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They’ve got a set of Republican waiters on one side and a set of Democratic waiters on the other side, but no matter which set of waiters brings you the dish, the legislative grub is all prepared in the same Wall Street kitchen.” US Senator Huey Long, campaign speech for the election of Senator Hattie Caraway (D-AR), 1932 (cited in T. Harry Williams p. 589) http://www.hueylong.com/perspectives/huey-long-quotes-in-his-own-words.php

The first woman elected to the US Senate, Hattie Caraway was the first woman to chair a committee in 1933, and the first to stand in for the floor leader in 1940. She “entered the Senate in November 1931, by appointment, following the death of her husband, Senator Thad Caraway. Party leaders assumed the widow had no intention of running for a full term, but they were wrong… “I really want to try out my own theory of a woman running for office.” Her male competitors joked that she would be lucky to attract 1% of the vote. What they failed to consider, however, was the tenaciousness of the “little lady from Arkansas” and the persuasive skills of Louisiana Senator Huey Long.

The highlight of her 1932 campaign came in August, when the controversial Huey Long joined Caraway for a week-long road trip nicknamed the “Hattie and Huey Tour.”… Giving her own stump speeches alongside the Louisiana Kingfish, Caraway won the election with double the vote of her nearest rival. (www.senate.gov)

Eighty years ago today, was the funeral of Huey Long:http://youtu.be/Y_D9H7aZts0 His tomb says:
HUEYPIERCE LONG. 1893-1935, Louisiana Governor 1928 -1932, United States Senator. 1932-1935, Here Lies Louisiana’s Great Son, Huey Pierce Long An Unconquered Friend of the Poor” He was shot on Sept. 8th and died on Sept. 10th, 1935. See more here: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2015/09/10/war-on-the-american-people-september-8th-symbolism-or-strange-coincidence/

SENATE HISTORY
The Hattie and Huey Tour
Hattie and Huey on the campaign trail
Hattie and Huey on the campaign trail
Hattie Caraway of Arkansas entered the Senate in November 1931, by appointment, following the death of her husband, Senator Thaddeus Caraway. Party leaders assumed the widow had no intention of seeking a full term, but they were wrong. On May 9, 1932, Caraway declared her candidacy. “I pitched a coin and heads came [up] three times,” she noted in her diary. “I really want to try out my own theory of a woman running for office.” Competitors ridiculed her chances, but they underestimated the tenaciousness of the “little lady from Arkansas.” Among her many supporters was Louisiana senator Huey Long. In August 1932, the controversial Long joined Caraway for a week-long road trip—the Hattie and Huey Tour. “We’re here to pull a lot of pot-bellied politicians off a woman’s neck,” Long bellowed to appreciative crowds. Caraway easily won the election. Reelected in 1938 (without Long’s help), she served in the Senate until 1945. http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/generic/Feature_Homepage_HattieHueyTour.htm (Of course without his help, he had been assassinated.)

October 19, 1943
A Woman Presides over the Senate

On October 19, 1943, for the first time, a woman formally took up the gavel as the Senate’s presiding officer. In the absence of the vice president and the president pro tem, the duties of the chair were assigned to Arkansas Senator Hattie Caraway.

The first woman elected to the Senate, Caraway had presided once before. In 1932, she briefly filled in for Vice President Charles Curtis, but there was no official recognition of the event. Caraway noticed, of course. “Made history,” she wrote in her diary. “Nothing came up but oh, the autographs I signed.” Other precedents followed – the first woman to chair a committee in 1933, and the first woman to stand in for the floor leader in 1940. By 1943, Caraway had grown accustomed to breaking the Senate’s gender barriers.

Hattie Caraway entered the Senate in November 1931, by appointment, following the death of her husband, Senator Thad Caraway. Party leaders assumed the widow had no intention of running for a full term, but they were wrong. On May 9, 1932, Caraway surprised just about everyone and declared her candidacy. “I pitched a coin and heads came [up] three times,” she noted in her diary, adding, “I really want to try out my own theory of a woman running for office.” Her male competitors joked that she would be lucky to attract 1% of the vote. What they failed to consider, however, was the tenaciousness of the “little lady from Arkansas” and the persuasive skills of Louisiana Senator Huey Long.

The highlight of her 1932 campaign came in August, when the controversial Huey Long joined Caraway for a week-long road trip nicknamed the “Hattie and Huey Tour.” Storming through Arkansas with his big sound trucks, Long bellowed: “We’re here to pull a lot of pot-bellied politicians off a little woman’s neck.” Giving her own stump speeches alongside the Louisiana Kingfish, Caraway won the election with double the vote of her nearest rival. Reelected in 1938 (without Long’s help), she served in the Senate until 1945.

Despite this success, Caraway remained a bit of a curiosity in the Senate. In 1937, she complained: “Sometimes, I’m really afraid that tourists are going to poke me with their umbrellas.” She rarely spoke on the Senate floor, preferring the smaller setting of the committee room, and the male-dominated press quickly labeled her “Silent Hattie.” Yet, by the mid-1930s, Caraway became an effective legislator and delivered speeches at large political rallies.

As her career drew to a close, journalist Drew Pearson commented: “In that turbulent … [Senate] chamber, where a person’s good points or bad quickly shine through the gloss, [Hattie Caraway] held her own.” On her final day in office, the Senate tendered Caraway the high honor of a standing ovation.

That day in October 1943 remains a milestone in Senate history. How did Caraway feel about presiding over the Senate? “Nothing to it,” she told reporters. After all, the Senate is the “best behaved crowd of men you ever saw.”
Reference Items:
Malone, David. Hattie and Huey: An Arkansas Tour. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 1989.
Kincaid, Diane, ed. Silent Hattie Speaks: The Personal Journal of Senator Hattie Caraway. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1979.
http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/minute/A_Woman_Presides_Over_the_Senate.htm (Emphasis our own).