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SVC Center for Political Thought to Present Former Congresswomen

Public Relations
Posted: Wednesday Oct 26, 2011

Saint Vincent College Center for Political and Economic Thought of the Alex G. McKenna School of Business, Economics, and Government will host a special event at 3 p.m. Tuesday, November 11 featuring former Congresswomen Sue Kelly (R-NY) and Beverly Byron (D-MD). The conversation will take place in the Fred M. Rogers Center on the campus of Saint Vincent College and will be moderated by Student Government Association Executive Board President Renold Sossong. Admission is free and open to the public.

Ms. Kelly holds the distinction of being the only florist ever elected to the U.S. Congress. Out of necessity she started and ran three small businesses to work around the needs of raising her family. As a full time mother, wife, and entrepreneur, she chose to run for Congress only after all her children graduated from college. Her election was “to the surprise of many,” she said. She served the state of New York and its 19th Congressional District for 12 years from 1995 to 2007 in the U.S. House of Representatives. She received a bachelor of arts degree from Denison University in 1958 and a master of arts degree from Sarah Lawrence College in 1985. She has worked in various health-related fields, including serving as a biomedical researcher at the Boston City Hospital and New England Institute for Medical Research, a patient advocate in the emergency room of St. Luke's Hospital in New York, and a certified New York ombudsman for nursing homes. After beginning her career in public service through health advocacy, she served as a campaign and district aid for her predecessor, Congressman Hamilton Fish Jr., as a campaign manager for Jon Fossel’s State Assembly campaign, and also a member of the New York Republican Family Committee. She was an adjunct professor for the Graduate Program in Health Advocacy at Sarah Lawrence. Sue has been married for 49 years to Edward W. Kelly. They have four children and eight grandchildren.

Ms. Byron served as western Maryland’s representative to Congress from 1978 to 1992. She served as a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, where she was elected sub-committee chairman having oversight of 42 percent of the Defense Department’s budget. She was a member of the Interior and Insular Affairs Committee, and the Select Committee for Aging. From 1983-1986, Ms. Byron chaired the House Special Panel on Arms Control and Disarmament. In 1987, she was elected Chairman of the Military Personnel and Compensation subcommittee, becoming the first woman chosen for a prominent leadership role on the Armed Services Committee. President Clinton appointed her to the Board of Visitors, United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland in 1995, which she chaired from 1998-2003. She was raised in Washington, D.C. where she graduated from the National Cathedral School. She later attended Hood College in Frederick, Maryland. Her late husband, Goodloe E. Byron, served in Congress from 1971 until his death in 1978. Ms. Byron has three children and seven grandchildren. In 1986, Mrs. Byron married B. Kirk Walsh, a Washington businessman.

For more information, contact Mary Beth McConahey, program manager of the Center for Political and Economic Thought at Saint Vincent College at marybeth.mcconahey@email.stvincent.edu.