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November 07, 1976 - Image 3

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1976-11-07

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page four
looking back
page five-books
November 7, 1976

Number 9

Editor: Stephen Hersh

Associate Editors: Ann Marie Lipinski, Elaine Fletcher

Sexism in politics:




LEAVENWORTH, Kan. - Amid the wheatfields of
Kansas, it is believed that a woman's place is in
her husband's state - or so claimed Republican Ross
Freeman, in his unsuccessful campaign for the U. S.
Congress against incumbent Democrat Martha Keys.
But the voters in this district took a sharply different
stance last Tuesday. An upset victory for Keys returned
her to the House despite Freemah's charges that her
recent marriage to Indiana Rep. Andrew Jacobs made
her a resident of his home state.
In 1975 Keys divorced her, husband of 26 years,
Samuel Keys, dean of the school of education at Kan-
sas State University. In January, she married Andrew
Jacobs, a Democrat from Indiana. Never before had
there been a marriage between members of Congress.
But if her marriage was the first of its kind, her
getting a divorce certainly wasn't unique, especially
in Kansas political circles. Sen. Robert Dole, this year's
GOP candidate for vice-president, obtained a divorce
recently. Kansas Gov. Robert Bennett is divorced, as
is Attorney General Curt Schneider. Still, the issue of
divorce is sensitive in this conservative state, and the
double standard dies hard when the candidate is a
Neither history nor public opinion were on Keys,
side in the final weeks of the race. Though her district
includes parts of Kansas City and Topeka, the gener-
ally more Republican small towns and farming areas
were also well represented. Only one other Kansas wo-
man had served in Congress before Keys, and that was
in 1932. To oppose a man in any congressional race was
thus bound to arouse some controversy; to be divorced
and remarried to an out-of-state resident provided a
major obstacle to success.
Two weeks before the election a Wichita television
station poll had shown Freeman5s lead to be increasing
from 54-35 to 56-33.
Meanwhile Keys continued camn'aigning despite an
often distinctly cool response: many of her constitu-
ents could not even pin down the vague feeling of un-
easiness that Keys' marriage brought to the fore. Said
"'As far as I'm concerned, a wo-
man's home is with her husband.
And for Martha Keys that means In-
diana-so what's she doing here?"'
Topeka housewife Elva Baker, when asked if she re-
sented Keys for her divorce and remarriage, "You bet
I do I won't vote for her this year. I can't tell you
why, that's just how I feel."
Out on the campaign trail in the small farming
town of Auburn, Keys dropped by a women's softball
game hoping to garner a few supporters. As she moved
down the batting lineup, the players shook her hand
but offered few smiles or expressions of support. "As
far as I'm concerned, a woman's home is with her hus-
band," grumbled a young infielder. "And for Martha
keys that means Indiana - so what's she doing here?"
Rep. Keys' personal life was an issue, Freeman
maintained, "because it raised the question of her loy-
alty to Kansas." However, he denied that the charge
had any sexist foundations. "It's not a question ad-
dressed to a woman, it's a question addressed to an
individual who is a candidate for public office."
"The days of thinking a wife is a carbon coy of
her husband are over," Keys responded. "It's no crime
to be married to someone from Indiana, but don't let
anyone ever tell you I'm not a Kansan. I don't think
people hold it against me that I'm happily married."
TN A LARGE SENSE, the debate. about divorce, and
subsequent charges and counter-claims about
campaign financing'that> grew from that brouhaha, ob-
scured the very deep philosophical difference that di-
vided the candidates. Freeman presented himself as a
candidate interested in arresting the growth of the
federal government. He opposed increased sending for
social services, and favored an end to government
regulation of business. He also backed a strong national

