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Walking activist for ‘the regular people’ speaks on Saturday

“We have a duty to look after each other. If we lose control of our government, then we lose our ability to dispense justice and human kindness. Our first priority today, then, is to defeat utterly those forces of greed and corruption that have come between us and our self-governance.” —Doris Haddock

Doris Haddock, better known as activist Granny D, will speak in Hood River at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Riverside Community Church. The free event is sponsored by Columbia River Fellowship for Peace.

Granny D, 93, has been a long-time activist on a variety of issues, from performing in one-woman feminist plays in the 1930s to working with her late husband to stop planned nuclear testing near an Eskimo fishing village in Alaska in the 1960s. But she became widely known around the country in 1999 when, at age 89, she walked from Pasadena, Calif., to Washington, D.C., to demonstrate her concern for the issue of campaign finance reform. Despite suffering from emphysema and arthritis, she walked 10 miles a day for 14 months, covering 3,200 miles. When snows threatened to delay her arrival in the nation’s capitol in February 2000, Granny D cross-country skied 100 miles along the old C&O Canal tow path in order to speed her progress.

During her walk, Granny D made speeches in an effort to draw campaign reform groups together. When she arrived in Washington, she was met by more than 2,000 people. Several dozen members of Congress walked the final miles with her. Haddock wrote a book about her walk — and her life of activism and adventure — entitled “Granny D: You’re Never Too Old to Raise a Little Hell.”

“I am trying to get some new laws passed that will make it easier for people to be responsible for their own communities and their own government,” Haddock said about her campaign reform efforts. “I worry that the influence of very rich companies and very rich people make it difficult for regular people to feel that they are in charge of their own affairs.”

Granny D, who lives in New Hampshire, is in Oregon to participate in the Portland Dove In on Sunday. (See story above.)

“Granny D appeals to a really diverse group of people as she is a very good speaker, bringing together issues and ordinary down home patriotism and inspiring folks as to how much one person can really do,” said Elena Smith, Fellowship for Peace spokeswoman. In addition to her appearances at Riverside and at the Dove In, Granny D will be at Hood River Saturday Market from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday to sell and sign copies of her book.

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