The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on October 20, 1996 · Page 10
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 10

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Sunday, October 20, 1996
Page 10
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MO SUNDAY, OCTOBER 20, 1996 GREAT PLAINS THE SALINA JOURNAL T NANCY KASSEBAUM In the trenches Kassebaum earns staff members' respect By JOHN MARSHALL Harris News Service WASHINGTON, D.C. — By 6 o'clock Friday, Oct. 4, the 104th Congress was near adjournment. Nancy Brian! stepped quickly out of her office and across the hall to the balcony that overlooks Constitution Avenue. In the tarnished light, she sat in an old chair and began to talk about the end. "At this time, with a couple of months left, some people look at the departure of Senator Kassebaum like a darkness is coming on," she said. "I don't. We've been given 18 wonderful years. She has given 18 years, and now we can do something new." For nearly 18 years, Briani has been the office manager for Kansas Sen. Nancy Kassebaum, supervising the routines of a 20- member staff in the senator's nine-room office in the Russell Senate Office Building. Nancy Briani speaks of Kassebaum's staff as a mother would speak of a family that faces dissolution. In November 1995, Kassebaum announced that she would not seek re-election, that after three six-year terms it was time to go. Ben Griffith came to Kassebaum's staff 18 months ago from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa. His job is his personality, which is courtesy. He routes phone calls. "I'm sure I may work for some good people in the future, but I can't imagine anyone with more character. The senator treats everyone with such respect and gentility," Griffith said. Ann Shirley, 59, has been Kassebaum's personal secretary for 18 years. She came to Washington from Kansas in 1967 to work for Kassebaum's predecessor, Sen. Jim Pearson. "The temper and tenor of things have changed a lot since I've been here," she says. "In the last two years, the commitment to work together for the public good has been lacking. People have become so severe. They want so badly for Clinton to fail. They will do anything to make him fail. I'm a bleeding heart liberal, and I don't think that's a bad thing to be. But in Washington it's a dirty word." , "There are no cliques, no power camps in this office," says Derek "I'm sure I may work for some good people in the future, but I can't imagine anyone with more character." Ben Griffith member of Sen. Nancy Kassebaum's congressional staff Schmidt, a foreign policy expert who has been with Kassebaum's staff for three years. He was reared in Independence, earned a law degree at Georgetown University and recently passed the bar exam in Kansas, where he plans to return in January. "The senator has a gift of making people feel that everything they do is important. She makes sure that anyone with an interest in a subject is included in the decision-making process," he said. On the balcony, Nancy Briani looks across the darkness to the white glow of the Capitol dome. She speaks carefully, softly. "You know, Senator Kassebaum never allowed a folding machine in the office. We do thousands and thousands of letters and she signs them and they are folded by hand. A machine would make a kind of backward fold, so you could use it for window envelopes. "She always believed it was a matter of etiquette that letters be hand-folded. And so when there is a huge mailing -—we respond to all correspondence, even postcard campaigns — we all pitch in and divide up the stacks. And here we are, secretaries, economic advisers, domestic policy experts, the chief of staff, foreign affairs advisers and, of course, the senator, too, all folding and stuffing letters. "We order out for pizza. We don't have a folding machine, we have folding parties. "There was a time about four or five years ago when frantic about my work and was at the office until eight or nine every night. Senator Kassebaum called me into her office and said, 'OK, Nancy, lighten up. I don't expect you to do everyone else's job.' "Other senators will let you work yourself to death and they don't care. With Senator Kassebaum, you want to work yourself to death for her." Introducing Martina May Martina recently joined the staff of Salon One and brings with her 10 years of experience in hair care. Call Martina for an appointment and receive 50% off the regular price of any hair service with this ad. Offer expires Nov. 9th. Hair • Nails • Tanning 1 823 S. 9TH KRAFT MANOR 823-3111 Haircuts $8 Perms start at $38 Highlights start at $30 Sculptured nails $33 Tips with overlay $38 Need more money? 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