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August 12, 1984. A historic August for politics. At the Democratic Convention, Presidential candidate Walter Monday chose former New York Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate. Ferraro was the first female vice-presidential nominee representing a major American political party. She served in the United States House of Representatives from 1979 to 1985 and in 1984 was the Democratic Party’s vice presidential nominee, running alongside former vice president Walter Mondale. She was also an ambassador, attorney, journalist, author, and businesswoman. And in true political fashion, the Republicans asked the House Ethics Committee to launch an investigation into the finances of Ferraro stemming from an exemption Ferraro claimed on her financial disclosure form. In effect stating she had no knowledge of or benefit from the financial holdings of the rest of her family, including her husband, a New York Real Estate man. Ferraro reiterated she had done nothing wrong. Politics.
While the candidates were gearing for the upcoming election, there was still politics as usual. Before recessing ahead of the Republican Convention later on in the month, several pieces of legislation were passed on Capitol Hill making it pretty clear things were changing on the horizon. First to pass was a bill which cracked down on parents behind in their child support payments. It was disclosed that some $4 billion in child support money goes unpaid every year in the U.S. The bill would enable state and local governments to attach the wages of an offending parent, even withholding tax-free income funds to make sure the debts are paid.
Another major piece of legislation that passed both houses of Congress was The Retirement Equity Act of 1984. Although the law was aimed at both men and women, it was primarily designed to make it easier for women to earn pension rights. The bill paid special attention to women who broke up their careers to have children.
But the so-called “Women’s issues” weren’t the only thing on the agenda for this congress. The issue of more military aid for El Salvador was taking center stage. General Paul Gorman of the Southern Command in Panama revealed newly declassified intelligence material alleging Salvadoran guerrillas were being funded by Communist bloc countries. And that Nicaragua was acting as a delivery pipeline for those weapons. The Senate passed a $117 million appropriations bill that contained all the military aid President Reagan asked for. The House version of the bill however, contained no money for El Salvador. In the end, the House approved $70 million in aid to El Salvador.
The question of taxes and will they be going up was being bandied around by Republicans and Democrats, to which President Reagan was adamant in saying he had no plans for anything resembling a tax increase in 1985.
Allergy sufferers were bracing for bad news, coming by way or reports that a bumper crop of Ragweed was going to be causing havoc among those sensitive to pollen.
And Actor/icon/legend Richard Burton died of a cerebral hemorrhage earlier in the week at age 58.
And that’s just a small slice of news for this August 12, 1984 as reported by ABC Radio News.