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Beyond 40 Achievers

Beyond 40 Achiever: Doris “Granny D” Haddock

We are always young enough to take a stand

Doris Haddock
Granny D’s famous hat she wore when photographed, and in which she walked the 3200 milles across the nation in 1999 belonged to her late best friend, Elizabeth.
At 50, Doris “Granny D” Haddock began her political activism saving an Inuit fishing village.
At 88, she began a 3,200-mile trek across the US.
At 90, she was arrested for first time for reading in the Capitol Building – another political stand.
At 94, she ran for the US Senate.
She holds 13 “keys to the city” and the hearts of thousands.
And she wrote two books.

Needless to say, this woman has been added to my inspiration list.

It was 1960 when Granny D and her husband, James Haddock, successfully campaigned against planned hydrogen bomb nuclear testing in Alaska, saving an Inuit fishing village. Time passes. Her husband retires. Like so many of us, she takes up the role of caregiver as her husband and best friend both pass. Granny D becomes increasingly interested in campaign finance reform. She spearheads a petition movement. Then to raise awareness and attract support for campaign finance reform, on January 1, 1999, at the age of 88, she leaves from the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California bound for Washington, DC.

Granny D walked roughly ten miles each day for 14 months, traversing California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia, making speeches along the way. When she arrived in DC, she was 90 years old and greeted by a crowd of 2,200 people. Several dozen members of Congress walked the final miles with her from Arlington National Cemetery to the Capitol Building on the National Mall. Many credit her for galvanizing the public support that helped pass the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act in 2002.

By the way, harking to my own beliefs about formulating a plan then action, Granny D spent a year training for the physical challenges she would encounter on the trip, which wore out four pairs of shoes and included a hundred-mile stretch that she covered on cross-country skis. What a woman!! Some of us can’t stick to something for a week and she committed to this for over a year.

We live in a land where each person’s voice matters. We can all do something. Sometimes, we have to make sacrifices to be heard. But it is still our free land and, my, how we all do love it. – Granny D Haddock

On April 21, 2000, Granny D, along with 31 others, was arrested for reading the Declaration of Independence in the Capitol and was charged with the offense of demonstrating in the Capitol Building. Entering a plea of guilty, she stated:

Your Honor, the old woman who stands before you was arrested for reading the Declaration of Independence in America’s Capitol Building. I did not raise my voice to do so and I blocked no hall…I was reading from the Declaration of Independence to make the point that we must declare our independence from the corrupting bonds of big money in our election campaigns…In my 90 years, this is the first time I have been arrested. I risk my good name–for I do indeed care what my neighbors think about me. But, Your Honor, some of us do not have much power, except to put our bodies in the way of an injustice–to picket, to walk, or to just stand in the way. It will not change the world overnight, but it is all we can do…Your Honor, to the business at hand: the old woman who stands before you was arrested for reading the Declaration of Independence in America’s Capitol Building…But if it is a crime to read the Declaration of Independence in our great hall, then I am guilty.

The judge in the case sentenced Granny D to time served and a $10 administrative fee.

At 94, she became the Democratic candidate for a U.S. Senate seat in New Hampshire during the 2004 election when the leading Democratic primary candidate left the race days before the filing deadline. True to her ideals, Haddock funded her campaign by accepting only modest private-citizen donations. She did not win but she gained much attention to cause of civic engagement.

A grandmother to 8 and great-grandmother to 16, Granny D celebrated her 100th birthday on January 24, 2010, and passed away six weeks later.

[bctt tweet=”We live in a land where each person’s voice matters. We can all do something.  – Granny D Haddock”] [vcex_button url=”hhttp://www.amazon.com/Doris-Haddock/e/B001IU2IM4/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&linkCode=ur2&qid=1438976908&sr=8-2&tag=thedridiv-20&linkId=GOY55DS6GT3YFMUU” title=”Visit Site” style=”graphical” align=”left” color=”#fa8363″ size=”small” target=”self” rel=”none”]Granny D’s Books on Amazon[/vcex_button]