Meyers, Jan (1928—)
Meyers, Jan (1928—)
Six-term U.S. congressional representative from Kansas. Born on July 20, 1928, in Lincoln, Nebraska; William Woods College, A.F.A., 1948; University of Nebraska, B.A., 1951.
Elected to city council (1967); elected to Kansas legislature (1972); elected to U.S. House of Representatives (1984); retired from Congress (1996).
Jan Meyers served six terms in the lower chamber of the U.S. Congress as a Republican representing Kansas' Third District during the heyday of the Reagan-Bush era of Republican vitality. Meyers' political career was notable for her support of women's reproductive freedoms, since one of the mainstays of the Republican political platform during these years was a curtailing by law of those rights. Born in Lincoln, Nebraska, in 1928, Meyers earned an associate degree in fine arts from William Woods College in 1948, and then pursued a bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska, which she received in 1951. For a time after college, she worked in advertising and public relations. In 1967, she won election to the Overland Park City Council, the governing board of that large suburb of Kansas City, and held its president's chair for two years before departing when she won election to the Kansas state legislature in 1972. She served in the state house until 1984, and continued to demonstrate a clear support for women's rights issues. During her time in Topeka, she authored a bill that limited the use in court of rape victims' sexual histories.
In 1978, Meyers ran for a seat in the Senate primary, losing to Nancy Kassebaum . Meyers won the Third District seat representing Kansas in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1984. During her first term, she served on the Committee on Science and Technology as well as on the Select Committee on Aging. Re-elected in 1986, she moved up to a spot on the prestigious Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, where she focused some of her efforts on curtailing international drug trafficking while serving on the International Narcotics Control Task Force, and also served on the Small Business Committee. A strong proponent of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and a member of the Women's Congressional Caucus, she also served as vice-chair of the Energy and Environment Study Conference. Meyers was consistently re-elected by her constituency through 1994, and announced her retirement at the end of that term.
Office of the Historian. Women in Congress, 1917–1990. Commission on the Bicentenary of the U.S. House of Representatives, 1991.
Carol Brennan , Grosse Pointe, Michigan