RFS feel-good update (3/27): "No one in the world holds a grudge like me."
(Also, hello again!)
Hi all -
First, the obvious: Hello again! Two weeks ago, I returned to work after spending maternity leave healing and getting to know baby Jo.
To answer the most common questions: We’re very lucky & grateful to be getting sleep (at least, for now); I think she’s absolutely perfect; and while taking her to daycare is absolutely gut-wrenching, getting back to to work is (I hope!) good for both of us.
Thank you to the entire RFS team for giving me the space and time that every parent should have with the newest member of the family, and especially to Ross and Abe for keeping these regular emails going each week. (I loved keeping up with the work from afar in between washing bottles and changing diapers.)
One of the most surprising things since I’ve been back: The Run for Something team literally doubled in size while I was gone! We’re scaling up in order to meet the urgency of the moment and to do all the work needed to build sustainable power — I am so excited to keep telling the stories of what this team is up to and to hammer home again and again why it matters.
In RFS community updates:
NE Sen. Megan Hunt is not here for the GOP’s bullshit. She’s pledged to filibuster every bill for the rest of the legislative session after the Nebraska Legislature advanced a bill that would ban gender-affirming care for those under 19 ― which could impact her transgender son. This is a must-watch speech on the chamber floor.State Sen. Megan Hunt (D), speaking directly to Republicans, reaffirms vow to filibuster all legislation if #NEleg anti-trans bill passes: "No one in the world holds a grudge like me. And no one in the world cares less about being petty than me. I don't care. I don't like you."
Sen. Hunt joints another Nebraska state senator in using whatever powers they have to stop the GOP; a good reminder that even when we can’t flip a chamber, the right people winning seats can make a huge difference.
Colorado is becoming a sanctuary for trans kids and families looking to protect them - Rep. Brianna Titone, the state’s first openly trans lawmaker, is leading on legislation to shield providers of gender-affirming care and their patients from being charged by laws in other states.
When Emily Kinkead asked a former PA state lawmaker for advice on running for office, she was told: “Don’t run, you’re so smart. There’s so many other things you can do.” Thank goodness she didn’t listen!
AZ Rep. Analise Ortiz urges her colleagues to focus on what actually matters: “When I was knocking on doors to win my election to the Arizona House of Representatives, I heard one consistent complaint from voters: “Nothing ever changes.” It’s a complaint I understood well. In fact, it’s what drove me to run for office for the first time.”
CA Sen. Aisha Wahab is introducing legislation to make caste discrimination illegal - if it passes, CA will be the first state to do so.
Iowa House Dems, led by Rep. Lindsay James, are pushing to make birth control available without a prescription.
Obsessed with this: TX Rep. Salman Bhojani is running “Selfies with Salman” - an effort to take a selfie with all 180 of his colleagues as he gets to know them and build relationships across the aisle. It’s part of his broader strategy to be able to get things done for his district and his community, as one of the first Muslims and first South Asians to serve in the TX state leg.
CO Sen. Dylan Roberts led on legislation to require universities to print the suicide prevention hotline information on the back of student ID cards - a small but potentially lifesaving way to remind students there is help for them.
RFS alum & 31 year old longshoreman Arthur Valenzuela Jr. officially won a seat on the Oxnard City Council in California. Congrats, councilmember-elect!
FL Rep (and Minority Leader) Fentrice Driskell has been leading for years on legislation to protect historic African-American cemeteries; it’s finally passed out of subcommittee.
In Montana, Rep. Alice Buckley is leading on a bipartisan bill to expand eligibility for a pot of money that helps pay for affordable childcare.
One of the structural problems keeping young people out of elected office is finances — we don’t pay legislators enough; often young people can barely afford to live in the districts they represent. In Kansas, lawmakers make $88.66 a day - a system that “prioritizes independently wealthy, retired candidates over younger or low-income Kansans. Those who entered the Legislature spoke of working extreme hours in several jobs to make ends meet and financial instability as a constant threat to their ability to stay in office.” Multiple RFS alum in the chambers are working to help fix this.
PA Sen. Nikil Saval is leading on policies to increase housing stability, including removing inaccurate eviction records, creating a database to help folks find affordable housing, and prohibiting housing discrimination based on an arrest or conviction record.
One great thing you can do today to help build power: Make a donation to 20+ amazing young women running for local office.
In some less uplifting news, but a constant reminder of why this matters:
Attempts to ban books more than doubled in 2022 — with a vast majority of those efforts focused on schools and school libraries. The opportunity to fight back starts now: There are 9000+ school districts across 35 states holding school board elections in 2023; more than half of those states hold their elections before November. RFS candidate Amelia McMillan is running for one of these races in PA.
Democracy will not end because of an unruly mob or an arrest — it’ll end because a county board of supervisors in a key state decides they don’t like the outcome of an election and decide to metaphorically blow the whole thing up. This is not hyperbole: It’s literally what’s still happening in one county in Arizona.
There is no office too small to matter: The elected officials on the Sarasota Hospital Board have brought their far-right policies to hospital administration.
Save the date: Party for Something is happening on June 21st in Washington, D.C. — the keynote speaker will be announced very soon, and once they are, tickets will go fast, so get yours now.
Coming this week: More endorsements!! Keep an eye on your inbox and our social media for the incredible candidates you’ll want to get to know before everyone else.
Thank you again for being a part of this team. I’m still getting used to being a ~working mom~ but I am so glad and lucky that this is the work I do, and it’s only possible because of you.
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