Thursday, August 18, 2005

Media Coverage of PLAN's Kickoff

PLAN's kickoff was a smash hit, as more than 300 people attended the event, including 120 lawmakers from 40 states. Here is some of the media coverage out of the event:

Seattle NPR on PLAN (Audio here)

National NPR on PLAN

Associated Press on PLAN

The Nation/Madison Capital Times on PLAN

Seattle Post-Intelligencer on PLAN

Seattle Times on PLAN

Tacoma News Tribune on PLAN

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Great Falls Tribune Profiles PLAN

Take a look at the Great Falls Tribune's front-page profile of PLAN in today's Sunday paper. It does a good job of analyzing what we are trying to do. The Tribune also ran this piece on David Sirota, one of the two co-chairs of PLAN.


~ Progressive Legislative Action Network

Friday, July 15, 2005

Moveon, SEIU, Steelworkers Join PLAN in Seattle

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 7/15/05
Contact: Steve Doherty (406) 544-7181
Contact: David Sirota (406) 459-7470

PLAN ANNOUNCES CO-SPONORS & DETAILS OF SEATTLE KICKOFF EVENT
Conference to be supported by, among others, Moveon.org, SEIU, and the United Steelworkers of America

Helena, MT – The Progressive Legislative Action Network (PLAN) today released the full details of its upcoming kickoff event in Seattle on August 16th entitled Planning Progress 2005: Defining a Positive Progressive Agenda for the States. The event is being co-sponsored by, among others, Moveon.org, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the United Steelworkers, and progressive philanthropists Andy and Deborah Rappaport. The event will feature, among others, Former Vice Presidential nominee and North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, former California House Speaker Willie Brown, Center for American Progress President John Podesta, and state legislators from across America. For more on the event, see the attached detailed agenda and go to www.progressivestates.org.

"The response to PLAN's creation has been nothing short of tremendous," said PLAN co-chairperson Steve Doherty, the former Montana State Senate Minority Leader. "The strong support of grassroots organizations, philanthropists and the progressive community as a whole shows that our side is ready to take the fight to every state legislature in America."

Moveon.org
founder Wes Boyd, who has agreed to be a founding member of PLAN's governing board, said the time is now for progressives to focus not only on Washington, D.C., but also on what's happening outside the Beltway in America's heartland.

"The opportunities to create real and lasting change at the state level are endless," Boyd said. "That's why Moveon.org is proud to be partnering with PLAN: because we understand how important it is to start supporting state legislators who want to aggressively push a progressive agenda that starts making government stand up for individual freedom and America's working families."

In recent weeks, PLAN's co-chairpersons, Sen. Doherty and David Sirota, have been meeting with potential funders, board members and supporters from all over the country, and all different parts of the progressive community.

"The goal is to bring as diverse a coalition together as possible so that our side has a cohesive agenda in the states," Sirota said. "For too long, conservatives have been able to use huge sums of money to push the most radical right-wing policies through state legislatures. PLAN is committed to putting together the necessary resources and necessary coalitions to help progressive legislators stop this unchecked extremism, and start passing legislation that makes state governments work for ordinary citizens, not just monied special interests."

The Progressive Legislative Action Network will have a 501c(3) and 501c(4) component. PLAN's mission is to support progressives at the state level and pass progressive legislation in all 50 of America's state legislatures. By providing coordinated research and strategic advocacy tools to state lawmakers, PLAN will advance policies that protect individual freedom and strengthen America's working families.

-30-

AGENDA

Planning Progress 2005: A conference to launch the Progressive Legislative Action Network (PLAN) and to define a positive progressive agenda for the states

Tuesday, August 16
Bell Harbor Conference Center
Pier 66
Seattle, Washington

12 Noon - Kickoff Luncheon

Welcome by Master of Ceremonies Willie L. Brown, Jr., former Speaker of the California Assembly and Mayor of San Francisco

What is the PLAN? David Sirota and Steve Doherty, Co-Chairpersons

- Introduction of the Progressive Legislative Action Network and its founding members

Speaker: Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer

Keynote Speaker: Senator John Edwards

1:30 - Strategy Session I: Jobs, Wages & Growth: A Progressive Legislative Agenda

- Moderator: John Podesta, Center for American Progress
- Panelist: Andy Grossman, Exec. Dir., Walmart Watch
- Panelist: Maryland Del. Adrienne Jones
- Panelist: Joel Rogers, U. of Wisconsin/Apollo Project

