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A Next Term

Cody Keenan’s journey with Barack Obama



Harkening back to his days on Ridgefield High School student council, Cody Keenan knows a thing or two about politics. A Chicago native who spent his teenage years in Ridgefield, Keenan served as President Barack Obama’s director of speechwriting from 2013 until the end of 44’s second term. 

Last year, Keenan married fellow White House staffer Kristen Bartoloni. The couple has remained in Washington, D.C., with Keenan, a ’98 RHS grad, currently working as Obama’s senior advisor and chief speechwriter. “I didn’t know I wanted to go into public service until I was most of the way through college,” says the ’98 RHS, who went on to receive a degree in political science from Northwestern University and a Master’s in public policy from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. “A rigorous education at RHS including phenomenal writing and literature teachers like Kathy Wassall and Bob Cox helped make my career possible.” 

Keenan’s political career began in June 2007 in Chicago when he joined Obama’s campaign as a speechwriting intern. He held various roles over the years—ultimately taking over the main speechwriting duties from Jon Favreau in early 2013. “Life was the White House,” Keenan says, looking back. “Fourteen-hour days, rarely any weekends, and more than a month a year spent on the road. But it was also time spent doing a lot of good for a lot of people with coworkers who became family. Literally. I met my wife at the office in 2011, and we were married last year.” 

Keenan’s thoughtful and memorable speechwriting has been compared to the works of Abraham Lincoln and he was even christened “Hemingway” by President Obama himself. From State of the Union addresses to sermons on the National Mall, Keenan’s carefully crafted and thought-provoking words have affected millions from Newtown to Nigeria. 

He’s been the subject of numerous documentaries including The Circus: Inside the Greatest Political Show on Earth, a Showtime series examining the 2016 presidential election and transition of administrations, as well as The Obama Years: The Power of Words, a new Smithsonian documentary. 

In a New York Times article from 2015, David Axelrod, a longtime adviser to Obama and former newspaper reporter, said of Keenan: “He reminds me of some of the folks I grew up with in the old days in Chicago journalism—those hard-bitten, big-hearted, passionate writers who brought the stories of people to life.” 

Keenan, whose parents moved away from Ridgefield in 2003, says he doesn’t get back to town often, but still measures all chicken-parmesan subs against the one from Genoa Deli and considers his second favorite career slinging hot dogs at Chez Lenard in the late ’90s. For now, Keenan will remain in D.C. helping Obama write his next book, ghostwriting for “interesting” public figures, and occasional public speaking of his own.

“President Obama and I have always been good collaborators, so he asked me to join him in what we jokingly call ‘the afterlife,’” Keenan says of his boss. “We share an office with a few other staffers. But he’s very much the writer-in-chief when it comes to his next book. I’m just around to help.”  

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December 2018

Take inspired works of art; a Library magically transformed into a sparkling, vibrant gallery; add infectious community enthusiasm... Put it all together and the result is the Mark Twain...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Mark Twain Library
439 Redding Road
Redding, CT  06896
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Sponsor: The Mark Twain Library
Telephone: 203-938-2545
Contact Name: Romy Weinberg
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Ridgefield Guild of Artists' 14th Annual Festive Home...All That Glitters! opens Friday evening, November 16th with a preview party from 6-8pm.  For an entry fee of $20, attendees will...

Cost: $20 Preview Night Party/Free Days

Where:
Ridgefield Guild of Artists
34 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield, CT  06877
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Sponsor: Ridgefield Guild of Artists
Telephone: 203.438.8863
Contact Name: Mary Pat Devine
Website »

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On December 9 from 12 – 3 p.m. bring your knitting projects or spinning wheels and enjoy a relaxing afternoon with seasoned knitters and spinners. They will coach you on your knitting challenges...

Cost: Free, but donations in support of New Pond Farm's fleecy flock will be welcomed!

