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Long, Catherine Small (1924—)

Long, Catherine Small (1924—)

American congressional representative, 99th Congress. Born on February 7, 1924, in Dayton, Ohio; married Gillis W. Long (1923–1985, a lawyer and politician); educated at Camp Hill, Pennsylvania; Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, B.A., 1948.

Served as U.S. Navy pharmacist's mate; was staff assistant to Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon and Representative James G. Polk of Ohio; was a delegate to the Democratic National Conventions (1980 and 1984); was a member of the Louisiana State Democratic Financial Council and State central committee, and Democratic leadership council; served as Democrat member of the 99th Congress by special election (March 30, 1985–January 3, 1987).

Catherine Small Long, who was born in Dayton, Ohio, on February 7, 1924, and attended Camp Hill High School in Pennsylvania, is most closely associated with the state of Louisiana, where she attended university in the 1940s. Her early career included working as a pharmacist's mate in the U.S. Navy, and subsequently becoming staff assistant to Senator Wayne Morse and Representative James G. Polk. Politics was to become the dominating force in her life after her marriage to lawyer Gillis Long, member of a formidable political dynasty of high-profile Louisiana Democrats. Among Gillis Long's close relatives were Representative George Shannon Long (1883–1958), Governor and Senator Huey Pierce Long (1893–1935), Senator Rose McConnell Long (1892–1970) and Senator Russell B. Long (b. 1918).

Catherine Long acquired substantial political experience during her marriage, serving as delegate to the Democratic National Conventions of 1980 and 1984; she was also a member of the Louisiana State Democratic Financial Council, the state party's central committee, and the Democratic leadership council. When Gillis Long died on January 20, 1985, after serving eight terms as representative from Louisiana's Eighth

District, Long stood for his seat in a special election held on March 30. By defeating four other candidates, she became only the fourth woman to represent Louisiana in Congress, following in the footsteps of fellow Democrats Senator Elaine Schwartzenburg Edwards , Senator Rose McConnell Long, and Representative Lindy Boggs .

During her two years as a congressional representative, Long was an advocate for Louisiana's economy, arguing the need for price supports for sugar. She was also the opponent of an amendment to the Mississippi River and Tributaries Project Bill which would have placed a large flood-control financial burden on local governments in the lower Mississippi Valley. Long co-sponsored the Economic Equity Act of 1985, which secured pension and health benefits for women and helped to restrict discrimination by race or gender in insurance practices. She supported economic sanctions against South Africa and was a proponent of aid for Nicaraguan refugees. Along with the other members of the Louisiana delegation, Long helped introduce legislation authorizing the Legal Services Corporation to make a grant to the Gillis W. Long Poverty Law Center at Loyola University in New Orleans. Long chose not to stand for reelection in 1986, but remains a resident of Washington, D.C.


Office of the Historian. Women in Congress, 1917–1990. Commission on the Bicentenary of the U.S. House of Representatives, 1991.

Paula Morris , D.Phil., Brooklyn, New York

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