POWER

Granny D.

Never Too Old to Run!

In June 2004, with Election Day only four months away, the Democratic Party was left without a candidate for the New Hampshire Senate seat. An unlikely contender stepped in to help bring out the vote. Standing just five feet tall, 94-year-old Doris Haddock had far more passion, determination and spunk than most 24-year-olds. A great-grandmother of sixteen, "Granny D" was already known for her fervent activism for campaign finance reform and her relentless efforts to register voters of all ages and backgrounds. To gain attention for her cause -- civic engagement -- she had walked all the way across the United States at the young age of 90!

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Directed by Rebecca Mac Neice
This commercial was made for Doris "Granny D." Haddock's United States Senate candidacy. Her campaign team was able to raise enough money for only one media buy.  The commercial played just once, on the 6 o'clock news, the night before the election.
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Paul Chan

"I have tried over the past several years to provide an example to people who, otherwise, because of their age, might think of letting go of life when that is never what you should do until life is through with you." - Dorris Haddock, South by Southwest Festival, March 11, 2007

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Paul Chan
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Paul Chan
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Paul Chan

Granny D's race against two-time incumbent senator and friend of President George W. Bush, Judd Gregg, could only be described as a David-Goliath affair. Regardless of her opponent's intimidating size, political backing and exponentially-larger bank account, she led an energetic and competitive campaign, one which embodied her democratic ideals of a government of, by and for the people. Although she lost the race in the end, she did capture a healthy 34 percent of the vote, and catalyzed political participation from a number of groups and communities, young and old, that had been disengaged or disenfranchised from the political process.

What follows is the speech she gave to announce her candidacy for the Senate seat and her commercial which aired just once the night before the election.


Formal Announcement:Thursday, June 17, 2004Thank you.

My name is Doris Haddock and I am a candidate for the U.S. Senate from New Hampshire.

While I am excited by the coming adventure of the campaign, I will tell you that I would be happier if there were a large group of younger community leaders willing to take to battle against the Goliath of an incumbent.

While I am happy to step forward in the absence of other Democrats, I certainly do not do so as a sacrificial lamb. I am running to win. I am a realist, of course-but I am not a defeatist.

For those who may be concerned about my age, let me say that I have outlived most of the things that can kill me, and am good for another election or two. Nevertheless, I make my pledge right now to stick to one term, and I have the biological ability to follow through with that pledge, while Mr. Gregg, who, two elections ago, made a pledge to not run for a third term, has neither the ripe age nor, it seems, the willpower to deliver on his promise.

For those who may doubt my capacity to serve, let me assure them that, while I may struggle for the right word from time to time, I can yet string my words together somewhat better than even our current President. And, while I need glasses for some reading, I can see clearly the difference between a necessary war and an unnecessary war, and the difference between a balanced budget and a deficit. Most importantly, I can read the Constitution and its Bill of Rights very easily and clearly, and, when elected, I will do what so many others in today's Washington have not had the decency to do, and that is to abide by their oath to defend it.

I am running for the U.S. Senate against a good man, Judd Gregg, who has allowed himself to become an enabler of George Bush and his neo-con scourge now afflicting our nation and the world. I, Doris Haddock, am running so that our voters might at the very least send Mr. Gregg a message: that we expect our senators to represent common sense and the interests of our country and of our working people and children, even when to do so requires the courage to go against his party, and I am running to do a favor for my many Republican friends who are most uncomfortable with how far their once-venerable party has strayed--once a bastion of sensible federal spending and small business defense.

I am the angry grandmother of the New Hampshire family, come off my porch to ask young Judd what in the world he is thinking when he supports Bush's military misadventures, supports the transfer of billions of our tax dollars to billionaires, and supports the shipping of our jobs overseas with tax breaks that actually encourage this tragic loss. New Hampshire has financial problems because the tax dollars we pay-and we pay plenty-are being wasted in Washington instead of returned to our people, our schools, and our real security needs. Mr. Greg, I am not running to give you a scare; I am running to win, because I think almost anyone could do a better job than you of representing our American values and our New Hampshire needs, and I am almost anyone.

Mr. Gregg is a good and likeable fellow. As if he were a charming but troubled son-in-law, we do like the fellow but shake our heads at what he has done to the precious treasure we have entrusted to him.

How might I, in the U.S. Senate, serve New Hampshire-my birthplace and always my home?

We the people need a peace-loving government that protects us and our values by promoting peace and justice in the world. Terrorism is the twisted child of poverty and injustice, and we cannot buy our way or arm our way around that fact. We cannot support cruel dictators and expect otherwise. We must become energy independent so that we are free to pursue justice and not self-interest in the world's affairs. I will work for that. I applaud Mr. Gregg when he stands up for energy independence and for the environment, but I pledge to do more, and to move America toward responsible stewardship of our resources for our children's children, and for their children's children, which is the only true conservatism.

We the people need well-funded education for our children and the best health care for each other. School funding-a crisis not only in New Hampshire but in nearly every state--can be much relieved if we can get back more of the federal tax dollars we pay. And if Mr. Gregg would not enable the neo-cons to transfer so many billions to the billionaires, we could do so. If Mr. Gregg would work for more justice instead of more bombs, again we could do so, and pay for all the health care we need. I will vote to bring the resources back to the people who need them, who in fact provide them by their hard work and sufficient federal tax payments.

The largest con of the 20th and 21st Centuries is the globalization of the workforce. If we need a new chair and our neighbor, the woodworker, needs work, what in hell are we doing at Wal-Mart buying a chair made three oceans away? We need to encourage the localization not globalization of the economy-and thereby strengthen it and humanize it. Our political leaders have failed us monstrously in this matter, as more and more of our jobs, and more and more members our middle class, have been sold down the ocean. Mr. Gregg, though he is a fine looking man and a good New Hamshirite, should be ashamed of his role in this ongoing destruction of America's economic base--a loss to every family.

Look at our beautiful state-its waters, its air, its great forests and mountains--and, oh, it's people! We do not need much to live well here. We need to be left alone in matters where our freedom overrules government meddling. We need to join together in matters where joint action can create great resources for our children and each other. We of this Granite State are blessed with common sense and a high sense of community. I should be most honored to represent these things of ours in Washington, and let them see what flint we are made of when they try to take away our peace, our justice and our common treasure.

But it is not enough to elect our representatives so that they might stop bad things from happening. They must have a vision for the future of their people. That should be what every campaign is about. It shall certainly be so with mine.

Thank you.


Images and speech courtesy of Marlo Poras. To learn more about Granny D. visit www.rungrannyrun.com.

Commercial courtesy of Rebecca MacNeice. Visit MacNeice Films for more information.




Comments

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Deleted User

Granny D. is an inspiration to us all!

Olive King
Olive King
United States

Interesting to note that Granny D kick-started her late-in-life activism by campaigning in support of the McCain/Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Bill. John McCain had this to say about her:

“I believe she represents all that is good in America. She has taken up this struggle to clean up American politics… Granny D, you exceed any small, modest contributions those of us who have labored in the vineyards of reform have made to this Earth. We are grateful for you.”


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