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Monthly newsletter for members of the League of Women Voters Northfield - Cannon Falls

May / June 2015 (June 4, 2015)

Get to Know Our New Local League President, Mary Hahn

June 4, 2015
By Sarah Entenmann

Mary HahnRecently, I had the privilege of finding out more about the LWV Northfield-Cannon Falls president for 2015-16. I’m sure you will also enjoy getting to know Mary Hahn better.

Sarah: Please let us know why LWV interests you enough to commit to the big job of president.    

Mary: I am committed to civility in political discourse. I am committed to discourse based on fact rather than emotion. I am committed to the education of all voters, so that we all feel empowered and involved ─ that our vote makes a difference. The education component of the League of Women Voters is a very important piece for me.   Also, I was eager to learn from the experts, so to speak. I do not come from a politically active family. I was and remain inspired by the fact that our local League is filled with brilliant and passionate folks, folks who care about the current state of political affairs, both national and local. 

Sarah: How long have you been in LWV? Any mothers or aunts in it?  

Mary: No one in my family has ever been involved in the League. As I mentioned, I don’t come from a politically active background.  I had always heard of the League, but did not fully understand its mission until after I moved to Northfield 15 years ago.  I have been involved in our local League for the past four years, as a dues-paying member, and more actively involved at the board level for the last two years. 

Sarah: Tell us a little about yourself. Where did you grow up? Where'd you go to college?   

Mary: Igrew up in Park Ridge, Illinois, a suburb just outside of Chicago (home of Hillary Clinton).  I went to the University of Michigan for my undergraduate degree (Go Blue! sorry, but I cannot help saying that) and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, for my law degree. 

Sarah: You have two kids. Tell us something about them.

Mary: My daughter Erin is 18. She just graduated from Northfield High School.  Erin has served on the Northfield Mayor's Youth Council for the past two years and is quite politically active, of which I am proud.  Erin has also assisted the local League this past year, by calling members and by researching the League archives stored at the Northfield Historical Society. She is in the process of writing an essay about our local League for a future E-Catalyst.  My son Luke is 15 and is a rising sophomore at Northfield High School. He is an avid bowler…not yet politically active but extremely inquisitive and curious about the state of political affairs in our country today.     

Sarah: Do you see the League expanding to really include men? Who else would you like to see feel more included?  

Mary: Absolutely!  Since 1973, League membership has been open to men.  We have enthusiastically welcomed men into our local League and we will continue to do so.  We have had two men on our board this past year.  Paul Zorn continues to serve as our treasurer, and we are lucky to have his expertise on the board. Nate White has been serving on the board managing our website and other tech needs. The League welcomes all to the table who wish to become educated and engaged.  This year, I would like to reach out more aggressively to our local college student population. One way in which we intend to do this is by creating the first local League Twitter account!  Of course, I need a college student to help me set that up, since I have yet to master Twitter.

Sarah: What would you like Northfield/Cannon Falls people to know about membership? Is it something you recommend?     

Mary: Membership in the League can mean many things and can take many forms.  You can participate with your time, plan events, make phone calls, write articles for the E-Catalyst, or simply write a check for dues.  There are just so many ways to become involved.  The benefits are many and priceless.  As a member, you are helping to fund education, leading toward intelligent and civil political discourse. You are not funding a political party or a political candidate because the League is a nonpartisan organization. Also, there is a very valuable social benefit of being a member.  I have found this organization to consist of engaging, brilliant, and funny folks, from all walks of life—men and women, young and old—and I enjoy every event I attend!