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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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November 2017

Exhibit on view November 4 – 26, 2017 A comprehensive exhibit showcasing the achievements, careers, designs and personal accomplishments of the architects at the center of New...

Cost: Free

Where:
Carriage Barn Arts Center
681 South Ave.
Waveny Park
New Canaan , CT  06840
View map »


Website »

More information

Calling all tech enthusiasts, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, science club members, authors, artists, students, entrepreneurs, crafter, and makers of any kind—join us this November for the...

Cost: Free to attend

Where:
varies
, CT


Website »

More information

Take part in a unique and immersive art and music experience with award-winning ‘SCAPE Trio. As the violinist, violist, and cellist play, surrounded by the photographs of the exhibition...

Cost: Free for members or with Museum admission

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


Sponsor: The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
Telephone: 203-438-4519
Contact Name: Emily Devoe
Website »

More information

The year 2017 marks the 47th Anniversary of perennial classic-rock favorite, America.  Founding members, Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell (along with former band mate Dan Peek) met in high...

Cost: $90

Where:
Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Telephone: 203-438-5795
Website »

More information

The Department of Theatre Arts will present "EVITA" in the MainStage Theatre of the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the WCSU Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury....

Cost: $25

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave Extension
Danbury, CT  06811
View map »


Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to announce “Paradigm Shifts,” a group exhibition featuring paintings by Charles Arnoldi, Ricardo Mazal and Manuel Mérida.  The show opens...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Exhibit on view November 4 – 26, 2017 A comprehensive exhibit showcasing the achievements, careers, designs and personal accomplishments of the architects at the center of New...

Cost: Free

Where:
Carriage Barn Arts Center
681 South Ave.
Waveny Park
New Canaan , CT  06840
View map »


Website »

More information

Sodexo will host a Thanksgiving Dinner from 4 to 8:30 p.m. in the Campus Center Marketplace on the university's Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury. Students can use a meal...

Cost: $9.75

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave Extension
Danbury, CT  06811
View map »


Website »

More information

The Department of Theatre Arts will present "EVITA" in the MainStage Theatre of the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the WCSU Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury....

Cost: $25

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave Extension
Danbury, CT  06811
View map »


Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to announce “Paradigm Shifts,” a group exhibition featuring paintings by Charles Arnoldi, Ricardo Mazal and Manuel Mérida.  The show opens...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Exhibit on view November 4 – 26, 2017 A comprehensive exhibit showcasing the achievements, careers, designs and personal accomplishments of the architects at the center of New...

Cost: Free

Where:
Carriage Barn Arts Center
681 South Ave.
Waveny Park
New Canaan , CT  06840
View map »


Website »

More information

The Institute for Holistic Health Studies at WCSU will host "Sahaja Yoga Meditation" Tuesday, Nov 14 at 7 p.m. in Room 103 of Warner Hall on the WCSU Midtown campus, 181 White St. in...

Cost: Free

Where:
WCSU Midtown Campus
181 White Street
Danbury, CT  06810
View map »

More information

The Department of Theatre Arts will present "EVITA" in the MainStage Theatre of the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the WCSU Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury....

Cost: $25

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave Extension
Danbury, CT  06811
View map »


Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to announce “Paradigm Shifts,” a group exhibition featuring paintings by Charles Arnoldi, Ricardo Mazal and Manuel Mérida.  The show opens...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Sodexo will host an Italian Elite Pop-Up Dinner (with upcharge) from 4 to 8:30 p.m. in the Student Center Restaurant on the university's Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury. Students can...

Cost: $19.75

Where:
WCSU Midtown Campus
181 White Street
Danbury, CT  06810
View map »

More information

Exhibit on view November 4 – 26, 2017 A comprehensive exhibit showcasing the achievements, careers, designs and personal accomplishments of the architects at the center of New...

Cost: Free

Where:
Carriage Barn Arts Center
681 South Ave.
Waveny Park
New Canaan , CT  06840
View map »


Website »

More information

The Olate Dogs are the winning participants from Season 7 of America’s Got Talent, scooping up the $1,000,000 prize and headlining The Palazzo in Las Vegas. Led by Richard Olate and his son...

