Marcia Moody, the remarkable New Hampshire state representative who was among the first legislators in the nation to raise the alarm about how austerity-advocating governors and corporate-tied American Legislative Exchange Council acolytes were warping policy in the states, has died at age 80.
A world traveler, she worked with the Army & Air Force Exchange Service in Europe before retiring to the town of Newmarket, New Hampshire, where she got active in politics as a supporter of Howard Dean’s 2004 antiwar presidential run. Marcia was inspired by the former Vermont governor’s argument that American politics would be repaired only if citizen activists stepped up and ran for office. When she heard the call, however, it was too late to get on the New Hampshire ballot. So she announced her write-in candidacy, taking on an entrenched incumbent. She went door-to-door in the community, with all the charm and determination that would come to make her a beloved figure on the left in New Hampshire and nationally.
To the surprise of almost everyone—perhaps even the first-time candidate—Marcia won.
Marcia kept winning. In a district with a history of electing Republicans, she regularly topped the vote—even in Republican-wave years where control of the New Hampshire legislature flipped to the GOP. She did not do this by pulling punches, triangulating, or edging toward the center. While she delighted in discourse and befriended Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, and Greens, Marcia was a passionate progressive. And she had a sense of right and wrong that made her an ardent foe of big-money in politics, lobbyist abuses, and influence peddling.
Before most legislators had any sense of the role that the American Legislative Exchange Council (a national group funded by the Koch brothers and corporate interests) played in moving so-called “model legislation” through Republican-controlled statehouses—to the detriment of voting rights, labor rights, and consumer and environmental protections—Marcia was raising the alarm. She wrote articles, organized forums, and regularly challenged proposals that she said were advanced not to aid New Hampshire but to deliver for corporate interests. When Democrats retook control of the New Hampshire state House in 2012, Marcia and a group of allies set out to identify and overturn ALEC-influenced bills that had passed in previous sessions—with an eye, in particular, to protecting worker rights.