How many times do we have to see ultra-right-wing politicians pass the most extreme legislation at the state level before we stand up and start doing something about it? GOP Governors revoke collective bargaining rights for workers, GOP legislators prevent communities from improving wages, and lunatic state officials are allowed to go on witchhunts against women who have had legal abortions. When are we really, in a serious, coordinated, national fashion going to stand up and say enough is enough?
That was the question brought to me earlier this year by a coalition of legislators, political operatives and donors - and we came up with an answer: we're going to stand up right now. Enter the Progressive Legislative Action Network (PLAN) - our way to fight back at the state level and make the progressive vision a reality.
PLAN is going to be progressives' version of the American Legislative Exchange Council - the fringe-right-wing group that has been behind many of these extremist state policies. We are going to support progressive legislators and run winning issue campaigns to make progressive policies a reality in states all over America.
Our kickoff event is in Seattle on August 16th, where it will coincide with the bigger meeting of the National Conference of State Legislatures. North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, and former California Speaker Willie Brown are among those slated to speak - and we will be having a series of panel discussions on how to implement concrete progressive policies. I am the co-director of PLAN along with former Montana Senate Minority Leader Steve Doherty - and we will also be giving a rundown of PLAN's overall strategy at the event.
Take a look at our event website, and this story about PLAN at New West magazine. Consider making the trek out to the event and, in the near future, contributing to our cause and helping us build our state networks.
Progressives for too long have focused only on the national debate in Washington, D.C. which is getting more and more out of touch with reality. The time is now for us to use the power we already have at the state level to start moving our vision forward. We can find success in the reddest of red states - and we can broaden that success throughout America if we make the commitment to work together as a movement. That is what PLAN is all about, and I hope you will join us in the fight.