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Kassebaum Is To Take Key Senate Education Post

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Washington--In an unexpected development, Senator Nancy L. Kassebaum of Kansas is slated to become the ranking Republican on the Senate education subcommittee in the 101st Congress.

Ms. Kassebaum will assume the position left vacant by the retirement of Senator Robert T. Stafford of Vermont. She will also become the second-ranking minority member on the full Labor and Human Resources Committee, behind Orrin Hatch of Utah.

In order to pick up the Labor and Human Resources seat and a spot on the Banking Committee, Ms. Kassebaum forfeited her positions on the Commerce and Budget committees. She will retain her spot on the Foreign Relations Committee.

On the Commerce Committee, Ms. Kassebaum served as ranking minority member on the aviation4subcommittee, a position that was important to the aviation industry in her home state. Several aircraft manufacturers, including Boeing and Cessna, have plants in Wichita.

"Obviously, this change in committees offers both pluses and minuses," the Kansas senator said in a press release. But she stressed that the Labor and Human Resources slot would allow her to "influence programs that affect our children, our senior citizens, our universities and schools, and our work force."

A former school-board member in Maize, Kan., Ms. Kassebaum was first elected to the Senate in 1978.

Meanwhile, many other legislators were still trying to pin down committee assignments late last week.

Senator James M. Jeffords, the newly elected Republican from Vermont, has gained a position on the Labor and Human Resources panel, but it is unclear whether he will sit on the education subcommittee.

Before leaving the House for the Senate, Mr. Jeffords was the ranking Republican on the House Education and Labor Committee.

Because of high turnover on the minority side of the Senate committee, Mr. Jeffords will step immediately into the ranking position on the labor subcommittee. Other subcommittee assignments had not been made as of late last week.

Paul Smith, a press spokesman for Mr. Hatch, said late last week that Senator Dave Durenberger of Minnesota would assume the ranking minority position on the Subcommittee on the Handicapped--the seat left open by the defeat of Lowell P. Weicker Jr.of Connecticut in the November elections.

Nancy Ness, a spokesman for Mr. Durenberger, said she could not confirm that information.--rrw

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