The Landon Lecture Series Biography Pages of the:

Nancy Landon Kassebaum Nancy Landon Kassebaum
U.S. Senator, Kansas

Kassebaum, Nancy Landon (1932- ), United States senator (1978- ) representing Kansas. She was born Nancy Landon in Topeka, Kansas, the daughter of Alfred M. Landon, the governor of Kansas (1932-1937) and the Republican presidential candidate in 1936. She graduated from the University of Kansas in 1954 with a degree in political science. In 1956 she earned a master's degree in diplomatic history from the University of Michigan. Before becoming a senator, Kassebaum served as vice president of a family-owned firm that operated two radio stations. She was a member of the Kansas Governmental Ethics Committee and the Kansas Committee on the Humanities. She won election to the school board in her hometown of Maize, Kansas, and served as the board president.

In 1975 Kassebaum went to Washington, D.C., to work on the staff of Republican Senator James B. Pearson of Kansas. When Pearson announced his retirement in 1978, Kassebaum became one of nine Republicans seeking the party's nomination. She won the primary and went on to defeat Bill Roy, a former Democratic congressman, in the general election. She was the only woman in the Senate at the time of her election. Kassebaum was reelected to the Senate in 1984 and 1990. When the Republicans secured a Senate majority after the 1980 election, Kassebaum became a member of the Foreign Relations Committee. In the Senate, she earned a reputation for building coalitions and for pragmatic positions on policy. She supported the Equal Rights Amendment and the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty.

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