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1982: Our Other Contributors

[IMGCAP(1)]While Roll Call will always be the Newspaper of Capitol Hill, the editorial page used to say that Roll Call was “the only newspaper written for, by and about the United States Congress.” While Members of Congress still contribute opinion pieces on politics and policy, Members actually used to write first-person articles about life as a politician. These pieces appeared in a column called “My Favorite Story.”

In one such piece in 1982, Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), who is taking the reins of the Appropriations Committee this Congress, recalled a story involving a constituent, the Russians and a hydrogen bomb.

“This happened to me recently in a small rural town — a county seat — in southern Mississippi. I was walking past the county courthouse and I encountered several elderly farmers around the courthouse steps. One of them kept saying over and over: ‘I just know the Russians are going to drop a hydrogen bomb on us — I just know it!’ I tried to reassure him by saying, oh no, they are not going to do anything like that. They are just sabre rattling, that’s all.

“‘No, no,’ the farmer kept insisting, ‘they’re not just sabre-rattling. They’re going to drop a bomb on us right here, sure as shootin’.’

“I tried to reason with the old man. ‘Why would the Russians even bother to drop a bomb on a little town like this?’

“‘Don’t you see?’ The old man was insistent. ‘This is the County Seat!’”

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