SARTORIALLY, the United States Senate will never...


SARTORIALLY, the United States Senate will never be the same now that Colorado is represented by Ben Nighthorse Campbell, the first American Indian to serve in that august chamber since 1929.

Senator Campbell can be spotted among the pin stripes and blue worsteds on Capitol Hill by his invariable attire of western leather jacket, cowboy boots, silver bolo ties and belt buckles.

The latter two items are usually the handiwork of the senator himself, who is an accomplished jeweler.

"I've never believed in the melting-pot theory that you put a bunch of people together and all of a sudden they look alike and act alike," he told the Rocky Mountain News.

"I wasn't elected to become one of the Washington crowd. It's just not me."

As Senator Campbell shuttles between Capitol Hill and his 120-acre ranch on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation near Ignacio, Colo., he has found airplane travel somewhat ill-attuned to his wardrobe.

"A cowboy hat is too clumsy on a plane," he complained to the News. "You can't keep the thing on your lap when you're eating, and you can't put it on the floor. So you put it overhead, and somebody throws his suitcase on it."

He also wears open-collar neckerchiefs rather than his spectacular bolo ties because his silverwork will set off metal detectors -- a pain in the neck for someone getting on three

planes a day.

One Senate perk -- cheap haircuts -- has no interest to Ben Night-horse Campbell. He started letting his hair grow in 1965 and hasn't cut it since. No New York-style "little peewees" for him. The senator wears a real ponytail.

FROM A letter to the editor, published nearly four years ago:

"We just finished a visit to your city that started as an afternoon at the ball park, but unexpectedly became a month at the hospital. If our son's serious injuries -- suffered when he was hit by a car as we left the Orioles Opening Day game -- provided a terrible reason for an extended visit to Baltimore, the long stay gave our entire family the opportunity to discover a terrific city. . .

"For our other three children. . . Baltimore was a city for new adventures. The Children's Museum and the Aquarium were highlights. . . .

"The city of Baltimore opened its hearts to our family, and we want to say thank you to all those who reached out and stood with us. . .

"During our unexpected visit to Baltimore, we found a great city with wonderful people. Baltimore has a lot for which you can be very proud."

Clearly, Baltimore won a special place in the hearts of then-Sen. Al Gore and his wife Tipper during that trying April of 1989.

Now that he's vice president and she's Second Lady, will the Gores find new ways to show their affection for this city?

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