We continued to take our message to district offices, calling on Congress members to cosponsor or vote against specific legislation. PDA organized an average of 30 letter drops per month in 2012, and also expanded our efforts on Capitol Hill. Understanding that members of Congress depend upon staffers to plow through hundreds of bills, PDA worked to develop relationships with legislative aides responsible for healthcare, trade, labor, and other subject areas.
Undeterred by a tougher legislative climate, PDA took on new issues including efforts to amend the Constitution. We joined the effort to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) through the three-state strategy, working with coalition partners to advance Rep. Tammy Baldwin’s House Resolution. Virginia, Maryland and D.C. PDAers worked with National Organization for Women members and other activists persuading Sen. Ben Cardin to sponsor a Senate version, and gaining cosponsors for both resolutions. PDA also worked with activists supporting efforts to overturn Citizen’s United and corporate personhood, ed by our End Corporate Rule Working Group. Deputy Field Director Andrea Miller led the effort and created a database of contacts in Congressional offices. National Communications Coordinator Mike Hersh and Virginia State Co-Coordinator Stephen Spitz helped with these Hill visits working to protect our social safety net, support jobs legislation, end the big pharma price-fixing scheme, and more.
In Arizona, PDA worked with a large coalition to successfully recall right wing State Senator Russell Pearce. PDA members were instrumental in this fight. We invested two years in this very important campaign, which finally paid off in 2011. Dan O'Neal, PDA Arizona co-coordinator, was our PDA Activist of the Year. His tireless work for PDA locally and nationally helped lead the way with the Pearce Recall, and led the Arizona team pushing through numerous progressive state resolutions, Dan also organized a statewide PDA conference, raised funds at the national level, and helped with logistics at our annual leadership conference in Winslow.
To close out 2011, PDA joined with National Nurses United, the Rainbow-Push Coalition, and The Nation Magazine with an electrifying forum called “Building the Progressive Movement Inside and Outside the Democratic Party.” Progressive Iowans and leading national progressives including Rev. Jesse Jackson; Jean Ross, President of National Nurses United; John Nichols, Political Writer for the Nation, and MSNBC contributor; and National PDA representatives participated. We also distributed thousands of Healthcare NOT Warfare (HNW) signs and stickers at the forum for people to bring that message to the Iowa Caucuses, to get 2012 off to a progressive start.