Granny D pics

On January 1, 1999 a relatively unknown, but dogged citizen activist from the hills of New Hampshire, set off behind the Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena, CA.  It was her intention to walk across the United States, all the way to the steps of the Capitol in Washington, DC, to demonstrate that the American people were distressed about the abuse of money in politics, and badly wanted campaign finance reform.

The but of many jokes along the way, it seems it is Doris and her supporters who are enjoying the last laugh, as the landmark McCain-Feingold legislation banning soft-money was held constitutional by the Supreme Court in December of 2003.

I left my job with Common Cause to help raise awareness of her walk and reach out to other advocacy groups
whose issues were stymied by the legalized bribery system that we have.  
It was and remains was one of the best adventures and biggest challenges of my life.


           At Little Rock's famous Central High School.  8 months in and more than 1,600 miles - on foot.            

                                               At the Reform Party convention with                                                   In Nashville, TN about to walk the last miles to the State Capitol
                                               Ross Perot, after her speech
.                                                      with Senator Russell Feingold.  Senator Feingold was the ONLY
                                                                                                                           Member of Congress to walk with Doris outside their home district.

The police were generally super-nice and would regularly pose for pictures.  
Entering many towns Doris received a police escort

                        This was a common site in my rear view mirror after another ten                                 I started out a press secretary, but ended up part personal trainer.
                             miles in 100+ heat.  

                        From the humble hills of New Hampshire, through                                                David Crosby became a passionate admirer of
                               the Mojave Dessert, 13 states, 
3,200 miles,                                                             Doris and her dedication.
                               4 pairs of shoes and 14 months later,
Doris was the
                               center of attention in campaign reform circles.

                     Bob Ney (R-OH) sent his Chief of Staff out to                                              Doris was a featured speaker on Rock the Vote's Bus Tour in 2000.
                     their office lobby in an attempt to talk some sense into
                    Dorris about why the current legalized bribery system
                    is not vomit material.  As you can tell, she was not impressed.
                    She continued to read from Common Cause's soft money study
                    of the prolific bribery practioners until somebody in Ney's
                    office pleaded with Chris Shays (R-CT) to come and appeal to
                   Dorris' more refined manner.  She reluctantly agreed to cease and
                   desist and proceeded to have a  cup of tea with Chris one floor
                    above in his personal office.   

                 This photo ran in the New York Times the following day.

                                         Doris with possibly the best one-two grassroots/lobbyist                                                                All dressed up and nowhere to go.  
      team in Washington, Andy Draheim, left, and Matt Keller.   
                                                    They are also two of the nicest guys/men you will ever meet.  

In March of 2000, Doris and I attended a then
Gov. Bush (R-TX) fundraiser in Washington, DC- uninvited.  When told that we would  have to pony up $1,500 each in order to get inside, I provided the campaign staff with a copy of a Bush campaign press release criticizing Al Gore for shaking down Doris for money in order to meet with him while she was walking through Arkansas. (background Salon story)
After showing them a copy of the release and  notifying  them that there were news media waiting outside to report the outcome of our efforts, they persisted in refusing us entry.  We pled our case as cash-strapped reformers, and Doris said that she wanted to carry forth the concerns of the great many Americans she had met across the country - people the likes of whom could not afford to get into events like this in order to express how dismayed and disheartened they were with our campaign finance system.  
I suggested to a campaign staffer that they might want to consult with a superior before insisting on denying us entry.  
We had gone out of our way to show up on time and be appropriately dressed.  
Tuxedo rentals and dress shipments were certainly NOT in the Granny D team road budget.
After a wait of some twenty or so minutes, the staffer comes back, says their position has not changed and that we are now a security threat (90 year-olds can break out some old-school moves after all).  They proceed to inform us that we will be removed from the building if we do not leave voluntarily.  I think for a moment about  the AP wire running a picture of the Secret Service hauling out a 90-year-old great-grandmother sideways, and what a great shot that would be and the buzz it would generate.  But a more moderate voice within chose the path most befitting the class shown by Doris all across the country.
We got escorted out, right into ABC NEWS and NPR, whom we had contacted in advance of our attendance.
We traveled to Connecticut the next day to lobby for reform in Hartford, but AP  and Roll Call were interested in the outcome.

And that is just one little nugget from my travels with Doris Haddock.

Sunset in Malvern, Arkansas

Doris Haddock is a hard to believe 94-years-old.  She truly makes the Energizer Bunny blush..  Currently on the road in Florida working, in an aggresively NON-PARTISAN manner, she is registering voters for the 2004 election.  
To learn more about her activities, travels, and recent attestations, please visit her Web site -

Click on the photo above for some cool testimonials
of the impact that one person can have.

I cherish this photo from Doris' arrival in Washington, DC on February 29, 2000.
Doris gave a fantastic speech, and was praised at length by the many
great leaders of the campaign reform movement who attended and spoke,
including the late Paul Wellstone (D-MN.)  
Also pictured, from left to right, are Russ Feingold (D-WI), David Crosby,
Chris Shays (R-CT), Zach Wamp (R-TN) and Marty Meehan (D-MA).

The woman I remember as Doris, not simply "Granny D."