Representative Lynn Morley MARTIN

YEARS 1939-
OFFICE Representative
STATE Illinois
WHICH CONGRESS SERVED 97th (1981-1983), 98th (1983-1985), 99th (1985-1987), 100th (1987-1989), 101st (1989-1991)

Representative Lynn Morley MARTIN Biography

In a decade in the House, Lynn Martins expertise on economic issues, her quick wit, moderation, and independence helped her to become the first woman House Member to attain leadership positions high within the Republican Party. As she had in the Illinois house of representatives, Congresswoman Martin earned a reputation as a liberal on womens issues but also as a stalwart fiscal conservative eager to rein in a government that, in her view, had spent beyond its means since the 1960s. All bureaucracy doesnt have to exist forever, Martin said shortly after arriving in Congress.1Judith Lynn Morely was born on December 26, 1939, in Evanston, Illinois, youngest of two daughters of William Morely, an accountant, and Helen Hall Morely, a department store clerk. She grew up on the north side of Chicago in a heavily Irish“Catholic and Democratic neighborhood and attended public schools. Her earliest political experience was in running for eighth“grade class president against her boyfriend. I lost by one vote. My vote. You see, I voted for my opponent because I thought it was polite, she recalled years later. Well, he voted for himself, and I learned my lesson: if you believe in yourself, vote for yourself.2 She made Phi Beta Kappa and earned a B.A. in English at the University of Illinois at Urbana in 1960. A week after she graduated she married John Martin, an engineering student. They raised two daughters, Julia and Caroline. Lynn Martin taught at several high schools in DuPage County and Rockford, Illinois. Martin entered public service after becoming interested in my community and worried that the local government was out of touch and buried.3 In 1972, Martin was elected to the Winnebago County (Illinois) board and four years later won a seat in the state house of representatives. Her political mentors were Betty Ann Keegan, a Democrat in the Illinois state senate who first encouraged her to run for office, and Republican Congressman Robert Michel of Illinois, the future U.S. House Minority Leader. There she served on the appropriations committee and earned the nickname the Axe for her efforts to reduce spending.4 Martin won election to the Illinois senate in 1978. That same year she and John Martin were divorced. Lynn Martin eventually remarried in 1987 to Harry Leinenweber, a U.S. District Court judge. When U.S. Representative John Anderson retired to run for the presidency in 1980, Martin beat four other Republicans in the primary for the open seat in the northwest Illinois district bordering Wisconsin. The largely agrarian district was anchored by the town of Rockford, and had not sent a Democrat to Congress in the 20th century.5 Martins platform supported the Equal Rights Amendment and was pro“choice on the abortion issue, while fiscally conservative, calling for lower taxes and business deregulation. Her socially moderate stance earned her the support of womens groups. In a state that went comfortably for Republican presidential nominee Ronald Reagan in the general election, Martin cruised to victory with 67 percent of the vote against Democratic candidate Douglas R. Aurand. Though held to less than 60 percent of the vote in 1982 and 1984, she never was seriously challenged afterward.6 I had an opportunity to run for the House and wrestle with some things, like the direction of growth in government, Martin said shortly after taking office. I knew if I ignored the opportunity, then Id never have the right to complain about these things.7In Congress, Martin quickly became a leader within the Republican Party. She possessed an encyclopedic knowledge of economic issues and a razor sharp tongue with which she skewered Democrats (and some Republicans) for what she identified as zealous spending habits. Her mentor, Minority Leader Robert Michel, got Martin a seat on the Budget Committee in the 97th Congress (1981“1983), a plum assignment for a freshman. Martin explained, Its a little like getting sex education at age six. Its a little too soon to understand”theres a lot of stuff you shouldnt know until a lot later. Soon after, Martin was plotting budget strategy with the Reagan White House and clashing with the Defense Department, which wanted to vastly expand military spending at the expense of social programs.8 In 1986, during the committees budget negotiations, Martin stood in for the ailing Ranking Republican. She established a cordial working relationship with Democratic Chairman William Gray III of Pennsylvania, impressing observers with her acumen. In 1987, during a markup session on the budget, a question arose over whether the committee should restore a revenue“sharing program. Several of the men, both Republicans and Democrats, made assertive arguments for restoration. Martin balked, arguing that the deficit“strapped federal government had no money to share with local governments. Maybe girls learn to say ˜no easier than boys, she chided her colleagues, drawing chuckles from many in the room.9When Geraldine Ferraro became the Democratic vice“presidential candidate in 1984, Martin played a prominent role in steering Republican national strategy. First, she became Vice President George H. W. Bushs sparring partner, a stand“in for Ferraro to prepare for the fall debates. She adopted an aggressive style in those mock debates, throwing the Vice President off balance and convincing him that he needed to prepare more rigorously. Martin also was tapped to deliver Bushs nominating speech at the Republican National Convention in Dallas. The party further named her chair of the Reagan“Bush Illinois campaign. When Bush ran for President in 1988, she was the only woman named a national co“chair of his campaign. After the 1984 election she also won the historic distinction of being elected Vice Chair of the House Republican Conference, the first woman ever to serve in the House GOP leadership. She was re“elected to the post two years later. In 1988, when Conference Chair Dick Cheney of Wyoming opted to run for the partys second highest position of Whip, Martin entered the race for his vacant leadership spot. She lost her bid by only three votes to Jerry Lewis of California after party conservatives mounted a campaign against her, in part, for her voting record on social issues.10Martin avoided labels such as crusader or feminist. She once exclaimed, I dont walk into every meeting