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Farewell, Claire Ebel: An honest advocate

Claire Ebel, executive director of the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union since 1982, retired this month. Her kindly, but forceful voice will be missed in Concord.

Ebel was a powerful advocate for civil liberties regardless of whether the Legislature was led by Repubilcans or Democrats. That says a lot about her integrity. She fought for ideals, not for party, and that made her very effective.

Ebel made allies and enemies on all sides. If she thought a proposed law would trample individual rights, she would fight it with vigor no matter which party was behind it. She forged close alliances with Republicans and Democrats, and she kept the NHCLU politically independent, refusing to let it become anyone's partisan tool.

We did not always agree with Ebel on the issues. When we did, we found her to be a strong and capable ally. When we did not, she always was a formidable opponent.

The world of politics is filled with too many hacks, posers, power-grabbers and charlatans. For 30 years, Claire Ebel stood out as an honest advocate for people who needed one. In Concord, her voice will be missed.

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