John Austin: Frank Church was a four-term Senator, who as Chairman of the Armed Services Committee was one of the most powerful men in Congress. He was an early contender for the 1976 Presidential nomination. Indeed, it was his leadership to get the Panama Canal back into that nation’s possession that cost him in his 1980 re-election campaign against Steve Symms. The wags pitifully called it the year we separated Church from state, but the result is that in the quarter century since, we’ve had no one rise to that level of national prominence.
Gary Ingram: John Austin, your history is not quite correct. It was, in fact, the Anybody But Church, (ABC) group’s work in exposing Senator Church’s extreme liberalism and damage to our intellence community with his hearings which compromised our national security. Former CDA resident, Don Todd, the KCRCC chairman following me,headed up the ABC committee out of Boise.
John Austin: Gary; I don’t recall the ABC group as clearly as I do the national media treating us as laughingstock, amazed they were that the Panama Canal could actually have been a factor in the race. Sure, Church was a liberal and the state was clearly going to the right, but Symms victory was a big upset at the time, only ensured because of Reagan’s landslide.