- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 21, 2015

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - When 15-year-old Ella McGrail decided to bundle up and walk 46.5 miles from Portsmouth to Concord to bring attention to money’s corrupting influence on politics, she thought about the changes she wants to see by the time she’s old enough to vote.

“Our government now favors money over majority,” McGrail told a crowd of several hundred in front of the New Hampshire State House on Wednesday. It’s a “twisted reality that in no way resembles America.”

McGrail was one of about 500 people who joined the “New Hampshire Rebellion” for part of a 10-day walk across the state aimed at ending the influence of money in politics. The 300-mile walk started in four different locations around the state and ended in Concord for the rally. Walkers from Keene to Portsmouth dotted the State House plaza holding signs reading “Democracy matters” and “End legal bribery with publicly financed campaigns.”

Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig is the founder of the “New Hampshire Rebellion,” an effort inspired by the late Doris “Granny D.” Haddock, who gained acclaim in 1999-2000 by walking 3,200 miles across the country to lobby for changes in the campaign finance system.

The group is demanding that candidates for the next presidential election address campaign finance reform.

“This year in New Hampshire, we have the opportunity to raise this issue again and again,” former Republican gubernatorial candidate Andrew Hemingway told the crowd, a reference to repeated visits from presidential candidates that have already begun.

Conrad Young, a Concord resident who didn’t walk, showed up Wednesday to learn more about the movement. He is a Republican and said both political parties have allowed money to control too much of the political process.

“The whole thing is a joke; it’s all about money,” Young said.

The walk might be cold, but to many of the walkers, it’s the only way to generate the attention they feel the issue needs.

“The system only breaks if we give up,” McGrail said.

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