Hannah Kempfer

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She came to Otter Tail County as a young Norwegian immigrant and grew up in grinding poverty. She overcame these adversities to become a rural school teacher and in 1923, was elected MN's first rural woman state legislator in 1923. She championed the rights of children, farmers and the environment. Hannah Kempfer's life is a truly American success story. Yet she never forgot her roots and used the tragedies in her life to help others.
~Chris Schuelke, Fergus Falls, MN

Hannah Kempfer was the first woman from rural Minnesota to be elected to the state legislature. She was an Independent candidate and served many terms with the suppoort of her husband, unlike Coya Knudson. Hannah was a champion for children, a foster mother who had been a foster child. Kempfer had experienced extreme poverty as a child; acted as an advocate for social welfare issues. She was passionate about environmental issues long before they were popular - issues such as creating fisheries and setting limits for fish and game. In addition, she was the first woman to sit in the Speaker of the House's chair, long before Dee Long.
~Melissa Hermes, Fergus Falls, MN


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