Nancy Kassebaum Baker

Born:July 29, 1932 (age 87)
Career:U.S. Senator, 1978-1997
Education:Bachelor's, University of Kansas in Lawrence
Master's, University of Michigan

Nancy Landon Kassebaum Baker represented Kansas in the U.S. Senate from 1978 to 1997. She was the first woman elected to a full term in the Senate without her husband having previously served in Congress, and the first female senator from Kansas. She was also the first woman to chair a major U.S. Senate committee (Labor and Human Resources).

Baker was born in Topeka, Kansas, on July 29, 1932. Her father was Alf Landon, governor of Kansas from 1933 to 1937 and the 1936 Republican nominee for president. She graduated from the University of Kansas in Lawrence in 1954 and received a master's degree in diplomatic history from the University of Michigan in 1956. She married her first husband, Philip Kassebaum, in 1956 and worked as vice president of Kassebaum Communications.

In 1975, Baker worked in Washington, D.C., as an aide to Republican Sen. James Pearson of Kansas. When Pearson retired in 1978, Baker defeated eight other candidates for his Senate seat. She was sworn in on December 23, 1978, after Pearson resigned a few days early to give Baker an edge in seniority.

In 1996, she married former U.S. Senator Howard Baker, Jr. of Tennessee.

For information on Baker's policy subject areas, committee appointments and sponsored/co-sponsored legislation during her time in the U.S. Senate, please visit her profile on