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City of NSB News

Posted on: March 16, 2023

Hannah Bonnet: New Smyrna Beach's first female commissioner & mayor

Black and white photo of former New Smyrna Beach City Commissioner Hannah Bonnet

March is Women's History Month, and local politics would never be the same after Hannah Bonnet brought a first taste of the Women's Movement to New Smyrna Beach.

Elected as the city's first female commissioner in 1950, she branded herself by wearing big hats and giving good interviews to newspaper reporters. When her fellow male commissioners tweaked the City Charter to take the mayor's vote away and immediately gave her the seat following her reelection in 1954, she told them, "Well now you can out-vote me, but you probably can't out-talk me or out-eat me either!"

Notable accomplishments during her administration include expanding U.S. 1 to four lanes, removing tolls from both bridges, and encouraging Edgewater and other cities to contribute money towards the construction of South Causeway. Hannah was also an advocate for more beachside recreation sites, little roadside parks, and extending the Votran bus system to Coronado Beach.

Would you like to know more? Watch the WUCF TV video below and visit her exhibit at the New Smyrna Museum of History, which also has set aside for preservation a cape, purse, scarf, necklace, and three hats, all worn by Hannah.

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