Cost: $30

Where:
Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Telephone: 203-438-5795
Website »

More information

A panel discussion featuring artists whose work is currently on exhibit in the Gallery will be moderated by Associate Professor of Illustration Jack Tom at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 15,...

Cost: Free

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave Extension
Danbury, CT  06811
View map »

More information

The Department of Theatre Arts will present "EVITA" in the MainStage Theatre of the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the WCSU Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury....

Cost: $25

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave Extension
Danbury, CT  06811
View map »


Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to announce “Paradigm Shifts,” a group exhibition featuring paintings by Charles Arnoldi, Ricardo Mazal and Manuel Mérida.  The show opens...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Exhibit on view November 4 – 26, 2017 A comprehensive exhibit showcasing the achievements, careers, designs and personal accomplishments of the architects at the center of New...

Cost: Free

Where:
Carriage Barn Arts Center
681 South Ave.
Waveny Park
New Canaan , CT  06840
View map »


Website »

More information

On Thursday, November 16th the Housatonic Museum of Art will present a fascinating lecture entitled “Pirates: Fact & Fiction” with historian, John R. Wright.    The...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Housatonic Museum of Art
900 Lafayette Blvd
Bridgeport, CT  06604
View map »


Sponsor: Housatonic Museum of Art
Telephone: 203-332-5052
Contact Name: Robbin Zella
Website »

More information

2nd Show Added SNL comedian Jim Breuer’s life-long love of heavy metal music and the desire to start his own band comes together in a hilarious and satisfying show that mixes comedy and...

Cost: $37.50

Where:
Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Telephone: 203-438-5795
Website »

More information

WCSU will present the Midtown Coffeehouse Thursday, Nov. 16 at 8 p.m. in the Colonial Corner in the Student Center on the university's Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury. The coffeehouse...

Cost: Free

Where:
WCSU Midtown Campus
181 White Street
Danbury, CT  06810
View map »

More information

The Department of Theatre Arts will present "EVITA" in the MainStage Theatre of the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the WCSU Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury....

Cost: $25

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave Extension
Danbury, CT  06811
View map »


Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to announce “Paradigm Shifts,” a group exhibition featuring paintings by Charles Arnoldi, Ricardo Mazal and Manuel Mérida.  The show opens...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Come create new memories in a magical setting of over 100 holiday trees, elves and pixie dust. Enjoy shopping, live entertainment, raffle prizes and more! Featuring special kids events:...

Cost: Admission: Adults: $10 • Children & Seniors: $5• Kids under 5: Free

Where:
Crowne Plaza Hotel
18 Old Ridgebury Road
EXIT 2, I-84
Danbury, CT  06810
View map »


Sponsor: Ann's Place
Telephone: 1-866-907-2314
Contact Name: Jack Bouffard
Website »

More information

Exhibit on view November 4 – 26, 2017 A comprehensive exhibit showcasing the achievements, careers, designs and personal accomplishments of the architects at the center of New...

Cost: Free

Where:
Carriage Barn Arts Center
681 South Ave.
Waveny Park
New Canaan , CT  06840
View map »


Website »

More information

The WCSU Childcare Center will host an event to raise funds for the center on Friday, Nov. 17. At 6:30 p.m., guests will enjoy tapas and a cash bar in Room 241 of the Visual and Performing Arts...

Cost: $40

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave Extension
Danbury, CT  06811
View map »

More information

Jim Breuer remains one of today’s top entertainers and continues to win over audiences with his off-the-wall humor! Named one of Comedy Central’s “100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All...

Cost: $55

Where:
Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Telephone: 203-438-5795
Website »

More information

Music on the Hill presents a concert in tune with the changing seasons, performed by 12 pro singers with Ellen Dickinson, conductor, David H. Connell, piano, and Carolyn Engle, cello....

Cost: $20 in advance, $25 at the door; students free

Where:
Wilton Presbyterian Church
48 New Canaan Road
Wilton, CT  06897
View map »


Sponsor: Music on the Hill
Telephone: 203-529-3133
Contact Name: Music on the Hill
Website »

More information

The Department of Theatre Arts will present "EVITA" in the MainStage Theatre of the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the WCSU Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury....

