To the editor:
How quickly we forget those who paved the way for the rest of us. Former Kansas Republican Congresswoman Jan Meyers died recently at the age of 90. I read a complete obituary in the New York Times on June 26. It reminded me of her accomplishments at a time when there were fewer women serving at the state and federal levels of government. Jan shook up the good old boys of the Kansas Senate, where she served for 12 years. I know firsthand from my late father-in-law who served with her. I have a group photo from the 1976 Senate where she is the only woman, standing on the front row in a yellow dress. I seem to remember her as being quoted that she never became one of the boys, but they came to respect her.
She began by serving on the Overland Park City Council. Then she moved to the Kansas Senate, beginning in 1972. Then she served 12 years from 1985-97, representing the then-Kansas 3rd District in the U.S. Congress.
She declined to run again. According to the New York Times, two of her major accomplishments were serving as chair of the House Small Business Committee, the first Republican woman to chair a House committee in 30 years, and working with Sens. Bob Dole and Nancy Kassebaum to establish the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve.
Note: Carolyn Tillotson served in the Kansas Senate from 1992-96.