In 2014, we continued where we left off. In January, we held another Round Table meeting, and expanded our Educate Congress letter drops calling for single payer healthcare, and opposing both the TPP and cuts to Food Stamps.
We lost the fight to prevent cuts to the SNAP program in the Farm Bill in the House by a 251-166 vote. Undaunted, we stepped up our efforts to defeat “Fast Track” legislation and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on both the House and Senate side. Economic and Social Justice Issue Team Coordinator Randy Shannon helped keep PDA supporters well-informed and connected with these issues, and Andrea Miller has been a key organizer working with the national stop the TPP coalition.
From the People’s Inaugural to Progressive Round Tables
Progressive Democrats of America kept up our intensity in 2013. When other organizations celebrated during inaugural weekend in D.C., PDA convened another Progressive Central. This conference and work session, dubbed “The Peoples’ Inaugural,” brought together leading progressives and PDA organizers at the University of D.C. Law School.
PDA kicked off 2012 with a powerful presence, greeting Democrats who participated there, getting impressive coverage, especially for asking Iowans to “send a message to President Barack Obama by organizing people to vote for uncommitted in the Iowa Democratic caucuses.” Also in January, PDA leadership joined many of our Board members and allies presenting and leading panels at the second annual Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) Policy Summit in Baltimore, Maryland. As usual, we spent most of the time organizing and working, then heard our board member Jim Hightower, the featured speaker.
If progressives were frustrated by failure to win major victories in previous years, after the GOP / Tea Party takeover of the House we faced a far more difficult task. Friendly Committee Chairs like PDA Board Member John Conyers had to hand over their gavels to Republicans. Legislation that made progress from 2007 to 2010 suddenly slammed into brick walls. National Director Tim Carpenter led PDA’s response, with help from Deputy Director Conor Boylan, the revamped national staff, along with our tireless Issue Team organizers and our state and local coordinators.
2010: We hate to say we told you so, but....
PDA kicked off 2010 by launching the Brown Bag Lunch Vigil (BBLV) movement in January. An expansion of our Healthcare NOT Warfare campaign, BBLVs take our message to district offices of Congress members. PDA members and others advocate for increased funding for domestic needs. PDA and an expanding partnership have continued these vigils--usually every third Wednesday.
“We have frequently printed the word Democracy. Yet I cannot too often repeat, that it is a word the real gist of which still sleeps, quite unawakened,” wrote Walt Whitman in Democratic Vistas. “It is a great word, whose history, I suppose, remains unwritten, because that history has yet to be enacted.”
It would be easy to make a list of 10 bad things—wars, government shut-down, drone attacks, lack of progress on immigrant rights, lousy health-care reform. But it’s also been a year of extraordinary activism: whistleblowers, DREAMers, Walmart workers, peacemakers, gay rights advocates, garment workers. As the year ends, let’s pay tribute to the good things their efforts have wrought.
It’s been quite a year. And thanks to a very generous offer from our allies at Social Security Works, we can hit the ground running in 2014—because they have offered to match $5,000 in donations, dollar-for-dollar! That means your donation is worth twice as much! Happy New Year! If you would like to double your money by donating to PDA now, please click here.
We promise to make as good use of our limited dollars next year as we did in 2013. It was a very busy year:
Just before Tim Carpenter came back home to Orange County in October for a Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) event in Santa Ana, he confided in an email that his doctors might not clear him to travel.
Though battling terminal illness, Tim Carpenter is still busy moving Congress left. Tim Carpenter is the national director of Progressive Democrats of America (PDA). Founded in 2004 in the aftermath of Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s (D-Ohio) presidential run, the group works what it calls an “inside-outside” strategy—aimed at translating the activism of outside social movements into progressive legislation in Congress.
I was anxious to attend the League of Women Voters Candidate Night because like so many other people in the new 11th District, I knew little about either of the major party candidates. I sat with more than 100 other voters and waited for Kerry Bentivolio to arrive.
With the open seat, Dr. Taj has a more than favorable chance to win. His opponent is Kerry Bentivolio, reindeer rancher, failed business owner and part-time actor who has never held elected office. He has strong ties to libertarian financiers and Tea Party activists but has been ostracized by the Republican Party establishment, having taken large donations from Liberty for All Super PAC, affiliated with Ron Paul.
He may be a Democrat in a largely Republican town, but don't tell that to Canton voters.
Dr. Syed Taj finished fourth out of six candidates in 2008 to win a seat on Canton's Board of Trustees -- the first Democrat elected to the board in recent memory and the only Democrat on the seven-member board.
We also talk economics and tax policy. We can’t just continue to cut our way to prosperity, Taj says. We continue to fire public employees, he says, and that not only impacts quality of life, but it negatively impacts consumer spending.
The sudden resignation of Rep. Thad McCotter led to a tumultuous Republican primary in Michigan's 11th District, but the fallout may also mean a competitive general election for a seat thought until recently to be safely in the GOP column. At least, that's what Syed Taj is counting on.
CWA devised a simple plan for which they were uniquely suited: drag TPP out of the shadows and into the light - one city at a time - using a medium they understand intimately: Daily Newspapers!
Two CWA members - Dave Felice in Denver, CO and Madelyn Elder in Portland, OR have started the ball rolling. We just need to keep up the momentum leading up to a big day of petition deliveries in January.
Step 1 is to send an Op-Ed to your Daily Newspaper.
MoveOn.org Petition - Congress Don't Renew Fast Track
Pulic Citizen Petition - Congress Must Reject Fast Track Authority
MoveOn.org Petition - Stop the Trans Pacific Partnership
CREDO Petition - Stop the Massive Corporate Power Grab
MI-11 Dr. Syed Tajhttp://www.tajforcongress.com
If your Senator(s) and/or Representative is not currently opposed to Fast Track, they may not completely understand all the implications. Nothing sends a stronger message to a Congressional member than a personal visit to a district office by a voter with a written request. Phone calls and emails are incredibly important but nothing gets attention like a personal visit. Our Educate Congress page has information and a sample letter. Print the letter, sign it, deliver it.