3:00 - Break

3:15 - Strategy Session II: Strategies to Increase Voter Participation
- Moderator: Bernie Horn, Center for Policy Alternatives
- Panelist: New York Rep. Adriano Espaillat
- Panelist: Anthony Thigpenn, SCOPE
- Panelist: TBD

4:45 - Wrap Up

5:00 - Cocktail Reception


~ Progressive Legislative Action Network

Thursday, July 14, 2005

PLAN Featured in In These Times

The national progressive magazine In These Times wrote a nice short profile on PLAN in its new edition. Here it is:

Man with the PLAN

Brian Schweitzer’s election as governor of Montana was preceded by years of work. The efforts included the development of a solid economic agenda, a coordinated communications strategy and the improvement of grassroots organizing. Now, some of the key architects of Schweitzer’s victory are teaming up with other progressives on a new project to solidify gains at the state level.

The Progressive Legislative Action Network (PLAN) will soon launch in Seattle, to coincide with the annual meeting of the National Conference of State Legislatures. The new organization is devoting itself to providing solid public policy research to progressive state legislators. But PLAN is also going to take it one step further by providing assistance to legislators, their staffs and grassroots advocacy organizations to ensure that progressives achieve success at the state level.

Schweitzer, along with former Vice Presidential candidate John Edwards and former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, will be featured speakers at the inaugural event. In the wings, steering the organization, will be some of the same people who helped land Schweitzer in the governor’s office.

"No one argues that we progressives need to be doing a better job of countering right-wing organizations like the American Legislative Exchange Council [ALEC]," the corporate-backed conservative action network for state legislators, says In These Times Senior Editor David Sirota, who worked on Schweitzer’s campaign and is now co-director of PLAN.

Sirota says PLAN will work alongside other progressive organizations but focus more on aggressive advocacy, working side-by-side with legislators and state-based grassroots organizations.

"The key to this," Sirota says, "is getting outside of Washington, D.C., and really starting to use our state leaders as high-profile spokespeople. For too long, progressives have been marginalized by the insulated Beltway establishment that says the only place where action happens is in Washington, D.C. That’s just not true. We have hundreds of incredible state legislators who are talented, driven and progressive—and it is time for their voices to be heard and their work to take center stage."

In addition to Sirota, PLAN’s leadership includes Steve Doherty, a former Montana state senator; Dave McAlpin, a Montana state legislator who directed Montana Democrats’ coordinated campaign in 2004; Joel Barkin, former press secretary to Congressman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.); Adam Schafer, of the National Conference of Environmental Legislators; and Lisa Seitz Gruwell, political director for Andy and Deborah Rappaport.

~ Progressive Legislative Action Network

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Arizona Columnist on PLAN

Former Congressman Sam Coppersmith, now an Arizona newspaper columnist, had a nice mention of PLAN in his latest piece:

"There’s a new think-tank, the Progressive Legislative Action Network, that plans to assist progressive state legislators these kinds of specific and targeted policy prescriptions. PLAN’s co-chair, David Sirota, is an economic populist who writes well, detests generalities, and takes few prisoners. PLAN wants to help provide the policies and politics than can reach these disaffected and persuadable not-yet-firmly-Republicans. Check it out later this year at www.progressivestates.com, because for the next three or four cycles, that’s where the action is."
Exactly.

~ Progressive Legislative Action Network

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Roll Call Profiles PLAN

Roll Call newspaper recently published a big piece on PLAN...check it out:

New Organization to Push Liberal Measures In State Legislatures
June 23, 2005
By Louis Jacobson,
Roll Call Staff

The old saying that if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, might be a fitting motto for a newly organized group called the Progressive Legislative Action Network.

This week, David Sirota, a former Democratic Congressional aide and activist, and Steve Doherty, a former Montana Senate Minority Leader, announced the launch of PLAN, and high-wattage Democrats such as former vice presidential candidate John Edwards, Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer and former California House Speaker Willie Brown, will appear at an upcoming event for the fledgling organization.

The idea is to seed simultaneous policy efforts in the states, providing legislators with model bills that can be passed with minor adjustments essentially anywhere. Organizers hope this strategy will generate momentum and help refine tactics.

