RFS feel-good update (6/1): Reasons for hope
(And on the first day of the month, we say together: Rabbit rabbit!)
Hi all -
I hope you had a relaxing long weekend & a meaningful Memorial Day, whatever that means to you — we’ve unofficially made it to summer and the work continues.
I have a confession to make: I’ve had a hard time staying optimistic lately when it comes to the future of democracy.
The U.S. Senate’s failure to pass meaningful voting rights reform combined with GOP state legislatures aggressively passing egregious voter suppression laws (combined with the redistricting process that will likely make it even harder for Democrats to hold the House in 2022) has me — and many many many many others! — deeply concerned and infuriated about what will happen in the next 2-4 years.
This swirling mix of emotions is compounded by the frustration that, as I’ve written to you many times over, this all could have been prevented had Democrats more deeply invested in state and local elections over the last decade+. But that’s not a particularly productive line of thinking, so…
Anyway, as I review the news from the Run for Something community over the last week, I’m reminded that not all hope is lost.
As Texas Democrats showed over the weekend by walking out and denying the GOP the quorum needed to pass the worst voter suppression laws yet, we can fight when our backs are against the wall.
Even while Democratic electeds in Washington continue to disappoint us, there is a new generation of state and local leaders who are pushing, fighting, and making Americans’ lives better.
(I talked about this a little bit with HollywoodLife.com, if you want to dig in more.)
A few updates from the Run for Something community to give you hope, too:
We’re keeping a close eye on this because it’s a huge deal: Rep. Dylan Roberts & Iman Jodeh are imminently close to passing a state-based public health care option out in Colorado.
In Philly, Rep. Rick Krajewski showed what public service looks like:
CO Rep. Yadira Caraveo is leading on legislation that would provide free contraception to folks who may not qualify for Medicaid because of their immigration status. Yadira also wrote about her bill to reduce drug costs in CO, as 1 in 3 Coloradans struggle to afford their prescriptions.
The Dallas City Council - including RFS alum Adam Bazaldua — unanimously raised the minimum wage for city contractors.
In Rhode Island, Rep. Karen Alzate writes about the need to raise taxes on the state’s wealthiest 1%.
More amazing news from Texas Democrats!WE DID IT!! We capped the out-of-pocket cost of insulin in Texas! Our bill is headed to the Governor’s desk for a signature!
James Talarico @jamestalarico3 years ago I almost slipped into a coma and died. I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I paid $684 for my first 30-day supply of insulin. Some pay $1000+ a month. Many die without it. Today I introduced legislation to cap the price of insulin at $50 a month. #txlege https://t.co/NEVrozVJwf
NY Sen. Zellnor Myrie is working on legislation to automatically expunge some criminal records, which would make it easier for folks to find jobs.
ME Sen. Chloe Maxmin’s bill to improve the state’s campaign finance laws has passed out of committee!
DE state legislators Tizzy Lockman and Marie PInkney have introduced police reform bills to reinforce trust and accountability in the criminal justice system.
NY Sens. Andrew Gounardes and Alessandra Biaggi are both leading on a package of bills that overhaul sexual harassment and NDA laws in NY.
MA Rep. Tram Nguyen continues to work on tightening the state’s hate crime laws after a wave of violence against the AAPI community.
Thanks to the leadership of Sen. Robert Peters, Illinois has now nixed a law that punished people for being HIV-positive.
Some 2021 candidate updates…
Read on for how drag prepared Marti Allen-Cummings for their campaign for NYC council. If Marti wins, they’ll be the first non-binary person and first drag artist elected in New York!
Lincoln Restler, NYC council candidate, wants to abolish parking placards, which have been seriously abused by city officials. Into it.
India Walton could make history as the next mayor of Buffalo — learn about her vision for progressive change.
As always, we’re keeping an eye on our bench:
Vanity Fair writes on Jennifer Carroll Foy: “She should be governor — that’s it.” We agree! Jenn also talked with Yahoo about how her experience giving birth is part of her campaign. Lived experience matters!
Just sharing this, from Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta in PA.
This week on the Run for Something podcast: After the 2016 election, Jennifer Kitchen started getting involved -- in spite of a chronic pain disorder that made marching and canvassing hard, she kept showing up and organizing her rural community. She ran in 2019 and lost, but won more votes than any Democrat in her district had before. She almost immediately launched her 2021 campaign, then was diagnosed with cancer. Now in remission, she's running an exponentially stronger campaign than she did the first time around, and she's showing up in rural communities that Democrats have neglected for too long. Listen in wherever you get your shows.
Thank you for making all this possible and staying in the fight, even when it’s hard. We’re so grateful for you.