RFS feel-good update(6/28): Making history
More winners, more endorsements, more progress.
Hi all -
First: Updates on last week’s big elections!
One we’re particularly proud of: India Walton won her primary against a longtime incumbent and when she wins in November, will make history as the first woman mayor of Buffalo.
We are so proud to have played an important part of India’s success, along with our partners at Working Families Party. (India even noted our partnership in her victory speech!) If you want to learn more about this amazing leader, we talked with India on the RFS Podcast a few weeks ago. Watch her call her mom to tell her she won and try not to get emotional yourself.
This is a great overview of why India’s victory is so important - it shows how important the intersection of message plus messenger is. (Said another way: Candidate recruitment matters!):
In some ways, Walton epitomizes the winning formula for left-wing candidates. Today’s left is basically a coalition between well-educated liberal professionals and working-class people of color. Often those best able to unite these groups are people of color with radical ideals and working-class ties. … Backlash politics may be gaining strength in America, but that doesn’t mean the left must retreat. Progressives still are far from a majority, but they can build power if they recruit from the communities they aspire to represent.
We’re still waiting on results from many of our NY candidates as absentee ballots will be counted later this week and then ranked-choice voting calculation will begin, but so far, 15 NY candidates (including India) moved forward. That list includes City Council candidates Chi Ossé in Brooklyn (listen to him on the RFS Podcast!), Marjorie Velazquez in the Bronx (who won after losing for the first time in 2017 - resilience rules); Althea Stevens in the Bronx, Jen Gutierrez in Queens/Brooklyn; Sandy Nurse in Brooklyn, Tiffany Cabán in Queens, plus: Gabriella Romero for Albany Common Council, Carolyn Hoffman for Monroe County Legislature, Giselle Martinez for Newburgh City Council, Justan Foster for Rensselaer County Clerk, Rebecca Town for Buffalo City Court Judge, Claire Owens for Dutchess County Legislature, Laura Nordstrom for Kingston Common Council, Genesis Ramos for Orange County Legislature, and Alexander Flood for Rensselaer County Legislature.
Fun stats from this new class:
64% identify as people of color,
36% specifically are women of color,
59% identify as women (cis-gender),
26% identify as LGBTQIA+,
13% identify as LGBTQIA+ people of color,
21% are first-generation Americans
13% identify as members of the disabled community
Some of the many many stars in this new class: Music education teacher Mario Clopton-Zymler is running for Cleveland Heights- University Heights Board of Education, where the school district is 71% Black but the school board only has one Black member. Somerville City Council candidate Charlotte Kelly is running to support protestors and community activists who have been victimized by law enforcement.
There is no off-year, only odd years. We’re running full steam ahead - more to come!
In RFS alumni updates:
If you want to be inspired, watch Del. Danica Roem’s message to LGBTQ+ youth.
GA Sen. Kim Jackson talked with HollywoodLife.com about why it matters for young women like her to run for office: “So many people just have kind of written off Georgia as this kind of country place where white straight men are going to be the people who get to run this country and run the state. My election proved otherwise. Georgia is very capable and willing to elect an out Black queer woman. And while I may be the first, I won’t be the last.”
PA Rep. Rick Krajewski put forth an amendment about the standard of care in prisons - this is a floor speech worth watching.
MN Rep. Cedrick Frazier has been leading negotiations on police reform bills and it seems like they’re close to a deal which includes: Regulating the use of no-knock warrants; Civil asset forfeiture reforms; robust jail safety reform; Creating Office of Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women; Creating a task force for Missing and Murdered African American Women; Community grants for violence prevention, survivor support, and sex trafficking prevention; Fines and fees reform; POST Board early warning system to detect problem officers; Funding increases for public defenders and legal aid; Criminal sexual conduct reform; a Youth Justice Office; Investments in cybersecurity and crime lab capacity; Travis’ Law - Requires 911 operators to refer calls involving mental health to crisis teams; and Matthew’s Law - model policy addressing the use of confidential informants
CO Sen. Yadira Caravero helped lead on legislation that will allow farmworkers the right to join unions and engage in collective bargaining.
Also in CO: Rep. David Ortiz - a former Army helicopter pilot who survived critical injuries after serving in Afghanistan - cosponsored legislation to curb veteran suicides.
Watch MI Rep. Laurie Pohutsky speak in opposition to a new bill that would enforce unconstitutional abortion laws.
Allegheny County Councilwomen Bethany Hallam and Liv Bennett are introducing legislation to raise the minimum wage for county employees to $15 an hour.
In related reading:
The GOP loves to say the quiet part loud: The effort around critical race theory & school board efforts is specifically to engage suburban voters on a personal, localized issue. None of this is an accident.
Relatedly, this NYT column on why the right engages in school board work came upon my inbox this week and I want to call this out for you:
There is a quote from Ralph Reed that I often return to when trying to understand how the right builds political power. “I would rather have a thousand school board members than one president and no school board members,” the former leader of the Christian Coalition said in 1996. School board elections are a great training ground for national activism. They can pull parents, particularly mothers, into politics around intensely emotional issues, building a thriving grass roots and keeping it mobilized.
There are at least 36 QAnon supporters running for Congress, and that there are almost certainly many many more running for local office. Wek now this is happening because they’re running a RFS-like effort in QAnon forums…GhostEzra, a neo-Nazi who is also one of the biggest QAnon influencers online (insightintohate.substack.com/p/qanon-on-tel…), urged his followers to run for office in 2022. Some seemed receptive to the call.
Some event updates:
If you missed it, our Unapologetically Progressive: Proud event is streaming on YouTube. Put it on and be inspired.
This Wednesday at 8pm ET we’re joining Victory Fund to host See Yourself Running: Pride - a special call for LGBTQ+ folks considering a run for office. It’s 100% free - sign up here.
On July 8th, we’re joining Emerge Louisiana to co-host a training for women in the state considering a run for office.
This week on the Run for Something podcast: Some election updates! (Spoiler: A bunch of the folks you've met on the show in past episodes have WON -- get excited.) Then, a conversation with Andrew Grant Houston, aka Ace, candidate for mayor of Seattle. Like many millennials, Ace moved to a city for work a few years ago -- he quickly got engaged in housing activism, an issue near and dear to his heart as an architect. His campaign was one of the first in the race to hit the campaign finance limits and is pushing the debate on issues like police funding, homelessness, and climate change. Listen in, then help him out at www.agh4sea.com
Next week’s update will come on Tuesday because of the holiday - don’t be alarmed if your Monday inbox feels a little lighter!
Thank you for making all this possible. We’re so lucky to do this work with you.