If that plan seems familiar, it is: It’s what the staunchly conservative
American Legislative Exchange Council has been doing for the last three decades.

Of course, Sirota and Doherty disagree strongly with the substance of what ALEC does — promoting free-market economics, legal reform, tax cuts and education reforms. But PLAN’s founders say they admire ALEC’s formula. Indeed, the news release’s headline explicitly credits ALEC as the inspiration for PLAN.

In an interview, ALEC Executive Director Duane Parde wished his new competitors well and said that if they have the right business model and “do good policy work, they may be able to make it.” But he added that the past is littered with liberal groups that have tried to mimic ALEC, and none of them, in his view, has become its equal.

The bittersweet admiration for ALEC among Democratic activists is tacit proof of that hypothesis.

Sirota and Doherty say they’re undeterred by the challenge of beating ALEC at its own game. They argue that it’s a perfect time to start organizing and energizing left-of-center state legislators. With the Democratic Party shut out of power in the White House and on Capitol Hill, why not head to the states to create the basis for a future renaissance?

“I think we’re facing a problem, that the Democratic Party apparatus in Washington is dominated by Washington, D.C., elites,” said Sirota, who has relocated to Doherty’s home state of Montana. “Frankly, our side as a whole will never succeed unless we really get out and use our grass-roots people and our state leaders.”

Sirota and Doherty aren’t alone. The idea of pursuing an aggressive outside-the-Beltway strategy is gaining currency among national Democrats.

“I think the most important thing about PLAN is that it’s a further indication that the states are being looked at with real seriousness on the progressive side,” said Kristina Wilfore, executive director of the left-of-center Ballot Initiative Strategy Center.

Bernie Horn, policy director for the Center for Policy Alternatives — a group whose mission overlaps with what PLAN intends to do — agrees that the timing is right for a state-focused approach.

“In 2005 and 2006, it will be essential for progressives to build at the state level,” Horn said. “Just about anything people dream about doing on Capitol Hill is being done in some form in the states. Some day, when progressives get power back on the Hill, they’re going to look for policy that works.”

An Incursion Into Red States

Skeptics, of course, suggest that liberal ideas are unlikely to find much support these days in red states. But that argument ignores some recent policies that won significant crossover support in theoretically unfriendly territory, often by playing off populist sentiments.

In 2004, voters in Florida and Nevada easily approved a hike in the statewide minimum wage even while pulling the lever for President Bush. Measures to combat high prices for prescription drugs have taken off in a number of states, including red ones. And on the local level, Sirota said, many communities have voted to condemn all or part of the USA PATRIOT Act.

Even when the statewide odds look grim, state-based efforts can help a party gain seats incrementally in the Legislature, noted Jeff Wice, a longtime counsel to New York legislative Democrats.

So can PLAN make a difference? Some veterans of the state legislative scene warn against irrational exuberance.

For starters, the world of state legislatures is no longer an undiscovered backwater. Each party now funds its own campaign arm for legislative races, and state lawmakers are wooed by independent groups ranging from ALEC on the right to the National Conference of State Legislatures in the center to CPA on the left, plus a variety of single-issue groups.

“Both parties are putting a lot more into it than they were 10 years ago, and both are better at it,” said William Pound, NCSL’s executive director.
What worries some left-of-center observers is that PLAN may be somewhat redundant. The Center for Policy Alternatives, with a $2 million budget and a staff of 11, already counts 2,000 legislators in its network and offers 100 model bills on its Web site, a variety of which have passed statewide. It also provided training that helped boost the state legislative careers of Reps. Kendrick Meek (D-Fla.), Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.).

While PLAN’s co-founders say their group is setting up a 501(c)(4) arm that will enable it to do political work — something the more think-tanky CPA doesn’t do — some liberal activists suggest privately that the time, effort and money spent on establishing PLAN might have been better spent tilling different soil.

“It troubles me that they may be reinventing the wheel,” said one liberal activist who isn’t connected to either PLAN or CPA. (For the record, Horn has accepted an invitation to moderate a panel discussion at PLAN’s Aug. 16 launch event in Seattle, and both Sirota and Doherty, who has worked extensively with CPA over the years, praise CPA.)

Another obstacle for PLAN could come from Democratic legislators themselves.
While Doherty jokes that “progressives don’t take orders quite as well as conservatives do,” the potential misfit goes beyond that, said Michael Davies, the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee’s executive director.

