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Catalina Rotary Club Member Bio

Alison McHose
Public Administration

Alison McHose

Like many Tucsonans, Alison McHose came from somewhere else. Like many of us, her genial demeanor and willingness to support the community come from a long history of family and community traditions.

The basic facts are pretty easy. She was born and raised in Northwestern New Jersey, about an hour from New York City. Her hometown was the Borough of Franklin, a fairly rural (pop. 5,000) town whose economy was mostly based on iron ore and zinc mining. She has a brother, nine years younger, and her early education was in the local Catholic schools. Because of its closeness to the Appalachian Mountains, growing up meant her winters included skiing and snowmobiling. So far, pretty storybook.

But, dig a little deeper, and you find that her family had surprisingly deep roots in Franklin. In fact, as four generations of a Franklin merchant family, they were very much an important part of that slice of the country. Her great-grandfather had an ice business and a three-story hotel and boardinghouse. Over the generations the family also had an appliance store, a bottling business (with  a contract with Ballantine beer!), a propane gas business, an antique store and several others. Not only were they outstanding merchants, they also served the community with four generations of public service and political office.

In fact, her great-grandfather’s hotel/boardinghouse caught fire and, because there was no fire equipment close enough to save it, it led him to travel to New York City and arrange with the American/LaFrance equipment company to buy the first fire pumper to be located in Franklin. Organizing that town purchase started the public service theme that has lasted for four generations as Republicans. Alison’s great-grandfather was a member of the first Borough Council of Franklin in 1913; her grandfather was mayor of Franklin and later served in the state legislature (both houses) and became Senate President and acting governor of New Jersey in the 1950s. Her father was on the Borough Council in the 1960s and then also served in both houses of the New Jersey state legislature.

After her first two years in Boston for college, she was offered and accepted an internship in Congress for the New Jersey Congresswoman from her home district. That, and her family background, was all it took. She fell in love with DC and never went back to Boston. She finished her degree at the University of Maryland College Park and stayed in the area for ten years before moving back home to New Jersey.

With a background like that, Alison followed her father by serving in the state legislature in New Jersey for twelve years. Her district had about 110,000 people in it and was just about the size of a congressional district. After resigning from the Assembly, Alison was appointed by the Mayor of Franklin as the Borough Administrator, a position she held for five years.

Her history with Rotary started with Kiwanis. Her grandfather was a lifelong and committed member of Kiwanis but Alison had a good friend who was becoming president of her local Rotary club (Wallkill Valley) and who had been asking Alison to join the very vibrant and active club for a long time. Her memories of handing out dictionaries, raising money for ambulance and fire departments and hosts of other internal and external projects made Rotary a very meaningful part of her life.

She met her husband Morgan in Maryland, where both attended the University of Maryland. He was from Pennsylvania but when she took him home to meet her parents, he (and Alison) thought that Franklin was an absolutely wonderful place to raise a family. Twenty-five years, two sons and a daughter later, they were right. Then, the lure of Arizona and retirement beckoned them here. Although Morgan fell in love with Cochise County, Alison lobbied for a little more suburban/urban life and they compromised on Tucson. Their two sons stayed in the East to finish college and their daughter, Molly, finished high school, started at Pima Community College and recently transferred to the University of Arizona to finish her undergraduate degree.

Rotary has been part of the continuum. She joined Catalina Rotary, sensing the same kinds of active support of the community, fundraising and, of course, distributing dictionaries to the kids! A simple conversation with Alison unlocks a perspective and experience that will make your day better! She is an amazing addition to the Catalina Rotary experience!

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