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Lincoln High grad reporter on Hill
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Reporter Molly K. Hooper, from The Hill publication is seen interviewing Congressman Jeff Denham at the Manteca Museum. Denham had made a stop at the museum to see a corner office area devoted to the late Manteca Congressman John J. McFall who served from 1958 to 1972. - photo by GLENN KAHL

Molly K. Hooper— a Capitol Hill staff writer for the respected Washington, D.C., publication “The Hill”, interviewed Congressman Jeff Denham Wednesday morning in the Manteca Museum next to the  desk of the late, longtime Manteca Congressman John J. McFall.

McFall served as a Manteca mayor before going to Congress as a U.S. Representative in 1958 until 1972.

Hooper has been on the staff of the paper for nearly six years. She graduated from U.C. Berkeley in 2000 and joined the staff of some 200 employees in 2008 after serving in various capacities including that of a Congressional page. The Hill covers Congress, politics and political campaigns. 

Denham attended the Manteca Chamber of Commerce coffee at the South San Joaquin Irrigation District ofifce where he made a presentation for achievement to the Doctors Hospital Pharmacy director Dr. Katy Marconi, Pharm.D. She serves with seven full-time and two part-time pharmacists covering 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Hooper was introduced to the standing room crowd of business and professional members at the coffee as probably the only reporter from the D.C. Beltway to have ever attended a chamber function in Manteca. 

Hooper had gone to the back of the room behind the crowd listening to the announcements that recognized people of note at the coffee. As she was checking a text message on her phone, a fellow guest announced her presence in the room, saying she should be recognized. The Manteca business community responded with a resounding applause as she walked forward to give a brief profile.

She noted that while she worked in Washington and lived in Alexandria Virginia, she had actually grown up in Stockton and graduated from Lincoln High School. She said one of her great loves as a teen was riding horses. 

She had been sent to California this week to do a story on candidates Denham and Doug Oase talking with the people in their districts to get a feel on both elections from the grass roots level. When she heard about McFall’s historic office at the museum, she decided to tag along with the congressman.

It was McFall who was the spark behind securing the needed funding for the Highway 120 Bypass in the late 1960s, along with the assistance of the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors and especially Fifth District Supervisor Adrian Fondse and Assemblyman John Thurman. Every visit home from Washington during his tenure, McFall would sit with the county supervisors and drill all of them on their needs for funding. 

The small dedicated McFall office in a corner of the museum near the stage was the work of Manteca City Clerk Joan Tilton and Rex Osborn who discovered the congressman’s memorabilia at city hall and felt it should remain part of Manteca’s history, setting up the office at the museum. McFall’s desk was donated by fellow attorney John Brinton. 

Denham and his staff admitted to a tight schedule the entire day Wednesday and were planning their next campaign stop in Modesto after leaving Manteca.