Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
The Washingtonn Yacht Club had the look of a church social, a union hall and an election-night victory party Sunday night as 200 friends showed up for a benefit to reelect former Representative Ken Hechler of West Virginia.
Arnold Miller, United Mine Workers president, came over from the coal talks at the Capital Hilton Hotel, looking relaxed among his own people. "The strike should break soon; we're beginning to get some coal people at the bargaining table," he said.
People ate from paper plates, shook hands with United Mine Worker officials, listened to bluegrass music, held babies on their knees and congratulated Hechler for running again for Congress.
Hechler, long an opponent of strip mining, left his congressional seat in 1976 to run for governor against Jay Rockefeller in the West Virginia primary, and lost.
Ron Hunt, an international field representative for the UMW. said, "I worked in the mines for eight years. Congressman Hechler, he's our No. 1 man. He could have been the governor only he waited too long to get into the race."
Jeanne Rasmussen, the former wife of Dr. Donald Rasmussen, a pioneer in the fight against black lung disease, said, "The congressman was a good friend of Jock Yablonski and got into the war against the disease a long time ago."
She is currently working on a magazine story about women in the mines, "and don't get the idea they are stereotyped," she said in mock anger. "One I am writing about is a 27-year-old good-looking blond with two children.
"She has a degree from Fairmont State and drives an 18-wheel truck."
Hechler is also author of the best seller, "The Bridge At Remagen." He walked among the crowd, shaking hands and handing out free copies of the paperback.
His picture, on the back cover, shows him wearing a jumper with lettering across the pocket saying. "Your Servant in Congress."
He appeared to be the happiest man in the party. "I have friends here from the Truman days, the Stevenson days, friends from the Hill, friends from back home."
Hechler drives around in a Jeep with his name on the side and said, "As I was coming down to Washington yesterday a truck driver stopped me and yelled, 'We got to get you back in again, Ken - someone has got to fight for the common man,' and that'swhat I want to do."