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Shannon Hazel McGrady, 1st Duchess of Carolina GCMT GF GS PC (born 2 February 3210) is a Terran spacer politician, lawyer, businesswoman, and stateswoman who is the current Prime Minister of the Republic. She has served in elected office since the 3230s, and is a former leading member of the National Humanist Imperial Labor Party. She is most well known for her tenure in the Parliament of the Terran Empire as a National Humanist representative for thirteen years, seven of which she served in the position of Speaker of the House of Commons. After the abolition of the Empire and the unification of humanity into the Republic, she was elected as a Tribune to the Central Galactic Congress for the Inner Colonies delegation in 3276. She was appointed Prime Minister in 3288 and has served in that role since.

In 3294, in recognition of her years of service to the state, and for her competent management of the ongoing Magellanic War, she was created Duchess of Carolina by Act of Parliament.

She is the matriarch of the McGrady political family, a large, wealthy, and powerful political and noble family of spacers that have been influential at various points of human cultural, technological, and political development. Shannon's many children include State Security general William McGrady, lawyer Genevieve McGrady, and deceased medical polymath Dr. David McGrady.

She is the eldest child of businessman Proinsias McGrady, the former head of the McGrady Financial Group. After the company became insolvent, and Proinsias was terminated from executive positions, the family was gradually flung into poverty. Shannon has stated that she lived her youth "in rags". The family still held a large share of stock in the company, however, which allowed Shannon leverage to initiate a hostile takeover in the 3230s. She married mining magnate Patrick David Drake in 3233, whom she had met three years prior at a political fundraiser event, and whose considerable industrial and financial resources were key in re-establishing family control over what became the McGrady Corporation when Drake Industries merged with the McGrady Financial Group following Shannon and Patrick's marriage.

Shannon served in municipal, colonial, and provincial elected office from the 3230s through the 3260s. In the 3262 General Election, she was selected to join the party parliamentary list and became a Member of Parliament. She held her position for thirteen years, leading the hawkish, republican faction of the National Humanists in Parliament and being known as the "Lioness of the Legislature". During her tenure, she advocated for greater cooperation between human-ruled interstellar states, increased military and social welfare spending, and tax reform favouring corporate expansion in outer colony regions. Her advocacy of human international unity was critical in gathering support for the wartime and postwar union of human states under a single government, and she became an active supporter of radical republicanism. Since becoming a Tribune, she has continued her support of radical unitary policies, advocating bringing a standard system of organization into place for Republic territories. In her recent tenure as Prime Minister, she has been strongly supportive of industrial policies to unify the national war effort in the Magellanic War, and has put into place some of her advocated unitary policies.

She is considered one the most iconic spokespersons for National Humanism in government, and her family's wealth and influence has been noted as a significant contributor to the electoral success of the NHILP in the latter half of the 33rd century.

Early life and education

Childhood

Shannon Hazel McGrady was born February 2nd, 3210 to Lois Cypher-McGrady and Proinsias Petyr McGrady at the McGrady Estate on the space habitat Wallerstein. Her father, Proinsias, was CEO of the McGrady Financial Group, a large financial services and investment banking corporation based in Wallerstein. Her mother, Lois, was a fashion model and businesswoman. They had already given birth to a son, Paul William McGrady, in 3206. However when Shannon was two, Proinsias lost control of the company. After a series of personal scandals, the board of directors lost confidence in his ability to manage the company and voted for his dismissal. The McGradys floated for a few years on the family fortune, but Proinsias and his wife squandered much of their savings on frivolous purchases and the cost of maintaining the enormous McGrady estate. They were forced to sell many of their shares in the company to pay for their living expenses. Meanwhile, the company began to decline and the value of Proinsias' existing stock plummeted. The family was flung into financial poverty by the beginning of the 3220s, especially after Proinsias refused to sell the estate and after the birth of the McGrady's second daughter, Brigid Anne McGrady, in 3217.

In 3221, the Wallerstein Electric Company shut off electrical power to the McGrady residence, an event Shannon recalled vividly in an interview:

"I was reading to my little sister when suddenly everything went black. The colony had shifted to night-time so there wasn't even artificial or reflected sunlight. Just darkness. I was terrified. The next several years were awful...we had to burn books for heat and light candles at night."

She and her family also dealt with hunger and malnutrition while in poverty. With most of their stocks consisting of perishable food and luxury meals, very little remained that could be rationed. The rationing only lasted a few years, and in 3223 her sister died of starvation. Initially, the death was reported as due to illness. Shannon, in the same interview, recalled:

"That 'illness' thing? Cover story to save his ass. My sister starved to death. And after Brigid died, mother just broke down. She couldn't stand it, and she didn't know what to do."

