The obituary of former New York representative Frank Horton (R) [Sept. 1] brought back a fond memory. From the mid-1970s until 1979, I worked at the National Republican Congressional Committee. Mr. Horton needed someone to record a radio ad with him for his district.
Reared in Florida, I thought it was interesting that a person with a southern drawl such as Mr. Horton's was continuously reelected in a northern district with its own distinct accent.
As I recorded the opening and closing of the radio ad with Mr. Horton, his public relations team from his Upstate New York district kept requesting that I retape the opening, again and again.
Finally, Mr. Horton demanded to know what their collective problem was with my opening. The PR team, apparently oblivious to the congressman's own drawl, said, "She pronounces the word 'group' as grooooop. She has a southern accent and that won't work in your district." The PR team wanted me to pronounce "group" as "grup," a more "Upstate" pronunciation.
Mr. Horton bellowed, "Thear's nuthin' wrong with a southern accent!"
The next day the congressman and I recorded the radio ad -- sans the public relations team. And Mr. Horton was right: He was reelected with both of our southern accents -- and there was nuthin' wrong with it.