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KS: State Senator Who Opposes Women’s Suffrage Runs for Secretary of State

A Kansas state senator who has been quoted as saying she does not support the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote is running for Secretary of State. Republican Sen. Kay O’Connor announced Wednesday that she was running for the statewide office, which oversees elections and voting. This position has become increasingly important in allocating voting machines to districts and precincts, choosing election equipment, and deciding whether or not to purge voter rolls.

In 2001, the Kansas City Star quoted her as saying, “”I’m an old-fashioned woman. Men should take care of women, and if men were taking care of women (today) we wouldn’t have to vote.” She said that if she had the opportunity to vote on the 19th Amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote, that she would vote against it, the Star reports. “We have a society that does tear families apart É I think the 19th Amendment, while it’s not an evil in and of itself, is a symptom of something I don’t approve of É The 19th Amendment is around because men weren’t doing their jobs, and I think that’s sad. I believe the man should be the head of the family. The woman should be the heart of the family,” she said, according to the Associated Press.

After a controversy erupted in which members of her own party suggested she resign from office, O’Connor denied saying she opposed the 19th Amendment, but witnesses confirmed her comments and the Star stuck by its story.

On Wednesday, O’Connor said that she did not think this issue would be a factor in her election and dismissed the controversy as “silliness”—”I am who I am. You don’t have to agree with everything I say,” she said, according to the Associated Press.

Sources:

Kansas City Star 9/28/01; Associated Press 6/2/05, 6/1/05