A Metro story Tuedsay concerning a scheduled seminar on women's issues misidentified the organization A Woman's Education and Leadership Forum (WELF). (Published 8/23/90)

If you're a working woman from Northern Virginia and you've been struggling to balance "career, family and self," Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va.) has the answer to your problem.

Next month, for a $35 fee, Warner is sponsoring a day-long conference in Alexandria entitled "Northern Virginia Woman '90's," one of a series of seminars that addresses being a woman in the 90s. He has invited everyone in the region to attend via a taxpayer-financed mass mailing.

Up to 900 participants will discuss such topics as "Juggling Career, Family and Self," "Marketing Yourself" and "Self-Esteem -- You're Worth It!" A continental breakfast and lunch come with the ticket.

Warner's staff says it is a rather unlikely occasion. Warner, 63 years old and single, does not personally confront the problems of career women. And a Virginia Democratic leader questioned yesterday whether Warner's mailing was an abuse of Congress's franking privilege.

But Warner's top aide said the mailing is appropriate and the event is nonpartisan, nonprofit and part of Warner's service to his constituents. Susan Magill, Warner's administrative assistant, also said the seminar appears to be on the way to selling out.

"You're talking to the most skeptical person of all" about the seminar, Magill said. "It took them a year to sell me on this."

"Them," in this case is a nonprofit group called a Woman's Educational and Legal Forum (WEALTH), which originated seminars like Warner's about four years ago. Patricia Brockbank, the president of the forum, said Warner is one of at least four senators to present these sessions.

Although the forum is not mentioned in Warner's mailing, "It's our idea, our conference and our program," Brockbank said. "Our legislators are natural vehicles to reach women in their respective states and districts. But we don't want politics. Our intent is to get away from that."

Magill said that Warner agreed to sponsor the seminar on the recommendation of others who had, particularly Sen. John Chaffee (R-R.I.). Warner has already presented similar events in Virginia Beach and Richmond. The Virginia Beach seminar last fall drew 1,200 people, and the Richmond seminar filled a 500-person hotel ballroom this spring.

For the Northern Virginia event, Warner sent out invitations to every home in the state's 8th and 10th congressional districts. Paul Goldman, chairman of the Virginia Democratic Party, called the mailing yesterday a waste of taxpayers' money. "I applaud {Warner} for hosting the event, but the frank should not be used for occasions like this," he said.

Magill said that before the invitation was mailed out it was cleared as appropriate by the Senate Ethics Committee. "We've used only a small percentage of the allotment of mail that is available to the office, and the senator decided this was a good use," she said.

Late yesterday, however, the seminar lost its keynote speaker, television anchorwoman Judy Woodruff. Woodruff said she initially agreed to address the session without compensation because of the involvement of the forum. She learned yesterday from a reporter that Warner's invitations did not mention the forum and put her picture on the cover with Warner's.

"I'm very supportive of WEALTH," Woodruff said. "But I had no idea about the franking part of it or that I would be juxtaposed with him on the invitation. This puts me in an awkward position as a reporter. I've called his office and told him I'm not going to do it."