The Second Generation

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SAN DIEGO: A 38- year old pro-choice Congresswoman from Staten Island, Susan Molinari is one of the rising stars of the Republican Party, and the keynote speaker of the party's National Convention scheduled to speak Tuesday night. For her whole career, Molinari has opposed calls for a constitutional amendment banning abortion, and the prosecution of doctors who perform them, two items specifically mentioned in the Republican Party Platform. Bob Dole picked Molinari for the role in a gesture TIME's Elaine Rivera calls "an olive branch to moderate, pro-choice Republicans." Falling into step with the moderate line that dissent is healthy, Molinari has already said she will not mention the divisive abortion issue. Tuesday morning, she downplayed her speech entirely, doubting anyone would remember anything beyond her ringing endorsement of Dole as "everything that we need for this country to take us into the next century." Molinari will certainly be around come the millennium, and may cherish the idea of a spot in the Oval Office herself. "She comes from a political family on Staten Island, and inherited her father's Congressional seat in a 1990 special election" says Rivera. "She is very much a modern American woman, a successful professional and mother. At the same time, she is very politically expedient. She is touted as the future of the Republican Party, but she now has to compromise herself, since the party opposes issues she strongly supports. She represents the moderate arm of the party, which is only symbolically recognizing her dissent." Although the choice of a pro-choice, pro-gun control legislator did not sit well with the GOP's right, Dole hopes that the charming and energetic Molinari will provide a much-needed link to both women and party moderates. Terence Nelan