Since 2018, Mandi Jo Hanneke has served as a Councilor-at-Large on the Amherst Town Council, contributing in a variety of ways. She was Vice President for two years, was the first chair of the Governance, Organization, and Legislation Committee, and currently chairs the Community Resources Committee. In addition to chairing the Community Resources Committee, she currently serves on the Governance, Organization, and Legislation Committee, and the Joint Capital Planning Committee. In the past, she also served on the Audit Committee. She also serves on the Massachusetts Municipal Association’s Municipal and Regional Administration Policy Committee as one of three City Council representatives in the Commonwealth.
In the most recent term, Mandi has focused her legislative efforts on increasing affordable and attainable housing, ensuring safe access to reproductive and gender-affirming care, and increasing safety and reducing light pollution through updated standards for our Streetlights.
Mandi Jo moved to Amherst in 2011. In the over 12 years she has lived in Amherst, she has kept busy volunteering in the local community. She joined Town Meeting in 2012, and was re-elected twice before the change to a Council-Manager government. In that time, she served on the Electronic Voting Study Committee, the Committee that successfully proposed updating Town Meeting’s recorded votes to electronic votes, thereby saving Members’ time and permitting more frequent recording of how Members vote.
She also served on the Rental Bylaw Implementation Group, as the renter representative. This group was tasked with aiding Town Staff in implementing the Rental Registration Bylaw, as well as considering modifications to it. She has continued this work through her membership on the Community Resources Committee, having worked with her fellow committee members for the past two years on revising the bylaw to ensure that all rental housing in Amherst is inspected on a regular basis by Town inspectors.
In 2016, Mandi Jo was elected to the 9-member Charter Commission in Amherst, the body that ultimately proposed the Home Rule Charter that residents subsequently adopted in 2018 to move to a Council-Manager form of government in Amherst. Mandi Jo served as Vice Chair of the Charter Commission.
Outside of municipal government, she has been a Court Appointed Special Advocate at Friends of Children, a role in which she is tasked with arguing for the best interests of the child in abuse and neglect cases and advocating for the appropriate educational environment in educational advocacy matters. CASA volunteers play an important role in creating stability for children in abuse, neglect, and educational advocacy cases.
Mandi Jo also plays viola in the Pioneer Valley Symphony, a community performing arts organization based in Greenfield and performing throughout the Pioneer Valley. She was a member of its Board of Directors for six years, having served as President for three (2012-2015).
She is an inactive member of the Massachusetts bar, having previously practiced law in Cambridge, MA.