Movements are made up of people. Movements grow when people invest their time, energy, passion, creativity, and resources to further the cause. Countless people have contributed to building the Open Democracy movement in New Hampshire (and beyond!) and this year we are proud to recognize six such individuals with the first-ever 'Walk the Talk' Awards. To learn more about the Awards recipients, check out our press release below.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Senator Jeb Bradley, Activist Ruth Meyer, and Actresses Barbara Bates Smith and Dixie Tymitz honored for continuing the reform legacy of Doris “Granny D” Haddock
Concord NH ― Open Democracy, the nonpartisan nonprofit working to strengthen civic engagement and democratic accountability in the Granite State, presented the first-ever ‘Walk the Talk’ Awards to government and community leaders for their tireless and wide-ranging contributions to ensuring “an equal voice for all.”
The awards were presented at the Granny D Gala: Walk the Talk at the Capitol Center for the Arts on January 21, marking the end of Open Democracy’s 300-mile NH Rebellion Walk for Reform across New Hampshire. The walk engaged some 500 citizens trekking across a frigid, snowy state to bring attention to the corrupting influence of money in politics.
Gordon Allen, Co-Chair of the Open Democracy Board, presented the Walk the Talk Legislative Leadership Award to State Senator Jeb Bradley (R-Wolfeboro) for tirelessly advocating for legislative solutions to ensure an open and accountable democracy. Senator Bradley sponsored SB 120, which closed loopholes that let special interest groups hide millions of dollars in electioneering spending from the NH public, then shepherded the bill through the legislative process.
“Senator Bradley is our hero,” said Allen. “He championed this bill while overcoming considerable opposition from powerful lobbyists."
“SB-120 will ensure better disclosure of electioneering expenditures made by independent groups,” said Senator Bradley in his acceptance remarks. “Increasingly, these campaign expenditures made by independent groups are influencing the outcome of elections. It is critically important that initiatives such as SB-120 increase the transparency of these expenditures.
Open Democracy Board Co-Chair Regina Bringolf presented the Granny D Activist Award to Ruth Meyer for tirelessly continuing Doris “Granny D” Haddock’s long walk for reform, notably her 3,200 mile march across the United States in 1999-2000.
Meyer, who lives in Keene, NH, supported Granny D in multiple ways in her final years, driving Granny D to voter registrations and speaking engagements, and organizing events in her honor. After Granny D’s death, Meyer found a home for her documents and memorabilia at the Mason Library of Keene State College.
“Ruth is the one who works most assiduously for the preservation of Doris’s legacy," said Bringolf. "When we have concerns or doubts, we go to her with the question, ‘What would Granny say?' "
Allen and Bringolf also presented Granny D Messenger Awards to Barbara Bates Smith and Jeff Sebens and to Dixie and John Tymitz. The award recognizes volunteers who tirelessly tell Granny D’s story and share her mission with diverse audiences, both in New Hampshire and around the country.
Smith, of Clyde, NC, is an actress who specializes in one-woman shows. When someone gave her Granny D’s book about her cross-country walk, Smith was so touched that she decided to write a play, which she now performs to great applause throughout the country, usually to benefit local nonprofit organizations. Sebens, of Cana, VA—-a musical performer and builder of guitars and dulcimers—is her accompanist.
Dixie Tymitz, from Pittsburgh, PA, is another performer of one-woman shows who spontaneously decided to dramatize Granny D’s story. She has taken her play to many schools and colleges throughout New Hampshire and beyond, and is supported in her performances by her husband John. Dixie and John also walked with the NH Rebellion across New Hampshire.