Davies said that many leaders of chambers with longstanding Democratic majorities are reluctant to accept help from outside groups, figuring that they should be able handle lawmaking by themselves. By contrast, Davies said, many Republican legislative majorities are of relatively recent vintage, and the sudden need to run a legislative chamber created a strong demand among Republicans for the kind of fill-in-the-blank assistance ALEC provides.

At the same time, many states with significant numbers of Democrats in the Legislature, such as California, New York and Illinois, can rely on large, entrenched staffs of aides, noted Thom Little of the bipartisan State Legislative Leaders Foundation. Many Republican majorities, by contrast, operate in smaller states with fewer aides to rely on.

“If someone can hand a legislator a ready set of talking points, that can be a big help,” Little said.

Money Makes the World Go ‘Round

The final two challenges for PLAN are perhaps the most crucial: money and message.

PLAN is entering a world in which ALEC’s budget outpaces CPA’s 3-1, mainly because ALEC’s conservative message resonates strongly with corporations with deep pockets. This revenue base has allowed ALEC, with an annual budget of $6 million and a staff of 30, to assemble top-notch materials and put on first-rate events for lawmakers.

By contrast, liberal groups have historically had to rely on a more diffuse roster of supporters, including foundations, unions, environmental groups and, most recently, wealthy donors. PLAN officials confirmed that venture capitalist Andy Rappaport, a big donor to Democratic 527s during the 2004 election, is pledging support to PLAN, alongside other institutional and individual donors.
Even with such backing, Sirota acknowledges that PLAN faces long-term financial challenges.

“I think it will take a monumental effort, both strategically and in fundraising, to counter ALEC’s business support in an effective way,” he said.

As for message, PLAN has not yet settled on which issues it will push, but observers say it could benefit once again from mimicking ALEC’s model. In recent years, ALEC has studiously avoided taking stances on divisive social issues such as abortion and gay marriage in favor of advancing, in the group’s words, “Jeffersonian principles of ... limited government.”

Can liberals, a famously fractious fraternity, keep up the same degree of unanimity? Stay tuned.

While both Sirota and Doherty emphasize the value of pushing issues with broad appeal, they also openly use the term “progressive,” which suggests to many insiders a spot solidly on the left of the ideological spectrum. Moreover, Sirota doesn’t rule out the possibility that social issues could enter the mix, though they would end up being secondary.

“We are going to have a progressive agenda, and I don’t think we have to make any bones about that,” Doherty said. “Whether that’s to the right of left or some other organizations, we’ll have to figure that out.”

Friday, June 17, 2005

News on PLAN

Lee Newspapers State Bureau Chief Chuck Johnson has an article in the Billings Gazette and Helena Independent Record:

HELENA - A new Helena-based national group, the Progressive Legislative Action Network, or PLAN, will be launched this summer to provide policy, communication and resources to "forward-thinking, progressive state legislators," its leaders said Thursday.

The co-chairmen are former Montana Senate Minority Leader Steve Doherty, D-Great Falls, and David Sirota, a Helena author who will be leaving his position as a fellow at the Center for American Progress to assume his new role.

The organization plans a formal kickoff event on Aug. 16 in Seattle to coincide with the annual meeting of the National Conference of State Legislators. The event will feature Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, former California House Speaker Willie Brown and former vice presidential candidate John Edwards. Panel discussions will be held on how to enact concrete progressive policies at the state level.

Getting things done...

"A number of different people have been talking about it, and a number of people have recognized that the states are where the action is," Doherty said in a phone interview. "That's where the high falutin' policy meets the road, as opposed to Congress."

He said this kind of progressive coordination hasn't taken place around the country, even though conservative lawmakers have had the American Legislative Exchange Council performing that role for 30 years. Some separate progressive groups exist for state lawmakers on environmental issues, some on economic and social justice and some that provide leadership training, Doherty said.

"This is kind of pulling it all together," he said. "How do we put that together so you don't get the situation of the wheel being reinvented 50 times?"

Doherty said he and Sirota are in the process of getting a board of directors assembled so they can raise money, hire a staff and visit with progressive legislators.

About David Sirota:

"With an entrenched majority in Washington, D.C., that ignores the needs of ordinary Americans, the real fight has moved to the states," Sirota said in a press release.