With careful planning, the family survived on game and poultry that lived on the estate and cultivated herbs and vegetables. Government programs provided them with vital medicines and some food, to stave off scurvy and other vitamin deficiencies, but Proinsias stubbornly refused most assistance.

Later, in early 3225, her elder brother Paul William McGrady died in a violent incident after work in which a fellow student of Shannon's shot him to death. The assailant was captured and, despite being fifteen, was tried as an adult for murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Education

The next several years saw Shannon attend public education, the first in her family to do so. She became the subject of mockery from previous childhood friends and from other members of her family. She was involved in a few altercations at school, but according to her instructors, "mellowed out" around her late teens. At age 16, she graduated early after having skipped two grades, and pursued higher education.

Riding on scholarships, Imperial educational assistance, and some money she saved up from odd jobs, Shannon McGrady began studies at the Rothschild School for Public Policy in the nearby space habitat of Rothstein in June 3226. She earned her Master's degree in Public Administration in April 3229. She took online coursework for the Imperial College of Law and earned her Juris Doctor degree, and was admitted to the bar in 3231.

Family and early career

Political prospects

Shannon, having completed her college education, endeavoured to return the McGrady Financial Group to the hands of the McGrady family. While searching for a method by which to do this, she focused on a political career. With her education in the law and public administration, Shannon was very knowledgeable about local and Imperial level political issues and joined the National Humanist Imperial Labor Party. She made connections with other local politicians and began assisting as a staff member of the Wallerstein city councilman and Count of Rothstein, Seth Rothschild. During her early work, she met George Francis Rothschild, Seth's son, and established political connections in the Kolossen system through that family. With the encouragement of the Rothschilds, she decided to embark on a career in politics and run for the 3234 local elections.

Marriage and business career

Shannon met Patrick David Drake, heir to Drake Industries, at a fund-raising event for her future planned political campaign in November 3231. Patrick said of his first time meeting her, "I saw this slender, tall woman pale as slow, with tumbling raven hair, in this gorgeous emerald dress. She was, and still is, the most beautiful creature I have ever seen." They began a whirlwind romance and became engaged on 30 February 3232. They were married on 4 January 3233, and took her illustrious surname as their future family name. A month later, however, the young couple was wracked with tragedy as Patrick's father died in a spacecraft accident. Patrick inherited his father's ownership of the company and became CEO of Drake Industries.

Shannon and Patrick utilized the immense wealth of the Drake family to purchase enormous personal stakes in the McGrady Financial Group due to the significantly lowered cost of shares. Drake Industries cooperated with a business plan drawn up by Patrick and Shannon to initiate a hostile takeover of the McGrady Financial Group if the MGFG management rejected all offers of negotiated merger, which they did. With the assistance of several allied shareholders, Drake Industries conducted their takeover through sheer majority vote at an emergency stockholder's meeting. The existing management was overthrown, Shannon was made CEO, and a formal merger was made on 19 September 3233.

Afterwards, the corporate structure of the new company was organized as a zaibatsu style conglomerate. The new business was renamed the McGrady Corporation, and Shannon resigned as head of the company after her election in May 3234. Her husband was elected President and CEO, and has run the company ever since. The corporation's subsidiaries are publicly-traded, but are controlled via a privately-owned holding company. Having secured her family's financial future, she detached herself from a career in business to focus on politics.

Over the next several years, Shannon and Patrick would bear nine children: John Patrick McGrady, William McGrady, Anne-Marie Brigid McGrady, Genevieve Patricia McGrady, Cynthia Shannon McGrady, Fiona Fachtna McGrady, Peadar Petyr McGrady, Hillary Alice McGrady, and Rory David McGrady.

Early political career

Shannon McGrady has led a distinguished and uniquely accomplished political career, from local colonial politics, to regional provincial government, to imperial parliamentary politics. She has had a hand in major policy-making since the 3250s and has been a guiding force in the formation of the Republic. As such, she is considered a "founding mother" of the Central Galactic Union.

Wallerstein

After having reestablished family control over her father's old company, Shannon entered politics in earnest. With the backing of major politicians of the NHILP, she campaigned for one of the twenty-six seats in the Wallerstein city council in 3234, winning the May 3rd election with an 85% majority in the Wallerstein 7th district. She served in the Wallerstein city council for one term from 3234 to 3236, voting for tighter security and expanded funding for schools. In 3236, she ran for one of three "city seats" on the Board of Commissioners for Waller County, the larger administrative unit containing Wallerstein and its satellite habitats and unincorporated territories. She won the election with an 80% majority, and served as one of six County Commissioners from 3236 to 3240, winning re-election in 3239. Her tenure on the board saw a continuation of NHILP policies regarding internal security and public funding of schools and hospitals. Controversially, she supported partial public funding of private schools, a measure which only barely succeeded. She resigned her seat in the Waller County board to take her seat in the system parliament in May 3240.

