The late Don Freehafer, who covered politics from Roosevelt to Reagan, once told me there were few great names in local politics, but Muehlhausen was one of them. Part of it stemmed from the tenure of former Logansport Mayor George Muehlhausen who spearheaded many civic improvements including the city pool. Some credit it to Muehlhausen Spring, the company he led, which was one of the ribs in Logansport’s economy in the golden age of manufacturing in the community. But part of it, plain and simple, was that 3M was a well-liked straight-shooter. She supported her party and was proud to run as a Republican, but she wasn’t awed by public office or the first to bow down to someone else. A case in point was the candidacy of former State Auditor Ann DeVore. When DeVore anticipated the support of all incumbent Republican auditors in the state, she arrived in Cass County to find that 3M had left her office for the day. It wasn’t a coincidence. It was a message to DeVore that she shouldn’t assume support. She had to earn it.
3M not only beat the system to win in 1980. She beat it again in 1988. With three incumbent at-large Republicans running again for seats on the Cass County Council, she threw her hat in the ring. Days before the election, a party official walked into her office when she wasn’t there and said to her deputies, “Everybody knows how to vote council, don’t they?” The deputies nodded and acknowledged to the implied question about their loyalty to the incumbents. They knew how to vote alright. They joined a majority of Cass County voters in electing the first woman from either party to the county council.
Mary Margaret wasn’t content to just be one of seven members of the council. In her first two years, she was able to secure enough votes to award $1,000 raises each year to county employees. Cass County salaries were among the lowest in the state for counties with a population roughly at 40,000 at the time.