Where:
New Pond Farm Education Center
101 Marchant Road
Redding, CT  06896
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Telephone: (203) 938-2117
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Sunday, December 9th at 3:00 PM. Open to all ages. Come to watch several short silent comedies at this fun event hosted by renowned silent film accompanist and historian Ben Model. Ben Model...

Cost: Free

Where:
Ruth Keeler Memorial Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
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Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
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James Lancel McElhinney, journal-artist, author, Yale alumnus and  Pollock-Krasner Grant recipient will unfold the epic story of painted books, from the Age of Exploration to the digital era. He...

Cost: 0.00

Where:
Ridgefield Library
472 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT  06877
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Sponsor: Ridgefield Library
Telephone: 203-438-2282
Contact Name: Laurie McGavin Bachmann
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Christmas with the Celts returns to The Playhouse after sold-out performance for the past three seasons! This holiday show features a mix of lively traditional Irish music and instrumentation with...

Cost: $47.50

Where:
Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge Rd
Ridgefield, CT  06877
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Ridgefield Guild of Artists' 14th Annual Festive Home...All That Glitters! opens Friday evening, November 16th with a preview party from 6-8pm.  For an entry fee of $20, attendees will...

Cost: $20 Preview Night Party/Free Days

Where:
Ridgefield Guild of Artists
34 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Guild of Artists
Telephone: 203.438.8863
Contact Name: Mary Pat Devine
Website »

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Create bold shapes and blocks of colors in this fun process-based workshop! Mark off lines and forms on canvas with artist’s tape, then paint your heart out. When the paint is dry, peel away the...

Cost: $15; $13.50 member

Where:
The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
258 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT  06877
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Website »

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Ridgefield Guild of Artists' 14th Annual Festive Home...All That Glitters! opens Friday evening, November 16th with a preview party from 6-8pm.  For an entry fee of $20, attendees will...

Cost: $20 Preview Night Party/Free Days

Where:
Ridgefield Guild of Artists
34 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Guild of Artists
Telephone: 203.438.8863
Contact Name: Mary Pat Devine
Website »

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  The Ridgefield Historical Society is hosting a holiday event on    Tuesday, December 11: A Festive Soirée at the Schoolhouse The Peter Parley Schoolhouse, intersection of West Lane and...

Cost: $40 for members $50 for nonmembers

Where:
Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Intersection of West Lane and CT Rte 35
Ridgefield, CT  06877
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Telephone: 203-438-5821

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Second Tuesday of each month at 7:30 PM at Keeler Library. Extra copies of the books are available for checkout. No registration is required and drop-ins are welcome.   Tuesday, December 11th at...

Cost: Free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
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Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
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Wednesday, December 12, 2018 at 8pm Pepsi Rock Series powered by Xfinity Holiday Series After reuniting for sold out tours in 2013 and 2016, this chart-topping quartet — featuring...

Cost: Tickets: $125 Gold Circle | $98 Orchestra/Balcony

Where:
The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 E Ridge Rd
Ridgefield, CT  06877
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Telephone: 203-438-5795
Contact Name: Ridgefield Playhouse
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Wednesday, Dec. 12. The Bedford Chamber Concert Series continues its 2018-19 season, featuring an all-Vivaldi holiday program. Anthony Newman and the Bedford Chamber Ensemble will perform “The...

Cost: $45 per person

Where:
St. Matthew's Church Fellowship Hall
382 Cantitoe Street
Bedford, NY  10506
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Sponsor: St. Matthew's Music Committee
Telephone: 914-522-5150
Contact Name: Anthony Newman
Website »

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Ridgefield Guild of Artists' 14th Annual Festive Home...All That Glitters! opens Friday evening, November 16th with a preview party from 6-8pm.  For an entry fee of $20, attendees will...

Cost: $20 Preview Night Party/Free Days

Where:
Ridgefield Guild of Artists
34 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Guild of Artists
Telephone: 203.438.8863
Contact Name: Mary Pat Devine
Website »

More information

Show More...
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Here’s a holiday idea for the whole family – a private tour of the Peter Parley Schoolhouse! The Ridgefield Historical Society maintains and operates the 1756 Schoolhouse, also called the...

