Historical Highlights

Representative Sala Burton of California

June 28, 1983
Representative Sala Burton of California Image, Congressional Pictorial Directory, 99th Congress Representative Sala Burton of California succeeded her late husband, Philip Burton, in a special election.
On this date, Representative Sala Burton of California was sworn in as a Member of the 98th Congress (1983–1985). Congresswoman Burton was elected in a special election to succeed her late husband, Phillip Burton. The former Congressman often referred to his wife as his better political half, “the popular Burton.” He added, “I keep Sala busy repairing all the fences I've busted.” Having long been active in California politics in her own right, Sala Burton was a natural choice to fill her husband’s unexpired term. Once in Congress, she received Phil Burton's assignments on two committees: Education and Labor and Interior and Insular Affairs. She also received an assignment on the Select Committee on Hunger during the 98th and 99th Congresses (1983–1987). Congresswoman Burton championed many of the same interests she had worked for during her decades as a leading figure in the California Democratic Party: civil rights, women's reproductive rights, the environment, and world peace. Burton set out, in her own words, “to represent, as my husband did, the dispossessed, the hungry, the poor, the children, people in trust territories, the aged—those people who don't have a lot of lobbying being done for them.” The Congresswoman was easily re-elected to the 99th and 100th Congresses (1985–1989). Sala Burton passed away in the early months of the 100th Congress and was succeeded by Nancy Pelosi.

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