Keys, although she dislikes the term, probably for
political reasons, fits the mold of a Democratic liberal.
She favors such measures as ending tax loopholes for
the wealthy and for corporations, and reducing unem-
ployment through public works jobs bills.
However, in appearances throughout the state
Keys was forced time and again to put those issues
aside in order to defend her marriage.
Even before friendly audiences, such as a Kansas
chapter of the National Education Association, which
endorsed her, she felt compelled to lead off with a
defense of her marriage. "I don't think people hold it
against me that I'm hannily married," she repeated.
But before this aroun she paused slightly before saving

WHILE THE LAST seats in the
concert hall empty out and
the lobby slowly fills with smoke
and post-performance commen-
tary, Judy Collins - the woman
who sold out every seat in Hill
Auditorium - sits poring over a
note written to her by a fan. The
singer's auburn hair shines in the
dressing room light.
Tucking the fan mail away, she
extends an arm to welcome her
backstage visitors. A warm smile
lights up her famous blue eyes,
and Collins whispers a greeting.
Her former reserve crops up oc-
cassionally as she converses with
the small group of strangers. But
a new self-assurance coupled with .
a steady level of energy somehow
overshadows that.
"I'm having a good time for the
first time in years," she says,
tucking one leg under the other
and reaching for her glass of
white wine.
"I think there's a level of en-
ergy operating now in me and it
has a lot to do with getting away
from the guitar. The guitar for
me was a crutch more than any-
thing else. I'm' certainly no guit-
arist and this has been a freeing
experience. It allows me to focus
more on the fact that I really am
a singer . all of the material I
use is meant to highlight that."
The slinky purple gown she
wore during her performance has
Ibeen exchanged for a pair of
black velour slacks and a bright
1 striped turtle neck. In her hand
the microphone of a small tape
recorder, which she has consented
to hold for a local disc jockey,
takes the place of the stage mike
she was gripping moments ago.
And instead 'of singing "Bread
and Roses," Collins is now speak-
ing of her political activism.
Along with performers like Bob
Dylan and Joan Baez, Collins was
once part of the New York urban
folk set which played an active,
Pauline Lubens is a staff writer and
chief, photographer for The Daily.

role in the anti-war and civil
rights movements. That was 10
years ago. Her activism has faded
as of late but not because of a
dying commitment. She says she's
going through a process of ma-
turation, trying to fit the loose
ends together in an effort to cre-
ate an integrated lifestyle - po-
litically, musically and personal-
"My lifestyle involves my music.
I must be consciously or subcon-
sciously looking for things that
reflect the way I feel. Even the
sense of humor in Randy New-
man's music I think is essential.
One must have that kind of dippy

sense of how absurd this whole
situation is in the world."
"I don't feel drawn to the kinds
of things that I would have done
very easily and freely in the six-
ties," she says. "Part of my prob-
lem was never being able to say
no, because every cause was a
good cause and anything involv-
ing human rights or the process
of seeing justice done was appeal-
ing. Now I find there are so many
things I could be doing that I
have to carefully think of what
it is I want to do, and pick and
See COLLINS, Page 7


Martha Keys shakes hands with a patient
while campaigning at the VA hospital in Lea-
venworth, Kansas.
with him. When school opened, he only took his daugh-
ters along on the weekends, but he made a point of
announcing that he wanted to leave early at evening
appearances so he could drive home and see my wife
before the end of the day."
When he campaigned with his family, the stolid
look of comfortable domesticity that envelops the six
of them created an impression of stability, one Free-
man played upon heavily.
In fact, he was the antithesis of a glamour candi-
date. Short and stocky, he has a thick waist, and a
head that seems oversized for his short frame. The
size of his head is accentuated by the fact that he's
balding, which exposes large expanses of pale skin in
stark contrast to the dark blue suit he usually cam-
paigned in. Wearing the suit, along with black shoes, a
striped tie and whiteshirt, Freeman looks every inch
the corporation lawyer he is. But when Ross Free-
man speaks, the appearance of smoothness and suavity
is quickly dispelled. Kansas distrust overt displays of
sophistication, and when Freeman rocks on the balls
of his feet and stumbles as he answers questions me-
chanically, audiences can emphathize with him per-
fectly. In a crazy way, his image as wooden as a high
school debater worked for him.
By the same token, Keys' poise and elegance did
not work well with the voters. She has a reputation for
aloofness, but she is attractive and articulate. It's
easier to see hr as more worldly, and her staff con-
tributed to that effect; they look alien to Kansas. Her
administrative assistant, Jim Buchele, favors oxford
clolh shirts and red ties. He looks more like an attorney
who practices in New York than Topeka. Advance man
Bill Marston is a Kansas native who has adopted east-
ern ways. His hair falls in a shag over his collar. He
sports a blue velour sports coat, and instead of tradi-
tional grey double knit slacks he wears peach cor-
duroys and a colorfully striped shirt.
Dovetailing with his strategy of attacking Keys'
marital status was Freeman's claim that Keys is a