"PLAN will take the lead in crafting innovative policy solutions to improve the lives of Americans across the country. For far too long, right-wing groups have dominated the debate at the state level. With PLAN, that is going to change."

Sirota previously was spokesman for Democrats on the U.S. House Appropriations Committee. He is currently completing a book on the middle-class economic squeeze that will be published by Random House's Crown Publishers in next spring.

He is a contributor to The Nation and a columnist for In These Times, a twice-weekly guest on "The Al Franken Show" and has a Web log, www.davidsirota.com, that features his opinions on politician issues.

More on the PLAN team:

PLAN already has rented office space in Helena and has hired a former Montana Senate aide, Jamey Petersen, to help it figure out a fundraising strategy.

"I think it's important that it be in a state like Montana," said Doherty, a lawyer who served 12 years in the Senate and now is chairman of the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission.

"We want to look at real-life solutions to real-life problems."

Solving real-life problems...good stuff.

~ Progressive Legislative Action Network

Huffington Post on PLAN

David Sirota at the Huffington Post: The PLAN to Take Action at the State Level


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.

Kicking off PLAN in Seattle:

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.


~ Progressive Legislative Action Network

Thursday, June 16, 2005

New West on PLAN

Courtney Lowery in New West: Orchestrated Progressive Movement Moves Up, Moves West

If you want to change public opinion and turn the tide of national politics, you start on the ground floor. The right-leaning American Legislative Exchange Council, which has successfully mobilized state and local politicians on a range of hot-button issues, has made that pretty clear. But ALEC won't be working alone in that realm anymore -- meet the Progressive Legislative Action Network.

"Certainly, they (ALEC) have emphasized the states and they've had success. They're a model, definitely, but we'll be doing things a little differently," said PLAN co-chair and former Montana Senate minority leader Steve Doherty with a chuckle.

By "little differently," Doherty means policy. PLAN aims to be the left-leaning answer to the right-wing ALEC.

Think of PLAN as a training camp, a policy resource and an information hub for progressive leaders across the country. PLAN will do everything from keeping local leaders on message to helping them draft legislation. Simply put, it will serve as the orchestration of a movement that PLAN leaders say needs some steam in the country right now.
Progress is happening out west, in the states:

David Sirota, who will be leaving his position as a fellow for the Center for American Progress, has been minted as Doherty's co-chair. He announced the launch on his blog today, writing "If you know a little about the right-wing's American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), you know that conservatives have built up a very powerful infrastructure to pass their agenda at the state level. PLAN is going to counter that by marshalling progressive forces at the state level to fight back."

It isn't a fluke either that this large network is based in, of all places, Montana. Further proof, I like to believe, that the West is ripe for change, ripe for action and ripe for the kind of notoreity this type of organzation can bring to the region.

"I think it's important that we deal with states that may have been looked upon as "red" states in the past," Doherty said adding that the success of pragmatic and "progressive" leaders in Western states (read: Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer) has helped bring the network to the region. "Unless we start making changes in places like Montana, the Midwestern states and the Rocky Mountain states, progressives are going to be on the losing end of things."

PLAN will officially launch in August with a shindig in Seattle featuring the likes of Willie Brown and John Edwards.


~ Progressive Legislative Action Network

Progressive Legislative Action Network

Coalition Launches the Progressive Legislative Action Network (PLAN)

New organization will counter right-wing groups like ALEC by bringing together progressive state legislators throughout America and pushing concrete progressive policies


Helena, MT – A coalition of present and former state legislators and policy experts today announced the upcoming launch of the Progressive Legislative Action Network (PLAN), a new organization to support forward-thinking, progressive state legislators with the policy, communication, and strategic resources to help them fight the progressive battle at the state level.


The organization will be co-chaired by Steve Doherty, the former Minority Leader of the Montana Senate, and David Sirota, who will be leaving his position as a Fellow at the Center for American Progress to assume his new role at PLAN.


The organization is hosting its kickoff event in Seattle on August 16th to coincide with the annual meeting of the National Conference of State Legislators. The event will feature, among others, former Speaker of the California Assembly Willie Brown, Senator John Edwards, and Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer. Details of the event can be found at www.progressivestates.org. A full agenda will be released in the coming weeks.


