Dee Jepsen, a prominent evangelical figure in Washington. D.C., has resigned as a special assistant to President Reagan and will campaign in her home state of Iowa for her husband’s reelection. Sen. Roger W. Jepsen (R-Iowa) expects a difficult challenge from U.S. Rep. Thomas R. Harkin, an Iowa Democrat, in 1984.
Jepsen was appointed in August 1982 as the president’s liaison with women’s groups (CT, Feb. 4, 1983. p. 54). As the gender gap widened to crisis proportions, the task of closing it received higher-echelon attention at the White House, and Jepsen took on additional liaison duties with religious and agricultural constituencies. She told the White House at the outset that she would eventually leave to assist her husband.
Organizations including the National Women’s Political Caucus, National Organization for Women, and the American Association of University Women viewed Jepsen skeptically because of her antiabortion, anti-ERA convictions, and her husband’s support of the conservative Family Protection Act.
However, she was consistently well received among conservative women and Christian groups. An interview with her on James Dobson’s national radio broadcast, “Focus on the Family,” generated more than 1,000 letters from women who identified with her point of view. The women she is in touch with, Jepsen said in an interview, “are very much involved in their everyday lives, and they are about the business of living. They are not all caught up in this media gender flap.”1
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