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September 2014 Featured PC: Shirley McKean

I think I was born interested in politics. If not, I learned at an early age that politics had a direct impact on my life and how important it was to have the best possible political leadership. My father was career Army and I remember hearing my mother and other wives talking with fear in their voices during the Cuban Missile Crisis, worried about the real possibility of war with the Soviet Union. Fortunately, John Kennedy was president. As the 1960s progressed, becoming for many of us “the best of times and the worst of times”, I was inspired by Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King, but naively believed that even after the tragedy of President Kennedy’s assassination, change and a positive future were certain. I volunteered on my first political campaign in 1968. The worst of times got to me. I lost hope and gave up. Although, I always stayed informed and voted, I didn’t get politically active again until the Clarence Thomas Hearings. I realized it was a huge mistake to give up. It’s important to not just vote but be active in the political process and work to get good people in office. Mad as Hell, I got involved my district in north Phoenix, became a PC, state committee person and a Jerry Brown delegate to the 1992 democratic convention. I got involved in Tempe shortly after moving here. I can’t say I enjoy knocking on doors in 100+ degree heat because I don’t enjoy it, but it’s important. I look at it as my job and my responsibility to volunteer for Democratic candidates during each election cycle---and staying mad as Hell!

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