Senate Dole

Elizabeth Dole was in the spotlight when she was elected to the United States Senate from North Carolina, but she's steered clear of offers to use it to her advantage.

For now, she says she prefers working on North Carolina issues and building her knowledge of and relationships within the institution.

Many expected Dole to parlay her celebrity status and deep knowledge of Washington into a more visible role from the moment she arrived. Dole says her low-profile debut has been largely by design.

Dole tells The News and Observer of Raleigh that as the junior senator, she has to pace herself and show respect for people who have been in the Senate for years.

Her first major initiative, possibly months away, will be a proposed buyout of struggling tobacco farmers and quota-holders. Dole also has been working on more modest issues related to the textile industry and combating hunger.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)