Daily Photo by PAULINE LUBENS'

tool of union bosses, whose vote is controlled by inter-
ests from outside the state. His strategy of calling at-
tention to her finances proved a blunder, however; he
made a foolish mistake once when he spoke before
checking a fact, and the attack opened the door to an
investigation of his own financial support.
Early in the campaign Freeman noted Keys had
received contributions from the International Ladies
Garment Union. Freeman offered to buy a steak dinner
for any member of the union who lived in the district,
implying that none did. He should have done his home-
work first. To his chagrin, he discovered 200 members
work in the small community of Holton, located about
100 miles west of Kansas City, and he ended up provid-
ing an expensive meal-for all of them.
FOR AMMUNITION IN her campaign, Keys tried to
promote the idea that Freeman was a servant of
corporations and powerful lobbies. Her main campaign
poster, prepared by a Denver advertising firm, was a
masterpiece of insinuation. It showed a man sitting in
a vested pinstripe suit with a pocket watch and a cigar
in his hand. Obscuring his face was a dense cloud of
smoke. The caption read, "Why does big money want
to defeat Martha Keys this November?" Later in the

race, Keys also emphasized the fact that Freeman had
served for the past six years as a registered lobbyist
for Kansas insurance companies.
The Keys' claim that she was waging a. campaign
against superior financial strength was supported by
the most recent reports filed with the Federal Elec-
tion Commission. Freeman outspent Keys by 80 per
cent overall.
Among Freeman's contributors were Adolph Coors,
the reactionary brewing magnate; the Committee for
the Survival of a Free Congress; the American Bankers
Association; the American Medical Association;. and
the Republican National Committee.
The divorce issue drew national attpntion to the
race. Keys staffers were quick to remind reporters from
Washington and New York that Freeman has been
named in two complaints before the Federal Election
Commission (FEC) alleging improper campaign financ-
A complaint filed by the consumer group Common
Cause lists Freeman as one of 21 candidates nationally
who have accepted excessive contributions from the
American Medical Association. , The charge against
Freeman is that he accepted $5,000 from the national
organization and $3,000 from the Kansas branch, con-
tradicting a May FEC ruling which prohibits lobby
groups from forming dummy committees for the pur-
pose of making separate contributions. Subsequently
he put the $3,000 in escrow.
A separate FEC complaint alleged that Freeman
participated in an advertising package offered by a
newspaper in which candidates purchase advertising
space in return for a story and a picture about their
race. By FEC mandate, such copy must be labelled paid
political advertising, and the complaint charges that
the newspaper ran the story without the disclaimer.
Asked for he record if she wasn't engaging in an
equally personal campaign with her poster and her
staff's suggestions on leads to follow about Freeman's
finances, Keys blithely repliedi "We're just getting the
true story out." In private, ho ever, she alternated be-
tween bitterness and resignation, complaining that
Freeman's tactics smacked of demagoguery, and claim-
ing they were "abusive of the electorate." On another
level, she sometimes griped that she has been "target-
ed for defeat."
Freeman's response to Keys' digs at his financing
was to contend that he had to win a seven-way primary
and make his name known across the district. He said
his major expense had been buying advertising in five

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