humming, ˜I Am Woman.11 In the 100th Congress (1987“1989) she waged a successful crusade to bring 30,000 congressional employees under the protection of the 1964 Civil Rights Act (from which they had been exempt). It was, in large part, an effort to raise working conditions, reduce discrimination, and to improve the pay for women staff members whom Martin demonstrated were consistently underpaid.12 She was oriented toward helping women through providing economic opportunity rather than government aid. In a recessive economy, Martin said in 1981, the people the most hurt are minority women. So the best place I could help would be to get it going again. If were in a recession”if there are no jobs”programs dont mean a thing.13Martin distinguished herself on several other committees, serving on House Administration (1981“1985), Public Works and Transportation (1983“1985), Armed Services (1985“1989), and Rules (1989“1991). On a number of important issues she parted company with Republicans: arguing for a minimum wage increase, voting to override President Reagans 1986 veto of a sanctions bill against the apartheid regime in South Africa, joining with Democrats to stiffen punishment for white“collar criminals, and supporting pro“choice legislation. In 1990, President Bush and other Republican leaders convinced Martin to give up her House seniority to challenge incumbent Democrat Paul Simon for a U.S. Senate seat. Observers thought it would be a close race. Martins campaign suffered from several gaffes and a lack of funding (Simon outspent her by a nearly two“to“one margin).14 Both candidates were pro“choice, though Simon managed to win support of the Womens Campaign Fund because of his connections to that groups major donors. It was a blow to Martins cash“strapped campaign. Simon also was able to capitalize on wide public support for Operation Desert Shield, the military buildup leading up to the Gulf War, by generating publicity from his seat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; he appeared on television with the troops in Saudi Arabia.15 Martin lost in a landslide as Simon scooped up 65 percent of the vote.16Martins supporters in the party helped her in her postcongressional career. On December 14, 1990, President Bush appointed her Secretary of Labor, despite the fact that she was at variance with the administration on social issues. I cant imagine the only people who should work for a President are those who sycophantically agree on everything, Martin said. It would be the most boring Cabinet in the world and it would be of no use to the President.17 She served as Labor Secretary from February 22, 1991, until January 20, 1993, developing several programs: Job Training 2000 for youth apprenticeships; the Pension Opportunities for Workers Expanded Retirement; and the Glass Ceiling Initiative. Martin later taught at Northwestern University, worked for Deloitte & Touches Council on the Advancement of Women, chaired a University of Illinois task force on The Future of the Health Care Labor Force in a Graying Society, and conducted a comprehensive study on sexual harassment in the workplace for a major automobile company.18 She lives in Chicago, Illinois. Footnotes 1Deborah Churchman, Illinois Congresswoman Brings Her Frugal Style to Washington, 8 January 1981, Christian Science Monitor: 17. 2Shirley Washington, Outstanding Women Members of Congress (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Capitol Historical Society, 1995): 57. 3Churchman, Illinois Congresswoman Brings Her Frugal Style to Washington. 4Current Biography, 1989 (New York: H.W. Wilson and Company, 1989): 386. 5Politics in America, 1982 (Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly Inc., 1981): 362. 6Election Statistics, 1920 to Present, 7Churchman, Illinois Congresswoman Brings Her Frugal Style to Washington. 8Current Biography, 1989: 386. 9Milton Coleman, Lynn M. Martin: Finessing an Insiders Game in House GOP Leadership, 19 May 1986, Washington Post: A13. 10Susan F. Rasky, Parties Name House Leaders and Goals, 6 December 1988, New York Times: B13; Clifford D. May and David Binder, Briefing, 24 November 1988, New York Times: B15; Almanac of American Politics, 1990 (Washington, D.C.: National Journal Inc., 1989): 382. 11Coleman, Lynn M. Martin: Finessing an Insiders Game in House GOP Leadership. 12Irvin Molotsky, House Extends Job Bias Protection To Its Own Workers, With Limits, 5 October 1988, New York Times: A1. 13Churchman, Illinois Congresswoman Brings Her Frugal Style to Washington. 14Almanac of American Politics, 1994 (Washington, D.C.: National Journal Inc., 1993): 384. 15Washington, Outstanding Women Members of Congress: 60 16Election Statistics, 1920 to Present, 17Charles Trueheart, Lynn Martin: No Yes Woman, 19 August 1992, Washington Post: B1. See also Karen Foerstel, Biographical Dictionary of Congressional Women (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1999): 173“174. 18Mitsubishi Settles with Women in Sexual Harassment Lawsuit, 29 August 1997, New York Times: A14. View Record in the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

External Research Collections

University of Oklahoma The Julian P. Kanter Political Commercial Archive, Department of Communication Norman, OK Videoreels and Videocassettes: 1980-1990, 15 commercials on 10 videoreels and 18 commercials on 2 videocassettes. The commercials used during Lynn Morley Martin’s campaigns for the 1980, 1984, 1986, and 1988 U.S. congressional elections in District 16 and the 1990 U.S. senatorial election in Illinois, Republican Party.


“Lynn Martin” in Women in Congress, 1917-2006. Prepared under the direction of the Committee on House Administration by the Office of History & Preservation, U.S. House of Representatives. Washington: Government Printing Office, 2006. Petri, Thomas E., William F. Clinger, Jr., Nancy L. Johnson, and Lynn Martin, eds. National Industrial Policy: Solution or Illusion. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, Inc., 1984.

Lynn Morley MARTIN Committee Assignments

Congress divides legislative work into committees where bills usually originate. Committees are specialized by subject and hold hearings, prepare bills for the consideration of the entire House, and regulate House procedure.

House Committee – Armed Services House Committee – Budget House Committee – District of Columbia House Committee – House Administration House Committee – Public Works and Transportation House Committee – Rules Joint Committee – Joint Committee on Printing

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