“Iowa Traveler” Cary J. Hahn, the long-time local TV personality, is taking a page from his former KGAN-TV colleague, Wade Wagner.
Hahn is running for public office.
Hahn, who recently left KGAN-TV after 25 years, has decided to run in the Democratic primary for Linn County supervisor in District 1.
He will be running against incumbent Lu Barron, who is seeking re-election to the District 1 seat.
“It crossed my mind,” Hahn said Tuesday when reminded about former KGAN-TV farm reporter Wade Wagner’s successful run for Parks Commissioner in Cedar Rapids in 2001.
That year, Wagner’s position as farm reporter had been eliminated at KGAN-TV, and he turned to elective office, defeating incumbent Dale Todd. Wagner served four years. The city did away with its commission form of government in 2005, and Wagner was defeated in a run for an at-large seat in the city’s new part-time council.
Hahn, 60, of 1600 A Ave. NW, said he, too, has now seen his job at KGAN-TV eliminated in a station reorganization.
In one sense, he needs a job, he said Tuesday.
More importantly, though, he said he can seek public office now that he is no longer a working journalist intent on remaining publicly neutral on political issues.
“I’ve talked to people around Iowa for 25 years,” Hahn said. “I think I’ve learned how to listen to people. And before, that’s all I could do is basically listen to folks. And I will continue to do so. And, hopefully, we’ll be able to turn that into positive action.”
Hahn is a U.S. Navy veteran, and he said he grew up in St. Louis with working-class roots and a father who was a United Auto Workers member.
When asked, he said that none of the 125-plus signatures on his nominating petitions are from familiar TV news figures.
“They are just folks,” he said. He and his wife, Jean, collected the signatures in the neighborhood, he said.
And, yes, the long-time Iowa Traveler is recognized most everywhere he goes.
“That’s always been very pleasant,” he said.