Taking a trek through our towns, seeking political reform

Last modified: 2/13/2015 11:31:25 AM
Despite facing a long journey on foot through frigid temperatures and mounds of snow, almost two dozen protesters walked through the Monadnock region over the weekend, advocating for campaign finance reform.

Inspired by the activism of Dublin’s own Doris “Granny D” Haddock, these protesters began their trek in Keene on Saturday morning, making their way through Dublin, Peterborough and points north by Sunday. By Wednesday, they’re due to reach Concord, where they will rally in front of the State House, spreading their message that voters can’t be bought.

“Campaign finance reform is a bipartisan issue, something everyone can get behind,” said Noel Pierce of Jaffrey, one of the walkers to brave the weather in an effort to get money out of politics. “This walk is even more important to this area because of Granny D; she was a real inspiration for this cause.”

The walk, which is more than 63 miles long and organized by the advocacy group NH Rebellion, featured stops at the Dublin Community Center, Peterborough Unitarian Universalist Church, and the Bennington Congregational Church throughout the weekend, with each location offering a place for walkers to warm up, have a meal, and sleep, even if just on the floor.

Spending the night at the Dublin Community Center was especially meaningful for the walkers, as the inspiration for their journey and message came from Granny D herself, the legendary advocate for campaign finance reform who competed a cross-country walk of over 3,200 miles in the year 2000 at the age of 90.

“I think that this is a great way to raise awareness for the message that Doris advocated for,” said Nancy Cayford, president of the Dublin Community Center’s Board of Trustees, and a friend of Granny D. “Because Doris was from Dublin we felt inspired to help.”

While the weather Saturday was full of sunshine, conditions were less than exemplary for the walkers on Sunday, as their trek from Dublin to Peterborough, then onto Bennington, included icy roads and precipitation.

“Last night was tough, but we are still devoted to our cause,” said Pierce. “It was cold, wet and dark, but we finished. It was great to get to the church in Bennington, though; we got to eat, take some nice, hot showers, and even watch the football game!”

Pierce, who is among the main group of walkers planning to go all the way to Concord, was walking to Hillsborough on Monday morning, mostly on back roads because of the poor road conditions. Their next stop was lunch at the Smith Memorial Church in Hillsborough.

Additional planned stops on Monday included the Henniker Congregational Church for dinner and the New England College Field House to spend the night, with breaks planned Tuesday in Contoocook and Hopkinton, and the final leg of the journey from Hopkinton to the State House set for Wednesday.

The trek from Keene to Concord is one of four planned walks in New Hampshire, all of which will finish at the State House. According to Beth Grunewald, field manager for NH Rebellion’s Monadnock region walk, around 400 people registered in total, almost twice the amount of registered walkers from last year.

Grunewald said this walk was meant not only to spread the message of getting money out of politics, but also to inspire people throughout the state to ask more questions of politicians and to help bring about political change.

And while many throughout the state turned out for one of the four walks, hoping to change the current political landscape, people from as far as Montana, Arkansas, and California convened in the Granite State to walk for the cause, too, just as Granny D did a decade and a half ago.

“Granny D walked to protest big money in politics,” said Maeve Courteau, who came from Arkansas because she is sick of the influence that money has on politics and the rest of the world. “Just voting doesn’t do it; we need to inspire change.”


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