Helen Chenoweth-Hage Dies In Car Crash


October 3, 2006

By Barry Clausen unfrend1@charter.net

On Monday October 2, 2006, a former member of Congress died. To those who support the multiple-use of our natural resources, Helen was a champion. She also proved herself to be one of the most active and popular members of Congress in recent U.S. history.

She was a passenger in a vehicle that flipped over just before noon on Highway 376 near Tonopah, Nevada, 172 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

According to The Associated Press, the Nevada Highway Patrol pronounced Helen dead at the scene. Other members of the family who survived the crash include her daughter-in-law, Yelena Hage, who was driving, and 5-month old Bryan Hage. Helen was holding the baby and was not wearing a seat belt. Both Helen and the baby were thrown from the car, but the child "miraculously" had only minor injuries. No one else was seriously injured.

Many of us will remember the beginning of her speech at Klamath Falls, Oregon, on August 21, 2001, when she introduced her husband. Helen stated, "Thank you so much. God, it's great to be back here. A few of you know I was raised in Grant's Pass, Oregon, so I have webbed feet and I can identify. About two years ago I married my hero. And he's here and I'd like to introduce him, Wayne Hage."

Helen lost her love, when Wayne passed, just a few months ago. They had, each of them, supported America's natural resource producers, resource dependant communities and resource dependant families. This, along with private property rights, remained a focus for Helen during her three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The day Helen was sworn in, I was present in her office when two U.S. Senators entered. They asked me to leave. Helen told them whatever business they had with her could be said in front of me. They handed her a piece of paper and proceeded to tell her how to vote on several issues. When they left, Helen stated, "They didn't even give me a chance to sit down."

I was one of those fortunate enough to have known Helen and to have been honored with her friendship. I will never forget her and will always appreciate her strong work ethic as well as her standing her ground when she felt she was right.  She helped many. I will always remember her. God speed, Helen, and say hello to Wayne for us.