be cut, how can we actually reduce the numbers, so i show you this in order to help you process these are the kinds of choices and priorities that people are trying -- we're having protracted struggles about this. another thing i hope you have gotten from what we talked about so far is that immigration totriction is very difficult pass. difficult to get enough consensus around the conditions because people feel strongly about what kinds of immigrants and relationships should be encouraged and preserved. it is also about projecting into our future. who we admit now can shape the future of the country, so we
have a set of difficult choices. announcer 2: you can watch the entire lecture with madeline hsu 8:00 p.m. and midnight tonight. that is on our weekly series lectures in history, taking your inside college classrooms only on american history tv. sunday night on afterwards, former obama administration education secretary arne duncan on his book house rules work. he was interviewed by the former chancellor of the district of columbia public schools. >> i don't know if voters make the connection between what politicians do and what happens in schools. how do we draw that line and little more clearly? >> we need voters to understand if we want to pay our teachers reduce if we want to drop-off rates, make college affordable, we have to get there by challenging every elected
officials who we put in office. afterwards: watch sunday night at 9:00 eastern on book tv. next, ann todd talks about her book, "oss oper ation blackmail" which can i kohl's 18 months of psychological warfare in china, burma, and india during world war ii. the national world war ii museum in new orleans hosted this event. it is just over one hour. good evening, ladies and gentlemen. welcome to the national world war ii museum. i would like to offer a special welcome to those watching us on livestream and c-span. this is being broadcast on c-span. i like to welcome everyone