Kolossen

In 3240, while serving on the Waller County board, McGrady prepared to serve in the colonial parliament for Kolossen, which was elected by party list proportional representation. In the May 3240 election, the NHILP won 90% of the seats in the local Kolossen Assembly and McGrady, near the top of the regional party list, took her seat. The NHILP won the 3246 election as well, and McGrady retained her seat. In the regional parliament, she took charge in directing much legislation, serving as chair of the Military Committee from 3243 onwards and becoming Speaker of the Kolossen Assembly from 3247 to 3252. Under her speakership, the Kolossen Assembly increased local taxes and expanded public education funding and construction of military installations. A major defensive fortification was built in orbit of Kolossen during her tenure, with expenses shared between the Imperial military and the Kolossen government. The installation, despite its cost, became a major employer.

Inner Colonies

In 3252, Shannon McGrady ran as a Senator of the Inner Colonies, representing Kolossen, after the retirement of George Francis Rothschild from the same seat. Rothschild departed that year to serve in the Imperial Parliament, leaving the Kolossen seat in the Inner Colonies Provincial Parliament open to competition. McGrady acquired the support of both the National Humanist and the Tory parties, and handily won the election by a 95% majority. McGrady spent less and less time with her family as she focused on politics away from her home system. She won re-election in 3254, 3256, 3258, and 3260 by similar margins.

During her tenure in the Inner Colonies Provincial Parliament, she became a noted and rising star in the National Humanist Imperial Labor Party. Her fiery rhetoric and impassioned defence of public spending on education, health, welfare, and above all military defence characterized her as an interventionist progressive Nationalist. Chairing the Education Committee from 3254 to 3258, she advocated for and helped pass education reform that expanded pro-nationalist education programs, allotted time and public spending for National Humanist Youth Corps activities, and brought about a general revision of history and other course textbooks in 3257. Chairing the Defence Committee in from 3258 to her retirement from the provincial parliament, she pushed for the expansion of military training facilities, shipyards, and warp gates to service the growing Imperial military and provide an explosion in employment for Inner Colonies youth. She declined to run in 3262, leaving her seat contested, in which her son John Patrick McGrady ran on the National Humanist ticket and lost.

In the early 3260s, her rising star garnered the attention of the Party Steering Committee and the Party Political Bureau, party organs with the purpose of constructing the parliamentary list. With increasing majorities in elections over the past century, the NHILP gained more and more seats in Parliament and looked further afield to the many provinces in the interior of the Empire. Previously they had selected most of their MPs from outer colonial areas and military marches, where they had the strongest support. With the rise of the McGrady family as a political supporter of the Party, and with Shannon McGrady's meteoric rise in fame and importance in the Inner Colonies, she was selected to be 399th on the Party List. The NHILP won the 3262 election with a 76% majority, allotting it 608 out of 800 seats.

Later political career

Member of Parliament

Shannon began her term in the House of Commons of the Terran Imperial Parliament in early May 3262, travelling to Earth to set up her office in Geneva, the site of the Imperial Houses of Parliament. She also set up an office in London, headquarters of the NHILP. She began interacting much with the Party leadership, asking for and giving advice in turn and coordinating with Party leaders on her legislative advocacy. In 3264, she was appointed Chair of the NHILP's Political Bureau, which determined the placement of members for the parliamentary list and unofficially determined the position of local Party plenipotentiaries and chiefs, and was elected a member of the Party Steering Committee. In part due to her careful management of internal politics in the Party, the NHILP won 88% of the vote in 3267 and 91% of the vote in a special election in late 3270. Shannon served in the Imperial Parliament from 3262 to its abolition in 3275. She served on the War Committee through the first two years of the Great War, until her election as Speaker in 3266.

Speaker of the House

In December 3266, she was elected Speaker of the House of Commons and Deputy Prime Minister, a political office of significant standing and prestige. The Speaker's job was to enforce discipline in the House of Commons and moderate debate. As Deputy Prime Minister, her job also was to enforce Party discipline in the House and whip votes for bills. These combined offices made her Prince Maximilian's deputy in the House of Commons, and during his long absences in managing the cabinet and war effort, she was effectively the leader of the House majority. In 3268, Maximilian ascended to the throne of the Empire and abolished the office of Prime Minister and the office of Deputy Prime Minister. Shannon's position was restyled Majority Leader, but carried the same duties of parliamentary Party discipline.

As Speaker, she was instrumental in the push for strong wartime measures to nationalise key industries and sectors of the economy and manage production, and for social legislation promoting meritocracy, alien registration and exclusion, and human unity between disparate groups within the Empire. She was also a major backer of the November 3270 Treaty of Confederation which restructured the ISTO into a loose union of human empires with its own overarching parliament, executive, and treasury.

