RFS feel-good update (7/19): What's happening in Texas
RFS alum are always at the center of the action - because they're the ones bold & brave enough to act
Hi all -
Last week, RFS alum were in the center of one of the biggest stories in politics: Texas Democrats fleeing the state to deny the GOP a quorum needed to gavel in their special session, where the governor’s agenda included egregious voter suppression laws, anti-trans legislation, anti-choice bills, and much much more.
Read more about the phone trees, logistics and the secret plans that led to the grand exodus — in particular, I want to flag how the NYT notes that it was younger legislators pushing for the bold courageous behavior.
Rep. John Bucy III, who drove cross-country with his wife, newborn, and 17 month old baby to leave the state, talked with Texas Signal about what that experience was like and why it mattered.
Rep. Erin Zwiener talked with Ms. Magazine about leaving Texas with her 3 year old daughter and balancing her role as a mother and as a legislator.
While in D.C., the delegation is meeting with U.S. senators and members of Congress to beg them to pass voting rights. Rep. James Talarico explains why.
James also went on Fox News and made some waves for calling out the network’s ongoing lies about the election. This is worth watching.
For more details, make sure you’re subscribed to the Run for Something podcast — tomorrow’s episode features conversations with Reps. Zwiener and Talarico about what’s happening in Texas, how they’re feeling about all of this, and what we all can do to help.
If you want to lend a hand, we’re raising money for the incredible RFS alum in the TX state house — Reps. Erin Zwiener, John Bucy III, James Talarico, Jessica Gonzalez, and Jasmine Crockett. Split a donation between them now & help us recruit more folks like them to run.
In RFS alumni & candidate updates:
Jordan Acker won a tough race for the University of Michigan Board of Regents in 2018 and became the first Regent to have graduated from UM in this century — I want to highlight some of the amazing stuff he’s gotten done, because we don’t often notice the impact these kinds of roles have: Committed the campus to being carbon neutral by 2040 and pledged to make the university’s $12 billion endowment carbon neutral; made it easier for folks on campus to unionize; raised the minimum wage for permanent employees to $15/hour; expanded the program offering free tuition for students whose families make under $65k to all three campuses; and overhauled the sexual misconduct reporting (for the first time since 1996!!) in order to prevent retaliation and take anonymous reporting more seriously. These are huge changes that will affect hundreds of thousands of students and their families — and are only possible because of Jordan’s leadership.
Get to know the phenomenal Gabriela Santiago-Romero, candidate for Detroit City Council.
A longtime Cleveland City Councilmember (and pal to Dennis Kucinich) has endorsed Justin Bibb in his campaign against Kucinich for Cleveland Mayor. This is a great letter-to-the-editor explaining why.
Swearing-in ceremonies are the best: Congrats to Clarissa Cervantes on taking her oath of office as the newest member of the Riverside City Council.
Laura Rodriguez-Carbone, candidate for Lakewood City Council in Ohio, argues powerfully on why the council needs to pass an ordinance prohibiting discrimination against the LGBTQIA+ community.
PA Rep. Jennifer O’Mara has been open about sharing her infertility struggles — this is powerful.
Rolling Stone profiled India Walton on her blueprint for the future of progressive politics.
Pima County Gabriella Cazares-Kelly explained how the state’s new voting laws make it harder for her community to show up at the polls.
In Orange County, Santa Ana City Councilmember Jessie Lopez has been leading on updating the area’s climate action plan.
IL Rep. Dagmera Avelar co-sponsored legislation to support undocumented students in higher education.
In MA, Rep. Becca Rausch is leading on legislation to repeal a state law that bans public sector workers from going on strike.
Caitlin Clarkson Pereira reflects on her victory securing the right for candidates in Connecticut to use campaign funds to pay for childcare.
Related scary reading: QAnons fanatics are rebranding their ‘secret work’ and it could work.
Post-2020, Q believers are once again gearing up to run for office and grow their movement, but with two major strategy changes. One is that Q believers are now getting involved in local elections for school boards and city councils and showing up at board meetings to scream about Q-linked topics. The other is that many of these candidates no longer identify as believers in QAnon — or even acknowledge that a movement with that name ever existed. They’re taking their “secret war” to new recruits looking to strike back against a way of life they feel is eroding — without the public acknowledgement that such a war exists. In doing so, they have the potential to expose new audiences to their violent mythology, without having to explain away the baggage that comes with the term “QAnon.” …
That model, of attempting to gain power at the local level using QAnon mythology while simultaneously discarding the QAnon brand itself, is a sustainable path forward for a movement that had seemed to be teetering on the brink of irrelevance. It forges a new, durable way to actually influence policy without relying on cryptic nonsense found on an extremist message board. And it fits in perfectly with the GOP’s emphasis on pushing culture war issues at the expense of actual governing. …
QAnon evangelists — whether identifying with QAnon or not — are taking their “plan” straight to local schools. This time, they’re far less likely to fail.
A few events to put on your calendar:
On July 28th, Run for Something Action Fund and the Democracy Policy Network are hosting Statehouse Futures, a progressive policy & strategy summit. Wehtehr you’re a candidate, an activist, a lurker, a supporter, or just want to learn a little more, join this free virtual event.
On July 29th, we’re partnering with the National Council on Independent Living to host Claim Your Seat, a free call specifically for members of the disabled and neurodiverse community considering running for office. The call will include live captioning and a live ASL interpreter; email us email@example.com with any additional questions about accommodations.
Thank you for making all this possible. Onward & upward!