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I Still Love NARAL’s Nancy Keenan


This is a hard diary for me to post, because I grew up worshiping Nancy Keenan. Back before she worked for NARAL, back before she worked for People for the American Way, she was the Superintendent of Public Education in Montana. She took office when I was in the fifth grade and was still there by the time I became the lobbyist for the Associated Students of the University of Montana.

She was an inspiration. Thanks to her leadership, I was able to learn how to research, write, and present using the first editions of photoshop and pagemaker. When I became active in the College Democrats, she was the one who inspired us to organize efficiently enough to not need to give up ground. She used the example of the Anaconda Company in her home town to teach us wild-eyed college kids about Solidarity. She was an inspiration.

When I was lobbying for the college students during a session where Republicans held the governor's mansion and almost a 2:1 majority over Democrats in the legislature, it was Nancy Keenan's job to fight for K-12 funding. But in the final days of the legislative session, she showed up in person to testify before a conference committee and offered money from her own budget to prevent another huge increase in college tuition. Her bluff worked, and she kept her funding while helping many students afford a solid education.

So now, seeing the problems with NARAL, I am hurt, because Nancy Keenan taught me better than this. But I am not worried about the future of Choice, because despite NARAL's ineptitude as of late, there are thousands upon thousands of people like me who have learned the tools to fight for what we believe in. I don't think I would still be in politics were it not for Nancy Keenan, but I am and I am going to fight and I would like to have NARAL fighting with me. Because a long time ago I learned about solidarity from somebody I still love and respect.

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