The magazine for Western Washington University

Political Action is a Family Value

Alumni get out the vote!

Story by Stacee Sledge

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Rosalie Hansen has been volunteering for political causes, such as a recent stint at the Republican Party booth at the Northwest Washington Fair, above, since she’s been old enough to vote. | Photo by Josie Liming

Rosalie Hansen (’77), now 83, has always been deft at juggling responsibilities as she raised five children and worked as a nurse while earning a college degree.

But she’s always found time to volunteer for Republican candidates and causes.

Volunteering fills Hansen with pride, satisfaction and a feeling of serving her country.

“All my life I’ve been interested and concerned with political issues,” she says. “And I wanted my kids to also take an interest — whether they voted my way or made different choices.”

Her service as a political foot-soldier started more than a half-century ago with Dwight D. Eisenhower.

“Ike was my guy,” Hansen says with a smile.

Back then, Hansen, her husband, Ray, and their five children were living in north Seattle. After a day working as a nurse for the Seattle Health Department, she would pile the kids in the car and they’d pass out Republican literature “to anyone who would take it,” she says, laughing.

“The kids thought it was great,” Hansen remembers. “They’d be waving American flags, very proud.”

Hansen put her kids to work in several campaigns, says daughter Laurie Frye.

“I remember stapling packets together for the Nixon campaign against Kennedy and handing out yard signs for candidates such as Dan Evans, Ralph Munro and Dick Marquardt,” Frye says.

Hansen also served as a Republican Precinct Committeewoman for Seattle’s 45th District, worked in the election booth and was a yard sign distributor.

“All through the years I was doing something, whenever I could, with and for the Republicans,” she says.

Meanwhile, Hansen went back to school at age 50, studying nights at her dining room table to earn her degree in Human Services from Woodring College of Education to further her career as an occupational health nurse for the General Services Administration.

Now retired and living in Ferndale, Hansen is more involved locally, volunteering at the Republican booth at the Northwest Washington Fair, attending Republican Party events and giving small donations to Republican candidates.

“She inspired much of my family to be interested in politics,” says Frye, adding that her sister is following in her mother’s footsteps by volunteering for Republican candidates.

And just like those long-ago Eisenhower campaign volunteer days, Hansen still involves the young ones, bringing her grandchildren along when she volunteers at the Northwest Washington Fair.

“It’s fun,” she says. “I’m not as agile as I used to be, but I do what I can.”

And the rest of Hansen family continues to vote Republican, except one daughter and her husband. Which is why politics doesn’t come up very often at family gatherings.

“We all love each other,” she says, laughing, “so we try not to get into political arguments.”