- The Washington Times - Monday, October 2, 2006

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Former Rep. Helen Chenoweth-Hage, a conservative who held “endangered salmon bakes” and once accused federal agents of using black helicopter gunships, died yesterday in a car crash, her daughter said. She was 68.

Mrs. Chenoweth-Hage was a passenger in a one-car crash near Tonopah, Nev., 172 miles northwest of Las Vegas, said her daughter Meg Chenoweth Keenan. No one else was seriously hurt, she said.

The Nevada Highway Patrol said Mrs. Chenoweth-Hage was pronounced dead at the scene. Other family members were in the car — including the driver, daughter-in-law Yelena Hage, 24, and Mrs. Hage’s 5-month-old son, Bryan.

Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Rocky Gonzalez said Mrs. Chenoweth-Hage was holding the baby and wasn’t wearing a seat belt. Both Mrs. Chenoweth-Hage and the baby were thrown from the car, but the child “miraculously” sustained only minor injuries, Trooper Gonzalez said.

Born in Topeka, Kan., Mrs. Chenoweth-Hage grew up in Grants Pass, Ore., and attended Whitworth College in Spokane, Wash., before moving to the northern Idaho timber town of Orofino, where she worked at Northside Medical Center.

She ran for Congress as a Republican in 1994 against incumbent Rep. Larry LaRocco, Idaho Democrat, and gained national attention when she held “endangered salmon bakes,” serving canned salmon and ridiculing the listing of Idaho salmon as an endangered species during fundraisers. An advocate of smaller government and property rights, Mrs. Chenoweth-Hage won the race and served a self-imposed three-term limit as a U.S. representative.

She was the victim of a “salmon pie” attack while at a field hearing on forest health in Missoula, Mont., in September 2000. She was hit in the head with a “pie” made of rotten canned salmon, forcing the meeting to adjourn briefly while she cleaned salmon flakes from her hair and jacket.

Afterward, the congresswoman joked, “I would like to say that I find it amusing that they used salmon. I guess salmon must not be endangered anymore.”

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