Ann Mahon PowersHer family held an early celebration for Ann Powers.

Ann Mahon Powers of Arlington turned 90 on Tuesday, Feb. 13; she is believed to be the first woman elected to a major political office in Arlington. In 1959, she was elected town clerk and served until 1968.

According to copies of the Arlington News and Arlington Advocate shared with YourArlington, she won that election "in a landslide" of 3,000 votes. (She would have been a contemporary of Marie Krepelka, who first became a town employee in 1959 and held many staff posts after that, including administrator of the Select Board.)

In 1984, Powers was again elected as town clerk, her family said.

Later, she was also active on the legislative side. In 1973, she was appointed to the Board of Selectmen (now known as the Select Board) and then was elected as a selectman (a title now referred to as a board member) in 1975, a position in which she served until 1981.  

Additionally, she has been a Town Meeting member. All this occurred beginning in a time period in which women were rarely involved politically; even now, the Select Board and Redevelopment Board have more men than women.

Her daughter, Joanne Greene, says that her mother is an avid YourArlington reader and social-media enthusiast; she can be reached via Instagram at @annmahonpowers and would welcome birthday greetings there and other communications going forward.

Powers is related to the sole woman now on the Select Board -- Diane Mahon, who is married to Powers's nephew John.

Upon her retirement from public service in 1993, the Advocate had this to say about Powers: "Ann has the fair-mindedness that is especially important for a town clerk; she works to promote openness in government; she shows respect for the rights and opinions of ordinary citizens and at the same time she has her own firm ideas and does not hesitate to offer them."

Powers is a graduate of Arlington High School's class of 1951 and later was inducted into its Hall of Fame.


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This birthday announcement was published Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2024, based on information from Joanne Greene of Arlington, the subject's daughter.