Cost: $25

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave Extension
Danbury, CT  06811
View map »


Website »

More information

SEE LOUNSBURY HOUSE TRANSFORMED INTO A CHRISTMAS WONDERLAND! Tickets are on sale now for the 18th Biennial Tree Festival and Unique Holiday Boutique. November 17 – 19 Friday 10:00AM...

Where:
Lounsbury House
316 Main Street
, CT
View map »


Telephone: 203-438-6962
Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to announce “Paradigm Shifts,” a group exhibition featuring paintings by Charles Arnoldi, Ricardo Mazal and Manuel Mérida.  The show opens...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Come create new memories in a magical setting of over 100 holiday trees, elves and pixie dust. Enjoy shopping, live entertainment, raffle prizes and more! Featuring special kids events:...

Cost: Admission: Adults: $10 • Children & Seniors: $5• Kids under 5: Free

Where:
Crowne Plaza Hotel
18 Old Ridgebury Road
EXIT 2, I-84
Danbury, CT  06810
View map »


Sponsor: Ann's Place
Telephone: 1-866-907-2314
Contact Name: Jack Bouffard
Website »

More information

Don’t miss this dynamic workshop, exploring found objects, assemblage, and three-dimensional craft. Look to the giant wreath titled Conn Con by Anissa Mack as inspiration, and use twine,...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
Telephone: 203-438-4519
Contact Name: Emily Devoe
Website »

More information

Exhibit on view November 4 – 26, 2017 A comprehensive exhibit showcasing the achievements, careers, designs and personal accomplishments of the architects at the center of New...

Cost: Free

Where:
Carriage Barn Arts Center
681 South Ave.
Waveny Park
New Canaan , CT  06840
View map »


Website »

More information

WCSU will host a 5 p.m. planetarium show Saturday, Nov. 18, followed by telescope viewing of the sky from 6 to 8 p.m., at the Westside Observatory and Planetarium on the university's Westside...

Cost: Free

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave Extension
Danbury, CT  06810
View map »

More information

   Get in the holiday spirit and join us for the 3rd Annual Taps & Trees Craft Beer Fest being held on Saturday, 11/18/2017, 6:30 – 10:30 pm at the Crowne Plaza. Taps &...

Cost: Online price: $65.00 Door price: $75.00

Where:
Crowne Plaza Hotel
18 Old Ridgebury Road
Danbury, CT  06810
View map »


Sponsor: Ann's Place
Telephone: 203-790-6568
Contact Name: Jack Bouffard
Website »

More information

The Office of Alumni Relations invites you to attend the “Evita” Cocktail Reception & Production on Saturday, Nov. 18. Cocktail Reception starts at 6:30 p.m. in the Drawing Room of...

Cost: $30

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave Extension
Danbury, CT  06811
View map »

More information

After three past sold-out performances, Darlene Love returns with her band and the DL Singers to celebrate the Holiday season once again!  As one of the biggest voices of the 60s, Darlene Love...

Cost: $60

Where:
Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Telephone: 203-438-5795
Website »

More information

The Department of Theatre Arts will present "EVITA" in the MainStage Theatre of the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the WCSU Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury....

Cost: $25

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave Extension
Danbury, CT  06811
View map »


Website »

More information

Legendary reggae artist Yellowman will perform at 8 p.m. in Ives Concert Hall in White Hall on the WCSU Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury. Doors will open at 7:30 p.m. and opening...

Cost: $20

Where:
WCSU Midtown Campus
181 White Street
Danbury, CT  06810
View map »

More information

SEE LOUNSBURY HOUSE TRANSFORMED INTO A CHRISTMAS WONDERLAND! Tickets are on sale now for the 18th Biennial Tree Festival and Unique Holiday Boutique. November 17 – 19 Friday 10:00AM...

Where:
Lounsbury House
316 Main Street
, CT
View map »


Telephone: 203-438-6962
Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to announce “Paradigm Shifts,” a group exhibition featuring paintings by Charles Arnoldi, Ricardo Mazal and Manuel Mérida.  The show opens...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
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