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Council candidate touts unique experience

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By Carol A. Clark

Frequent public commenter at Los Alamos County Council meetings, Richard Hannemann has filed his candidacy for a seat on that council.

He describes himself as a self-employed freelancer, depending totally on that work for his livelihood for 30 years.  

“I suspect I am the only candidate currently running who came to Los Alamos specifically for the purpose of building a business, doing so from scratch and earning a living from that business,” Hannemann said. “As such, I have a very different view of the challenges of, and to Los Alamos. Very few people come to Los Alamos with that objective in mind and we need more people willing to do so. Currently, most folks coming here have a job lined up with the lab, hospital, schools, or county and only later go on to open a business here.”

Hannemann, 58, is a Republican. He cites several reasons for deciding to run for council.

It’s one thing to be a policy advocate, he said, but somewhere along the line one has to take some responsibility for that advocacy and actually do something to implement it.   

“Los Alamos needs a reality check and a new vision,” he said. “It needs a reality check because Los Alamos is a national laboratory ‘host’ town. To avoid becoming a national laboratory ‘ghost’ town, we need new attitudes and new thinking – beyond the lab, beyond consumerism and amenities, beyond the box, beyond the enclave, beyond the bubble. We need the vision and courage to contemplate and build the foundations of a future that will carry Los Alamos forward.”

Los Alamos needs a new vision, he said, because on June 24, 1967, with the dedication of its first “City Hall” and the signing of the final transfer documents, Los Alamos achieved its full and complete political independence.

“Through policies, which focus on social and economic fundamentals, building on the foundations of our historic small town character, we intend that on June 24, 2167, Los Alamos will celebrate the bicentennial of its independence as a town and county,” he said.

Hannemann argues that the best way to support the lab is to ignore the lab.

Instead, Hannemann advocates building “an actual economy, creating opportunity, recruiting like crazy, turning the community’s negatives into positives and respecting, preserving, restoring and building upon our heritage.”

“Los Alamos is exactly what urban-alternative people are seeking,” he said. “Our children really are our future. Los Alamos High School has over 7,000 graduates. One percent of them returning to Los Alamos would be 70 new businesses in Los Alamos. But whether we recruit our grads, or we recruit those seeking an alternative to the urban/consumer life-style – if you destroy it, they will not come.”

Hannemann was born in Washington, D.C. in 1951 and moved with his family to Los Alamos in 1952. His father worked at Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory as a design draftsman, his Mom as a technical artist.

Hannemann attended Aspen Elementary, Cumbres Junior High School and graduated from Los Alamos High School in 1969.

He worked at various jobs including a short stint at LANL before moving away in 1974.

He began his career as a freelance performance guitarist and musician in 1980. He has traveled extensively, living in Los Angeles from 1984 to 2006.

He is the proprietor of Hannemann Music, which as the successor to LA Music, retails musical instruments and supplies in Los Alamos.

“My Los Alamos experience, wider world experience, business experience and education all combine to give me a unique perspective on the challenges of, and for, Los Alamos,” Hannemann said.

Hannemann holds a B.A. from the University of New Mexico in political science/economics with an emphasis on public economic policy.

Hanneman has three grown children. He and his wife, Karon, have been married 14 years and live in Los Alamos with four dogs and two cats.

For more of Hannemann’s opinions, visit http://losalamosrealitycheck.blogspot.com.