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Hannon, Beverly A., 1932-



  • Existence: 1932-


Beverly A. Hannon, two-term Iowa state senator from 1985 to 1992, was born on March 30, 1932 in Manchester, Iowa, to John and Kathryn Hahesy. She attendedSt. Xavier's Elementary School and graduated from Manchester High School in 1950. In 1961 she married David L. Hannon, a program manager at Rockwell-Collins in Cedar Rapids. When the youngest of their six children entered kindergarten, Hannon enrolled in Kirkwood Community College, receiving an Associate of Arts degree in 1982 and in 1990 a bachelor's degree from the University of Iowa.

Hannon first entered Democratic Party politics in Jones County. Dismayed with the Democratic county chairman's stand on abortion and his attitude toward women, she was preparing to run for his position in 1984 when she was asked to run for the state senate instead. The District 22 lines had been redrawn following the 1980 census,making the district more Democratic. She defeated the incumbent, Merlin Hulse, by 200 votes, served a four-year term, and in 1988 defeated Hurley Hall by about 2500 votes, an incumbent senator who moved into her district and changed parties to run against her.

Following redistricting in 1990, Hannon's residence was situated in the new District 20, but she lost most of her base of support. In the 1992 election, incumbent Jack Rife, a ten-year Republican senator and Senate Minority Leader, was placed in the same district as incumbent Republican Richard Drake. Rife used the address within District 20 for his campaign address but continued to reside outside District 20.

During her eight years in the Iowa Senate Hannon chaired the Human Resources committee and was vice-chair of the Small Business and Economic Development committee. She also served on the Energy and Environmentand the Local Government committees as well as the appropriations sub-committee of Health and Human Resources.

Hannon's legislative activities focused on health and family issues. She was an outspoken supporter of reproductive rights and an opponent of parental notification legislation requiring that parents of minors wishing to have an abortion be notified in advance. Hannonwas deeply committed to her constituents, conscientiously responding to their inquiries and concerns. In each of her three senatorial races she was an avid campaigner.

Hannon made two trips to Central America, the first in 1986 to Honduras and Nicaragua as one of four legislators went to determine the advisability of sending an Iowa Guard medical and dental unit to Honduras. The following year she was part of a twelve-woman delegation to Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador, sponsored by the Augsburg College (Minneapolis, Minnesota) Center for Global Education. In 1989 she attended the UnitedStates/Salvadoran Women's Conference in Mexico, under the auspices of the Foundation for a Compassionate Society. These trips confirmed Hannon's strong opposition to United States policy in Central America.

In 1992 Hannon helped form the Democratic Activist Women's Network (DAWN) to focus on recruiting, educating, supporting and electing pro-choice Democrat women in Iowa local and state government. In 1993, Hannon worked for the University of Iowa Pre-Vocational Training Program, which was designed to place women in nontraditional employment and education programs. Hannon was instrumental in founding the Iowa Women's Foundation based in Iowa City. Hannon received numerous honors and awards for her legislative leadership and her academic achievements.

Found in 2 Collections and/or Records:

A Political Dialogue: Iowa's Women Legislators oral histories

Identifier: IWA0089

Interviews with Iowa women legislators conducted by Suzanne O'Dea Schenken.

Dates: 1988-1993

Beverly A. Hannon papers

Identifier: IWA0065

Two-term Iowa state senator. Hannon chaired the Human Resources Committee and was instrumental in founding the Iowa Women's Foundation in Iowa City.

Dates: 1968-2015

Additional filters:

1981-1990 1
1991-2000 1
20th century 1
Abortion 1
African American women -- Iowa 1