Concord: Overcast, 44.6 °F
Campaign Finance Reform Champion Passes Away
Doris Haddock, better known as Granny D, passed away last night.
She was 100.
At age 89, the political activist made national headlines as she began a 14 month trek across the United States to raise support for campaign finance reform.
New Hampshire Public Radio’s Dan Gorenstein has this remembrance.
Doris Haddock's physical presence always captivated Democratic Senator Martha Fuller Clark.
“She probably wasn’t more than 5 ft. tall. She was very thin...she was a little bent over...She had a very fragile physique.”
“Why did her physical look sort of capture you?”
“It was this contrast between how fragile she was physically and how impassioned she was in terms of her causes.”
Haddock and her husband were involved with an anti-nuclear war campaign up in Alaska in the 60’s and she was a Democratic grassroots activist for years.
But Haddock’s primary cause, of course, was campaign finance reform.
“I think that it is the most important societal problem we have in this country today. Because we are letting big money interests take over our elections.”
That was Haddock, speaking to New Hampshire Public Radio back in 2001 just after she had finished her walk across America.
In that interview she said with fewer and fewer people voting, she worried the nation was letting democracy slip slide away.
And especially after her walk, and meeting so many people, Haddock dismissed the suggestion that Americans don’t go to the polls because they are apathetic.
“They feel they don’t have anyone they want to vote for. They feel that they have no access to their Representatives or their Senators. They feel they are out gunned and outspoken.”
When news of Haddock’s death broke, Democrats and Republicans alike issued statements, lamenting the state’s loss.
GOP Senator Sharon Carson says one of the wonderful things about Granny D is that you didn’t have to agree with her to respect her.
“Granny D was just a citizen. Just a regular citizen, who saw an issue, and she ran with it, in fact, she walked with it across the country. So she gets a lot of respect that she walked the walk and talked the talk.”
But despite the recognition, the accolades and the warm feelings Haddock received she didn’t accomplish her goal.
In her lifetime, she didn’t come to see the kind of campaign finance reform she wanted on the national level or in her home state.
But long-time Nashua Telegraph political reporter Kevin Landrigan says she didn’t see that as any kind of failure.
Landrigan spent several hours with Haddock earlier this year.
“She was so excited by the Supreme Court decision that said corporations can spend unlimited amounts of money trying to influence elections. She believed fervently that the abuse that would occur as a result of that decision would enhance the chances of the ultimate goal, public financing.”
Friends and family agree Haddock believed her energy was well used in her final years.
Haddock herself said she learned an important lesson after her walk.
“If you can possibly give yourself, your ending days to something that is worthwhile, you should do it. I think everyone needs to have a cause.”
A public service is scheduled for 2:00 Sunday at the Dublin Community Church.
For NHPR News, I’m DG.