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Helen, We Really Knew Ye

Helen Chenoweth-Hage dies at 68 in Car Crash

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Former U.S. Representative (we would have referred to her as "Congresswoman," but she never liked that term much, and preferred to be called "Congressman") Helen Chenoweth-Hage was, to say the least, unforgettable. The eminently quotable Helen was in a car wreck in Nevada Monday, and died instantly. The three-term representative, who was first elected to Congress in 1994, was 68. Reporters should mourn her passing; she gave them so much to write about. Whether she was laughing off the notion of endangered salmon because she could find a canned version in the supermarket, or referring to minorities as "the warm-climate community," or asserting that the United Nations was using "black helicopters" to enforce martial law, she kept many a headline writer busy during her three terms in Congress. Why only three? We doubt it was because she would have been upended so easily (despite well-funded Democratic efforts). Instead, she stuck to her campaign pledge (do you know many politicians today who do so with such determination?), and declined to run for re-election after three terms. She was the Sagebrush Rebel with the silky-smooth voice, the neo-beehive hairdo that somehow always looked sharp, and the ability to make crusty Idaho types melt with affection.

"She had a great love for this country and state, and her energy and passion on the issues will be missed," said Governor Jim Risch.

Police reports say Chenoweth-Hage was the died when the driver of the car she was in overcorrected after swerving on a Nevada highway.