Helen Delich Bentley, 60, is a former Nixon administration official who rode President Reagan's coattails to a narrow victory over 22-year Rep. Clarence D. Long (D) in Maryland's 2nd District.
It was her third try for the office.
Bentley will be the second Republican in Maryland's eight-member House delegation. Her campaign got a big boost when Vice President Bush stumped for her the weekend before the election.
The daughter of a Nevada coal miner, she promises to be a solid supporter of Reagan on economic, defense and most social issues. She differs with the administration on the proposed Equal Rights Amendment, which she has always supported enthusiastically, partly because she says her salary was lower than her male peers' for most of her career.
For 25 years a maritime reporter and editor for The Baltimore Sun, Bentley was once sent to cover the maiden voyage of an icebreaker in Alaska but was prohibited from using the ship's transmitter because her language was too profane. While a journalist, she was a host of a television show on maritime issues and became a celebrated figure in the port community.
In 1969 Nixon appointed Bentley chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission, making her the highest-ranking woman in the federal government.
Her strong endorsement of a plan to dredge the Baltimore harbor, which Long steadfastly opposed until 1981, won her strong support in her district. In addition, she has campaigned against raising taxes in an area where pocketbook issues often dominate. She believes that economic recovery -- particularly continued cuts in federal spending -- will bring jobs to her area.
Bentley supports Reagan's defense increases for major weapons systems but says the Pentagon budget is wasteful. On social issues, she favors voluntary school prayer and opposes abortion.