The Honorable Beverly Barton Butcher Byron
"My problem was that the party powers that be, said, ‘Well, we will nominate her, and then next year’—and I’m quoting numerous of them—‘and we’ll get a real candidate next year, in two years, somebody that we can run.’ I don’t think they knew me very well. There’s too much work. There’s too much potential for wonderful things to happen to your constituents not to work it hard."
—The Honorable Beverly Barton Butcher Byron, June 15, 2016
U.S. Representative from Maryland (January 3, 1979–January 3, 1993)
Beverly Barton Butcher Byron married into a family with deep political roots. Her husband Goodloe Byron and his parents William and Katharine all served in the U.S. House of Representatives. Beverly Byron, much like her mother-in-law Katharine, did not pursue a political career. Rather, both women won election to Congress after their husbands died in office. In her oral history, Byron discusses the transition from a supporting role in her husband’s career to her own position as a Member of Congress. Byron also touches upon the prevailing opinion at the time that she—like many other congressional widows—would serve as a temporary placeholder. The Maryland Representative explains that once she came to Congress, she had no intention of stepping aside for someone that party leaders deemed more qualified.
In her interview, Byron compares how she and her late husband approached the job. Both enjoyed constituent service, but she observes that her strength and interest lay in policy work. The first woman to chair an Armed Services subcommittee, Byron describes her leadership style and discusses her work for the military during her seven terms in Congress. Byron also talks about her interest in physical fitness, her work on the American Discovery Trail legislation, and the bond that formed among the women representing Maryland in Congress.
BYRON, Beverly Barton Butcher, (wife Goodloe Edgar Byron and daughter-in-law of William Devereux Byron and Katharine Edgar Byron), a Representative from Maryland; born Beverly Barton Butcher in Baltimore, Md., July 27, 1932; graduated from National Cathedral School for Girls, Washington, D.C., 1950; elected as a Democrat to the Ninety-sixth and to the six succeeding Congresses (January 3, 1979–January 3, 1993); unsuccessful candidate for renomination to the One Hundred Third Congress in 1992; appointed to the Base Closure and Realignment Commission, 1993.
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Quick Decision to Run for Congress
The Honorable Beverly Barton Butcher Byron recalls the quick decision she made to run for Congress after the death of her husband Representative Goodloe Byron of Maryland.
"Dine with the Byrons"
The Honorable Beverly Barton Butcher Byron discusses the materials she used in her congressional campaigns, including a promotional pamphlet with Byron family recipes inside. The “Dine with the Byrons” campaign tradition started when her husband, Goodloe Byron, ran for the Maryland house in the 1960s.
The Honorable Beverly Barton Butcher Byron discusses the choice Members of Congress had to make when deciding whether to live in their district or in Washington.
Careful Consideration of Committee Assignments
The Honorable Beverly Barton Butcher Byron explains how she received her committee assignments.
Congress and Hard Work
The Honorable Beverly Barton Butcher Byron describes how she defied the conventional thinking of the time by pursuing her own congressional career after the death of her husband.
Congresswoman Katharine Byron
The Honorable Beverly Barton Butcher Byron shares memories of her mother-in-law, Representative Katharine Byron of Maryland.
No Assigned Seats
The Honorable Beverly Barton Butcher Byron describes the seating arrangement on the House Floor.
"They Are Four Peas, but They're Not in the Same Pod"
The Honorable Beverly Barton Butcher Byron recalls the differences between the women of the Maryland delegation.
Dressing for Congress
The Honorable Beverly Barton Butcher Byron discusses the wardrobe expectations for Members of Congress.
President Carter and Congress
The Honorable Beverly Barton Butcher Byron recollects a meeting at the White House with President Jimmy Carter.
Camp David Accords
The Honorable Beverly Barton Butcher Byron remembers the events surrounding the Camp David Accords.
Touring a Submarine
The Honorable Beverly Barton Butcher Byron recalls touring military facilities with then-Representative Barbara Mikulski of Maryland.
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