Confederate Assembly delegate

While still holding her positions in the Terran Imperial Parliament, she was elected to be a delegate to the Confederate Assembly by the Imperial Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee. As well as retaining a parallel function as Speaker of the Assembly, she was appointed a member of the War Committee and Finance Committee, and was elected Deputy Treasurer of the Confederation. On the eve of the general election in 3272, the Imperial Parliament was prorogued and effectively its duties were to be carried out by the Confederate Assembly. The other member nations of the confederation followed suit.

In March 3275, the Assembly dissolved all member states and reorganised itself into autonomous star systems. In early April, in part due to McGrady's advocacy, it chartered a special committee to write a new constitution to deal with the enormous task of managing and governing several million autonomous systems. McGrady was appointed to this Constitutional Convention and was reportedly a major input on the text of the constitution, and as such she is referred to as one of the "Framers" or writers, of the Constitution. The constitution was ratified unanimously on April 20th, 3275. The constitution, notably, abolished all political parties. Shannon's power and influence, however, was not strictly rooted in the Party infrastructure. It flowed from her informal connections with Nationalist politicians as well as her appointed and elected offices within the legislature. As such, she remained a very important figure in the transition.

Tribune

The Republican Constitution was ratified by the Confederate Assembly in April 3275, and the Confederate Assembly was reappointed as the provisional Congress. Shannon held her seat and was instrumental in steering important legislation that would stabilize the burgeoning republic, including the means by which the future Tribunes would be elected. It was popular assumption that she would continue to represent the Inner Colonies in some fashion in the new Congress. In February 3276, the new electoral procedures went into effect and she was elected by the Inner Colonies electoral college as part of its Congressional delegation.

Starting in September 3287, Shannon mounted a campaign for the office of Supreme Chancellor. She garnered the support of some opponents of Chancellor Maximilian, who believed that his conduct of the office was no longer of benefit to the Republic. They cited the continued hostilities and violence in the Outer Colonies and Banat regions, and the insurrections in the Occupied Territories as evidence that the Comptonian era was a failure. Lord Maximilian countered in debates that his government had seen the greatest peace and prosperity for humans in centuries, and that the outbreak of violence in the colonies were significantly reduced from that of the Late Empire period, in part due to the radical changes he had guided by founding the Republic. Shannon's supporters countered that Maximilian's rule was little different from a continuation of the Empire, given that he was the last reigning Terran Emperor and still held the title as a prince of the Congress. But as the debates continued, Maximilian had many allies in the Congress voice their endorsement of him, including most generals and peers. Peculiarly, Shannon's son and head of the State Security Forces delegation, William, remained silent in the debates. The matter was voted upon by the first session of the 12th Congress on 2 February 3288. Maximilian won an 86% majority and began his second 12-year term as Supreme Chancellor of the Republic.

Prime Minister

Impressed by her vocal and impassioned plan to better the Republic and improve the current government, Maximilian approached Shannon McGrady to offer her the Premiership. The role had been formally vacant since Philip Rycon resigned on 1 February, the day before the Congress met to formally elect the Supreme Chancellor. Principal Secretary Lionel Ojibe was appointed acting Prime Minister until 11 March, when McGrady was confirmed by Congress.

Initially expecting to be a peacetime head of government, McGrady has surprised many in being a tireless and able organiser of the federal war effort, directing the management of government resources. She has put in place war production quotas to meet Great War-era standards, and ordered the first widespread conscription policy since the Great War, greatly increasing the reserve manpower of the Armed Forces.

Personal Life

Titles, honours, styles, and arms

Peerage titles

  • 1 March 3294: Duchess of Carolina, Countess of Charleston, Countess of Blue Ridge, Viscountess of Roanoke, Baroness of Hilton Head, Baroness of Kitty Hawk.

Styles

  • Ms. Shannon McGrady, Esq, JD MPA (4 July 3231)
  • The Hon Shannon McGrady, Esq, MP (2 May 3262)
  • The Hon Shannon McGrady, Bt (1 March 3275)
  • Tribune Shannon McGrady (2 February 3276)
  • Tribune Shannon McGrady DCMT (2 September 3279)
  • Tribune Shannon McGrady GCMT (9 June 3283)
  • The Rt Hon Shannon McGrady GCMT GF GS (11 March 3288)
  • Her Grace The Duchess of Carolina GCMT GF GS OM (1 March 3294)

Honours

  • Dame Grand Cross of the Order of St. Mary of Terra
  • Dame Commander of the Order of the Galactic Eagle
  • Member of the Order of Merit
  • Dame of the Golden Fleece
  • Dame of the Golden Spur
  • Commander of the Legion of Honour

Terran Imperial honours

  • Privy Counsellor

Behind the scenes