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Getting to Wichita, the Hard Way

December 20, 1987|From a Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — There is an old Washington maxim that all politics is local.

And it apparently held true last week when Senate Minority Leader Bob Dole (R-Kan.) and House Speaker Jim Wright (D-Tex.) took some time from big national issues to settle a much smaller one that was close to both their homes.

Dole had earlier obtained Senate approval of an amendment to massive spending legislation that would bend existing law to allow Southwest Airlines to fly cut-rate flights between Wichita, Kan., and Dallas' Love Field. It seemed to be a simple enough addition to legislation that is loaded with hundreds of similar special-interest provisions.

But it touched a nerve in Dallas and nearby Fort Worth. Civic interests there have long insisted that the old, but conveniently situated, Love Field be used only for short flights. That way, it would not be competing for long-distance passengers with the modern Dallas-Fort Worth Airport.

So they turned to their congressman, Fort Worth's Wright, to do what he could to prevent that provision from becoming law.

An aide to Dole said Wright prevailed on Dallas-based American Airlines to cut its fares between Dallas-Fort Worth and Wichita. And, it turns out that some, indeed, are reduced by half.

That met Dole's goal of obtaining low-cost air service between the two cities, the problem was solved and the Love Field provision was dropped.

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