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On the Light Side

June 11, 1988

SHELBY, N.C. (AP) _ U.S. Rep. Cass Ballenger appreciated a letter of congratulations from President Reagan’s daughter, Maureen, but he says he’s his mother’s son - not his mother’s daughter.

In a June 2 letter addressed to ″Ms. Cass Ballenger,″ Ms. Reagan, co- chairman of the Republican National Committee, wrote, ″On behalf of the Republican Party, I would like to congratulate you on your candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives.

″As you know, the participation of women like yourself is the driving force behind the continual advancement of women in policy-making arenas across the country. We are so proud that you will be representing the Republican Party in this important race.″

″Dear Maurie,″ the freshman congressman responded. ″If women like me are a driving force in policy making, the Republican Party may have some difficulties that neither of us had considered. Before I get too exercised, however, I would want to discuss this entire issue with my wife Don(na).″

Ballenger enclosed an autographed picture of himself taken in the Capitol.

″The gentleman to my left is my namesake, Lewis Cass, who served as the first governor of Michigan, a member of the House of Representatives, a member of the U.S. Senate, secretary of war, secretary of state and ambassador to France,″ Ballenger wrote.

″On reflection, my parents may have been well advised to name me Lewis.″ Ballenger’s administrative assistant Max Veale said Friday the congressman had not heard back from Ms. Reagan. Similar mistakes about Ballenger’s first name have been made before, he said.

″We started to suggest she check with her father, ‘Rhonda,’ who knows the congressman well and wouldn’t make the same mistake,″ Veale said.

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PUT-IN-BAY, Ohio (AP) - Jay Faris was the star of his high school class, graduating as valedictorian, not to mention class president. He also ranked last.

″It felt kind of weird at first, but I got used to it,″ said Faris, 18, the Lake Erie resort town’s only graduating senior.

Faris said it was lonely at times, but that he enjoyed telling people he was valedictorian and class president.

″Absolutely. That’s what I tell people. Then I tell them the truth, rather than they find out,″ Faris said after his graduation ceremony Friday night.

Lt. Gov. Paul Leonard gave a five-minute commencement address to Faris and the 200 guests, and talked with Faris briefly afterward.

″It was a really good speech,″ Faris said by telephone. ″He told me all of Ohio is proud of me.″

The graduate said he has enjoyed being in the spotlight. ″I liked it,″ said Faris, the son of the school’s superintendent. ″I can’t really say I was ever tired of it.″

Faris had requested a commencement speaker who was a political personality and well-known.

Leonard, upon hearing Faris’ request, quipped, ″At least I meet one of his two criteria.″

Faris said he plans to major in law enforcement at the University of Toledo this fall after working at a gas station this summer.

There are 80 students enrolled from kindergarten through the 12th grade at the school, on South Bass Island in western Lake Erie.