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Jill Hanson, 1953-2012

5:20 PM, Jun 27, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
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Jill Hanson, an impressive and successful behind-the-scenes Republican political operative, passed away earlier this month after suffering from throat cancer. A memorial service for Hanson is scheduled in Washington, D.C. for Friday, June 29, at at the Capitol Hill Club, 300 First Street SE, Washington D.C., at 10 a.m.

A friend of Hanson's passes along these notes on her life and career:

Jill A. Hanson, a leading national campaign professional in numerous presidential and congressional campaigns in the 80s and 90s, passed away Friday, June 8, after a short battle with throat cancer.

Jill will be remembered as a legendary behind-the-scenes political operative in a profession historically dominated by men. She was widely known for “holding her own” with her loud, raspy voice and laugh, often complemented by colorful language and an acerbic wit, which was seemingly at odds with from her petite, well-dressed frame and shoulder length platinum hair. To friends, staff, and those she represented, Jill was fondly known for being a fiercely loyal friend with a big heart.

Most recently, Jill served as a senior policy advisor with The Strategy Group after having represented several leading corporations prior as a sole practitioner. Hanson served as National Political Director for the Dole-Kemp 1996 presidential campaign and managed a staff of over 700, directing operations in all fifty states. Hanson also served as senior political advisor of the 1992 Bush-Quayle presidential campaign for the Great Lakes Region. She also served as regional political director for the Great Lakes and Northeast Regions for the Republican National Committee.

"Jill Hanson had a reputation as being one of the most effective and respected political operatives in America," said Rex Elsass, president and CEO of The Strategy Group for Media. "Her expertise in political planning, budgeting, grassroots organization, voter programs, and campaign communications were invaluable. She will be sorely missed both personally and professionally."

Hanson also served as senior consultant on numerous successful senatorial and gubernatorial campaigns in the Midwest and Western United States including former Illinois governor Jim Edgar and former Wisconsin governor and secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson. Hanson has also served as executive director of the Republican party of Arizona and worked as field coordinator in the Western states for the Reagan-Bush 1984 presidential campaign. In 1986, Hanson was appointed campaign manager for then congressman John McCain's run for U.S. Senate. After McCain's victory, Hanson became his executive assistant in his Senate office in Washington.

Ms. Hanson was born and raised in Wisconsin; attended the University of Wisconsin and graduated with a B.S. in speech pathology. She is survived by two brothers, five nieces and nephews, and her beloved dogs Barney and Lilly, who will be lovingly cared for by relatives.

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