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Candy Lightner founded one of the country's largest activist organizations, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, after her daughter died in a drunk driving accident.
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Lightner was one of the first people appointed to the commission. Lecturing and lobbying across the country, she became a leading activist on this issue. President Ronald Reagan appointed her to the National Commission on Drunk Driving in 1984.
Lightner helped get new anti-drunk driving legislation passed in individual states and nationally. One of the group's most significant accomplishments from this time was the national law that raised the legal drinking age to 21. Lightner's activism also inspired her daughter Serena to form Students Against Drunk Driving. Lightner left the organization she founded in 1985 amid allegations of financial mismanagement. MADD was accused on spending too much money on fundraising instead of on programs.
No matter the circumstances of her departure, Lightner had helped develop MADD into an international movement during her tenure. She told CNN that the group had nearly 400 chapters across the globe and gained 2 million members within the first three years.
After MADD, Lightner continued to work as an social activist and public speaker. She wrote the 1990 book Giving Sorrow Words: How to Cope with Grief and Get on with Your Life. Four years later, Lightner found herself under fire for agreeing to work as a lobbyist for the liquor industry. She explained to the Chicago Tribune that she didn't see the liquor industry as the enemy. "They're just as affected by drunk driving as anyone else. Drunk driving certainly doesn't enhance their business," she said.
These days, Lightner has been sharing her expertise as an organizer and campaigner through her company C L and Associates. She also working on developing a new nonprofit to address issues of public safety.
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