“We are pleased that so many important progressive leaders recognize the need for a nationwide commitment to getting things done at the state level,” said Doherty. “These leaders have brought a refreshing perspective to American politics. We will continue their tradition by helping embolden progressive state legislators who are committed to standing up for America's middle class.”


“With an entrenched majority in Washington, D.C. that ignores the needs of ordinary Americans, the real fight has moved to the states,” said Sirota. “PLAN will take the lead in crafting innovative policy solutions to improve the lives of Americans across the country. For too long, right-wing groups have dominated the debate at the state level. With PLAN, that is going to change.”


Steve Doherty currently serves as the Chairman of Montana’s Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Commission. He served in the Montana Senate from 1991 to 2003, including four years as Minority Leader.


Before his tenure as a Fellow at the Center for American Progress, David Sirota was the chief spokesman for Democrats on the U.S. House Appropriations Committee. He is currently completing a book on the middle-class economic squeeze that will be released by Random House's Crown Publishers in the Spring of 2006.


The Progressive Legislative Action Network will have a 501c(3) and 501c(4) component, and will be a national organization committed to working in all 50 states. Its mission is to drive public policy debates and change the political landscape in the United States by focusing on attainable and progressive state level legislation and action. It will do so by providing coordinated research support for a network of state legislators, their staffs and constituencies, in order to equip them with coherent logistical and strategic advocacy tools necessary for advancing key progressive economic and social policies.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

August 16 Seattle Kick-Off

Planning Progress 2005

A conference to launch the Progressive Legislative Action Network (PLAN)
and to define a positive progressive agenda for the states.

Tuesday, August 16
Bell Harbor Conference Center
Pier 66
Seattle, Washington

Noon


Kickoff Luncheon
Welcome by Master of Ceremonies Willie L. Brown, Jr.
Former Speaker of the California Assembly and
Mayor of San Francisco

Keynote Speaker: Senator John Edwards

1:30


Strategy Session I
Jobs, Wages & Growth: A Progressive Legislative Agenda

3:00


Break

3:15


Strategy Session II
Legislative Strategies to Increase Voter Participation

4:45


Wrap Up

5:00


Cocktail Reception with Special Guest to be announced



~ Progressive Legislative Action Network

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

PLAN: Progressive Legislative Action Network

About PLAN

The Progressive Legislative Action Network's mission is to drive public policy debates and change the political landscape in the United States by focusing on attainable and progressive state level actions. It will do so by providing coordinated research support for a network of State legislators, their staff's and constituencies, in order to equip them with coherent logistical and strategic advocacy tools necessary for advancing key progressive economic and social policies.

If states are the "laboratories of democracy," they are also the most important breeding ground for progressive policies that serve the interests of America's middle class. Each aspect of PLAN's name will pursue that goal:

PROGRESSIVE: First and foremost, PLAN is progressive -- we believe in equal opportunity for all citizens and protecting individual liberties. These beliefs have many different models in different states -- but they are all part of the progressive agenda that PLAN will work to support.

LEGISLATIVE: PLAN will focus on state policy. State policymakers and local grassroots membership organizations offer progressives an untapped resource to advance our shared agenda. First and foremost, PLAN will focus its energies on state legislators and legislatures, who often lack resources to effectively fight for the progressive agenda. We will also work with Governors, Secretaries of State, Attorneys General, and other state policymakers to bring progressive ideas to fruition.

ACTION: PLAN is not just about coming up with policies in a vacuum -- it is about making those policies a reality by working with locally-grown advocacy organizations to wage high-profile issue campaigns. The goal is not just good ideas -- it is policy victories.

NETWORK: If "all politics are local," then PLAN must work closely with the local organizations that are the keys to success. That means PLAN will spend considerable resources building coalitions of disparate progressive grassroots organizations at the state level who are critical to turning progressive policies into state law. Why re-invent the wheel by trying to build a whole new grassroots organization, when hundreds of local grassroots organizations already exist? PLAN will tap into this existing infrastructure and help these organizations effect change.

PLAN was founded by a group of current and former state legislators, some top political thinkers, and a few dedicated progressive donors.


~ Progressive Legislative Action Network

Monday, June 13, 2005

PLAN Headquarters

Contact PLAN

Progressive Legislative Action Network

P.O. Box 1127
Helena, Montana 59624

Phone: 1-406-459-7470
Fax: 1-801-340-3146

Email: staff@progressivestates.org

~ Progressive Legislative Action Network