Cost: Suggested donation $10 for adults, kids are free

Where:
Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Intersection of West Lane and CT Rte 35
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Historical Society
Telephone: 203-438-5821
Contact Name: Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Website »

More information

Ridgefield Guild of Artists' 14th Annual Festive Home...All That Glitters! opens Friday evening, November 16th with a preview party from 6-8pm.  For an entry fee of $20, attendees will...

Cost: $20 Preview Night Party/Free Days

Where:
Ridgefield Guild of Artists
34 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Guild of Artists
Telephone: 203.438.8863
Contact Name: Mary Pat Devine
Website »

More information

EVERY THURSDAY | 7:30 PM - 10:00 pm Music | Spoken Word | Comedy | More Hosted by Don Lowe Hunt Hill Farm is excited to announce OpenMic night every Thursday night.  Please stop by to...

Cost: donation

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Road
New Milford, CT  06776
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Sponsor: Hunt Hill Farm
Telephone: 860.355.0300
Contact Name: John C. Maxwell III
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Here’s a holiday idea for the whole family – a private tour of the Peter Parley Schoolhouse! The Ridgefield Historical Society maintains and operates the 1756 Schoolhouse, also called the...

Cost: Suggested donation $10 for adults, kids are free

Where:
Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Intersection of West Lane and CT Rte 35
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Historical Society
Telephone: 203-438-5821
Contact Name: Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Website »

More information

Ridgefield Guild of Artists' 14th Annual Festive Home...All That Glitters! opens Friday evening, November 16th with a preview party from 6-8pm.  For an entry fee of $20, attendees will...

Cost: $20 Preview Night Party/Free Days

Where:
Ridgefield Guild of Artists
34 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Guild of Artists
Telephone: 203.438.8863
Contact Name: Mary Pat Devine
Website »

More information

Show More...
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Family Workshop: Holiday Origami 10 am to 12 noon; children ages 2 to 5 1 to 3 pm; children ages 6 to 10   Get in the holiday spirit at The Aldrich! Using introductory origami techniques...

Cost: Free!

Where:
The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
258 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Website »

More information

Ridgefield Guild of Artists' 14th Annual Festive Home...All That Glitters! opens Friday evening, November 16th with a preview party from 6-8pm.  For an entry fee of $20, attendees will...

Cost: $20 Preview Night Party/Free Days

Where:
Ridgefield Guild of Artists
34 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Guild of Artists
Telephone: 203.438.8863
Contact Name: Mary Pat Devine
Website »

More information

Here’s a holiday idea for the whole family – a private tour of the Peter Parley Schoolhouse! The Ridgefield Historical Society maintains and operates the 1756 Schoolhouse, also called the...

Cost: Suggested donation $10 for adults, kids are free

Where:
Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Intersection of West Lane and CT Rte 35
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Historical Society
Telephone: 203-438-5821
Contact Name: Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Website »

More information

Come and meet award-winning columnist, author, and founder of Jackson, Grant Investment Advisers, Inc, Julie Jason. She'll be signing her most recent books, The Retirement Survival Guide, Managing...

Cost: 0

Where:
Barnes & Noble at the Stamford Town Center
100 Greyrock Place
Stamford, CT  06901
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Sponsor: Julie Jason
Telephone: 203-322-1198
Contact Name: Theresa Robbins
Website »

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On Saturday, December 15th, at 6:30 PM, New Pond Farm Education Center will be hosting a public astronomy program where we hope to see Comet Wirtanen and some meteors from the Geminid meteor...

Cost: $4 per New Pond Farm member (max. $16 per family) and $6 per non-member (max. $2

Where:
New Pond Farm Education Center
101 Marchant Road
Redding, CT  06896
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Telephone: (203) 938-2117
Contact Name: New Pond Farm
Website »

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