During the Dark Days, District 12 was reduced to an afterthought in the minds of the political elite in the Capitol. Now, the mining district has become a politically active hotspot, yielding high-profile figures on a regular basis.
The most obvious examples lie with the President and the First Lady. President Peeta Mellark and First Lady Katniss Everdeen (who also served two terms as president of Panem) are both natives of the mining district. Both made history and shockwaves as the first dual victors of the Hunger Games and also as the final victors of the Hunger Games. Both of them brought District 12 to the limelight as they brought victory to their district, which fell into ruin as it became one of the first districts to join the Rebellion against the Capitol.
District 12 then had to rebuild. Of course, Mellark and Everdeen were there to help with the reconstruction. During this time, the future of District 12 looked dim. The firebombing by the Capitol during the war killed thousands and decimated the district. During this time, Mellark and Everdeen retreated into a semi-public persona. Meanwhile, Walter Singleton was elected governor of District 12 with Gertrude Hampton as his lieutenant governor.
Singleton, prior to his election, was on the Transition Council for District 12. Not much was known of him to the voters prior to his run, but he managed to convey a hopeful message that resonated with voters in the wartorn district. He served with distinction for six years as governor, completing a single four-year term before his reelection to a second term that he served two years of. Governor
Singleton was noted for his infrastructure policy which has henceforth been credited as one of the largest reasons for the recovery of the district. Singleton resigned from the governorship halfway through his second term in order to become the Secretary of Energy for the Everdeen administration. As the inaugural holder, Singleton worked with his successor, Governor Gertrude Hampton, Governor Owen Talton of District 13, and other governors to ensure the success and cleanliness of Panem’s energy programs. Singleton has since served in the Canth, Wilson, and Mellark cabinets in the same position.
Governor Gertrude Hampton, who succeeded Singleton, only served the latter two years of Singleton’s term. However, Hampton’s no-holds-barred attitude from serving as the head of the District Senate served her even better as governor, setting the tone for
future governors of the district.
Her term, informally known as a “speed run,” was marked by a record amount of legislation dedicated to the financial situation in the district. As such, she is credited with ensuring the financial solvency of the district following many years of debt.
Vice President Rebecca Tarson, of course, would be the next to be mentioned. Tarson is a native of District 12, coming from a low-income family. A war veteran who served as a weapons specialist and survivor of the firebombing of District 12, Tarson used her experiences to create TarsonTech, a corporation that would go on to become the nation’s largest weapons manufacturer. She ran for district senate with serving only a single term, but that single term transformed into many terms that put her in leadership roles, most prominently that of Senate majority leader. Her run for lieutenant governor, a vacant position following the ascension of Gertrude Hampton to the governor’s office, was met to little to no fanfare initially, but Tarson managed to turn the tables on the initial frontrunner, Land Commissioner Samson Lincoln, in a high-profile debate where she decimated him for calling her a “low-life woman who should return to homemaking and caring for her children, who must be missing her.” Tarson’s term as lieutenant governor was short as she made her first successful run for the governor’s office only two years later. Tarson would serve two full terms in the governor’s mansion, overseeing the largest business expansion in district history and improving upon the success of Governors Singleton and Hampton. However, even with the success of the district under Tarson’s tenure, her run for vice president and her subsequent success in the race for the Liberty nomination and general election were never considered a possibility. Tarson started out as a textbook definition of an underdog and secured the nomination against the odds, beating back Secretary Jonathan Madison, Senator Alexandra West, and others. While she started out as the favorite for vice president in the general election, her success was not due to the position she held as the nominee but rather because of her aggressive yet charming campaign style. She was elected in the largest landslide in Panem history alongside her running mate, Peeta Mellark.
Other figures are emerging on the political landscape of District 12 as well. Lynnette Cortez succeeded Tarson as governor after serving under her as lieutenant governor for two terms, continuing the legacy of the governors before her. District 12’s senators also are frequently in the spotlight; Hanley Trent, the senior senator, is frequently mentioned as a potential nominee to the Supreme Court during the future, while Lenora Quaker, the junior senator, previously served on House leadership as the National Liberty Congressional Committee chair and now is the deputy whip in the Senate.
An honorable mention: Governor Gale Hawthorne of District 15 and previously of District 2. Hawthorne initially hailed from the mining district and has long been a close friend to Katniss Everdeen. Following the Revolution, Hawthorne moved to District 2, entering the military and becoming one of Panem’s most esteemed generals. Following his military tenure, Hawthorne returned to District 2 and ran for governor, serving two terms. He ran for the vice presidency when President Everdeen ran for reelection, losing to eventual winner Celine Oswald. Hawthorne also served as Secretary of Defense under the Everdeen administration and then ran for president in the next two elections, losing to Celine Oswald again and Peeta Mellark.