The Hawkins Family at their Central Florida home, circa 1958

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The Hawkins Family at their Central Florida home, circa 1958

The Hawkins Family at their Central Florida home, circa 1958

October 2, 2017

So they would meet and Paula was basically the leader and they all felt the same way and so they recruited. Paula wasn't recruited as a city councilman or mayor, but she was the pusher, the doer. They would meet in our house and they filed for public office and then they campaigned in Maitland by phone or whatever. And each one of them won. One of them was a professor at Rollins. He became the mayor. And it was truly a ground up affair. And she became known fairly widely for this. And, I guess, maybe that's where she got the term "Maitland housewife" because she was.

Housewife Paula Hawkins is pictured here with her husband Gene, and their children, Genean, Kelley, and Kevin.

Listen as Gene Hawkins shares how his wife Paula Hawkins worked locally for neighborhood changes, in this excerpt from an oral history interview with Mr. Hawkins at Villa Serena, the Hawkins family home on May 15, 2017.

LISTEN Part III (19:42)

The Maitland Post Office it's named after Paula Hawkins. And if you ever go to the Maitland Post Office, you'll find a bust of her and her name. And her dear friend, John Mica put this together. By this time, John had been her aide early on when she was first in the Senate. And he saw the many things that she did in Washington. He went to work getting approval in the House of Representatives to have the Maitland Post Office named after Paula Hawkins.... It was in recognition of what she had done by this time.

Tell us about your role supporting Paula Hawkins...

Well, it began as I saw the activity in Maitland, what she did politically to achieve Maitland having sewers. It was very political and that was her first activity. And so, she did it so well, and became fairly well known in Maitland for that achievement. And, I guess, you could say that she kind of liked the task and the achievement. It's there today. And that's one of the reasons why she's in that post office. Between that and also she became in the Republican Party a precinct committee woman... And I'm watching all this. I'm running my business and doing all that. But I'm kind of watching the amazing things Paula did. And as a precinct committee woman for Orange County Republicans she was very active in that and worked hard. When there was an election she knocked on doors like a trooper and handed out literature. She had not become notable countywide, but in Maitland she had become very notable. Anyway, she worked so hard and I'm seeing all this and I'm saying to myself, Paula Hawkins is really something that I did not realize I married. But here I see Paula go from a true housewife to the lower stages of the political realm...

Paula Hawkins became the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate based on her own attributes and the first woman to be a senator from Florida.

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