Born in Madison, Wisconsin, Hanson went to University of Wisconsin–Madison. Governor Tony Earl appointed Hanson the first women to be secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Administration. Hanson served as president of the village of McFarland, Wisconsin and was on the village board. Hanson served in the Wisconsin State Assembly in 1993, 1995, and 1997. After her retirement, Hanson served as director of TEACH Wisconsin.
- 'Wisconsin Blue Book 1997-1998,' Biographical Sketch of Doris Hanson, pg. 53
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