A Tribute to Dorothy Eck

By Kayle Jackson

"Dorothy Eck’s family confirmed she died Saturday, September 23, at age 93. As with all things Dorothy, her passing was with dignity and surrounded by love.

"Dorothy was an amazing Democrat, a fierce but gentle up-setter of so many apple carts. There’s a certain kind of Montana woman, inspired by Eleanor Roosevelt, dedicated to improving their State, champions of working folk, the environment, and simply “good government.” Dorothy was a prime example of this.

"When she and a number of her friends saw that Montana’s Constitution was terribly outdated and dysfunctional, they as a League of Women Voters agitated to get a new one. Then she served at our 1972 Constitutional Convention as it’s Western District Vice President. And we gained a splendid Constitution. Whether she was working to pass Montana’s first minimum wage law, or helping a Democratic governor implement the new constitution and pass the coal severance tax, landmark environmental laws and funding for mentally ill, or serving as a State Senator for 20 years – in all the arenas Montana politics has to offer, hers was a passionate but kind voice. It was a voice for children, for the environment, for working families, for openness in government, and for civility in politics.

"Perhaps her biggest impact is still in progress. Dorothy took the young under her protective and invigorating wing. A young chap named Max Baucus stopped by her house and soon found her network of friends helping his first campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives. Without her and others like her, Max and many other candidates would not have been elected. Think what that means as you watch our President try to deprive millions of health care by repealing the Affordable Care Act – legislation that passed by one vote.

"Eleanor Roosevelt was fond of saying, “it is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.” Dorothy Eck spent her life lighting candles, and sparklers and wild fireworks -- with kindness, good humor and a never-failing understanding that great things can be achieved, one step at a time. Montana will miss Dorothy, but every time you breath cleaner air, have open government meetings, and see the impact of Montana’s Constitution on such things as your personal privacy – every day, in countless ways, your world will be brighter by sparks that were started, nurtured and kept alive by Montana’s Dorothy."


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