"The Economist" (an English magazine) called her living room the foremost political salon of New Hampshire.
"I have a somewhat buoyant, optimistic nature. And I have a certain tenacity that always leads me to believe that, ultimately, I shall win.", and that is a marvelous example of Mary Louise's gift for understatement!
She has applied this tenacity and winning spirit to getting her friends elected, Gov. John King, Gov. Hugh Gallen, Sen. Thomas McIntyre, and Gov. Jeanne Shaheen (and defeating a few crumb-bums). Virtually every self-respecting Democratic candidate for the presidency, dating back to the 1970's, has visited her home on Washington Street. For all the activity that takes place in her home, Mary Louise has spun her web of influence far beyond the walls of her parlor.
Just before the 1988 Presidential Primary, People magazine termed it "an obligatory stop" on the campaign trail and called Mary Louise "a feisty state senator (who) serves cookies and soft drinks at her gatherings". "I don't know an important Democrat in the nation who hasn't been to her house," said former Concord city councilor Anne McIntosh. She will listen to them all, and hasn't been shy about offering her great knowledge of the state and political "wisdom". That is why Hugh Gallen used to affectionately call her "the Queenbee".
Her lifetime of (sometimes blunt and outspoken) activism has been recognized and appreciated by polls from Washington to Concord. When she left her State Planning post after scraps with Governor Meldrim Thompson. She entered the political fray in earnest, becoming the first Democratic state senator ever elected from Concord. "I'd lived here so long I guess they didn't (know) what I was, and didn't care" she says. Her supporters say Hancock has never been driven by political expediency. The opposition, observed longtime friend Susan Caldwell, "could lead some to throw up their hands and say, 'It's not worth fighting in this legislature,' or 'The time isn't right with this group', or 'we're outnumbered.' But, being outnumbered has never stopped her." She is fond of saying "We'll just outlast the bastards." [and, she has outlived many, if not most of them.]
Her friends wanted her to run for governor. One, Lois Alexander of the Harlem Institute of Fashion thinks that Congress would have been better. "I think that we should share her with the rest of the country." Randy Raymond suggested that the state buy her a park bench on the State House lawn so she can tell future governors how to run things [she will and does, even without the park bench].
Hancock commands such high respect partly because she demands that others meet the high standards that she set for herself. For now out of the political spotlight. Hancock has her hands full networking on issues.
"The conservative/liberal dichotomy is not a good one for her," says Raymond. "It's how you feel about New Hampshire?". That is what she really cares about.