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
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.
Reform Party convention with
In Nashville, TN about to
walk the last miles to the State Capitol
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
miles in 100+ heat.
From the humble hills of New Hampshire, through
David Crosby became a
passionate admirer of
Mojave Dessert, 13 states, 3,200 miles,
Doris and her dedication.
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
She continued to read from Common Cause's soft money study
of the prolific bribery practioners until somebody in
office pleaded with Chris Shays (R-CT) to come and appeal
Dorris' more refined manner. She reluctantly agreed to
desist and proceeded to have a cup of tea with Chris one
above in his personal office.
This photo ran in the New York Times the following
with possibly the best one-two grassroots/lobbyist
All dressed up and
nowhere to go.
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
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
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
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
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
of the impact that one person can have.
I cherish this photo from Doris' arrival in Washington, DC on February
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
Also pictured, from left to right, are Russ Feingold (D-WI), David
Chris Shays (R-CT), Zach Wamp (R-TN) and Marty Meehan (D-MA).
The woman I remember as Doris, not simply "Granny D."