Words per minute? N/A, she explained

The slogan on this button sticks a fork in Rep. Wayne Hays, the once-powerful Ohio Democrat who resigned from Congress in 1976 rather than undergo an Ethics Committee investigation of charges he had put Elizabeth Ray on his payroll to serve as his mistress. Ray, 27 at the time, was born in Marshall in Madison County, North Carolina.

Hays at first denied allegations, telling the Washington Post, “Hell’s fire! I’m a very happily married man.” But Ray, ostensibly a secretary, readily acknowledged that “I can’t type. I can’t file. I can’t even answer the phone.”

One thought on “Words per minute? N/A, she explained”

  1. Never knew that Liz Ray was from Madison County, way up on the Tennesee border. How fitting. I guess that’s why we have NC Miscellany, to learn things we didn’t know.

    The late Roy Thompson, the Winston-Salem Journal’s legendary columnist, wrote quite a few very funny pieces about the Ponder Boys of Madison County over the years. When Zeno Ponder went into politics there in 1950, the Republicans had held a 2/3 majority in voter registration since Civil War times. Zeno and his cohorts scoured the county, visiting places that no roads went to, and a few cemeteries as well, it is said. When they were done, the numbers were reversed.

    But that didn’t make things easy right away. When Zeno’s brother E.Y. won his first race for sheriff, the Republican incumbent refused to surrender the office. He set up a machine gun and dared the Ponders to storm the courthouse.

    You can read a terrific piece about Zeno by another Winston-Salem writer, Hunter James, at http://www.grassyforkdays.com/ponder.htm

    Or you can hear Zeno in his own words, or read transcripts of interviews by the Southern Oral History Program at http://docsouth.unc.edu/sohp/A-0326/menu.html

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