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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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DUNHAM, Janet. A teacher mother and labor union father influenced Janet's early interest in politics, elections, and human rights – before the age of five! The 1960 Kennedy election was a particular highlight at age 23 while living in the D.C. area during husband's military service.

Returning to Dubuque, her involvement with partisan and non-partisan elections flourished under the mentorship of Dorothea Green and Marge Tully - precinct official, secretary of central committee (T.J. Mulgrew, Chair), officer in Democratic Women Club, League of Women Voters, plus appointments to various city and county boards and commissions.

Janet became deputy commissioner of elections in 1977 in time to manage the county's entry into the new state-wide voter registration system and later on-line methods. Dedicated to ease of registering and voting, she spoke to groups and schools, encouraging full participation in the process.

Leaving Dubuque in 1987 to join Paul in Wilmington, North Carolina, she received commendations from Iowa County Auditors Assn. for her work and influence in Iowa voting. In North Carolina, Janet jumped into LWV activities and the political scene - secretary of Democratic Women Club, co-chair of first county Demo. "Caucus", and treasurer for State Demo. Women convention. During elections, she chaired various poll sites, some with 6,500 registered voters

Back in Dubuque, she returned to work in precinct caucuses, making phone calls at headquarters, and the League. Quote from Janet: "Political participation is a great cross-generational opportunity to know people and encourage everyone to vote in every election, because elections have consequences!"

She was inducted into the Dubuque Democrats Hall of Fame in 2015.



Dubuque County Democrats. Online: http://www.dbqdemocrats.org/halloffameinductees.php#CarolineKoppes