Pramila Jayapal Did Everything We Wanted-- And Then Some

Last year Blue America introduced you to Pramila Jayapal. We were the first group outside of her home state to endorse her in 2016. And this year-- based solely on what she's done since being elected-- she's the first freshman we're endorsed for 2018. We should all be very proud that we helped Pramila get her message out to the voters in Seattle, who elected her overwhelmingly-- 56% to 38%. She has delivered everything we hoped she would. If you look at ProgressivePunch, you'll see she's the only member of Congress with a lifetime score of 100%. Let that sink in for a moment.

And we didn't go to bat for Pramila just because we know she would vote right. What we saw in her-- and she even more now-- is a LEADER. Since getting to DC, she's been a vocal advocate and a fighter for working families in Washington and across the country. She's held rallies and forums on the topics of healthcare, immigration and women’s rights; she's been in the forefront of the battle for affordable college and has swiftly and fiercely opposed any anti-immigrant legislation that has been introduced by the Trump Regime.

She's been at the center of the resistance against Trump: marching for fairer treatment of women in the Women’s March on Washington, holding the second largest rally in the country to save health care, and taking on the Trump administration over the detentions of immigrants at the Seattle airport during the fallout of the initial executive order that halted U.S. travel for members of certain Muslim-majority nations.

In addition to her constituent engagement and advocacy, Pramila has already co-sponsored approximately 50 pieces of legislation in her first three months in office on subjects ranging from presidential transparency to immigration rights and deportation relief. She has also introduced three bills aimed at ensuring justice and accessibility for all. The first was introduced in conjunction with Senator Kamala Harris to secure access to legal counsel for immigrants who have been detained. The second, moves to end a program in which state and local law enforcement were made to enforce federal immigration law. The third proposed measure seeks to lower the astronomical costs of prescription medications, protecting access to lifesaving drugs for those who need it most.

As these bills and legislative measures move forward, Pramila continues to dedicate her time to fighting assaults on our moral values and defending our nation’s most vulnerable.

As a freshman member of Congress, Pramila has made it her mission to mount the strongest possible resistance against Trump and his administration. She serves as the vice ranking member of the House Budget Committee, the senior whip of the House Democratic Caucus, the vice chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and a co-chair of the Women’s Working Group on Immigration Reform. What she's not busy doing is fundraising. But her aggressive efforts on behalf of working families and immigrants had put a target on her back in the eyes of corporate heavy-weights. Republicans don't win in Seattle, but the same forces that back Republicans are trying to recruit a corporate-friendly, conservaDem to run against her. Blue America wants to show her-- and her opponents-- that we love what she's been doing and that we still have her back.

In addition to her congressional leadership roles, she is a member of the House Judiciary Committee, the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security and the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus. Much of Pramila’s policy work is centered on immigration, environment, equality, education and health care access. She was a forerunning opponent of Trumpcare and is actively involved in seeking clarity regarding the Trump Administration’s relationship with Russia.

Let's help make sure she can keep devoting all her time to what's important for the country and for her constituents.



History Will Remember The Voices of Resistance

As you know, millions of ordinary Americans in every part of this country-- red states, blue states-- are resisting the authoritarian, even fascist, impulses of the new Trump-Bannon-Pence regime. And, so far, that resistance has scored some remarkable victories-- above and beyond February 12th’s planned event in Chicago where hundreds will show up to “moon Trump Tower” at 4pm-- Operation "Kiss Our Asses, Release Your Taxes."

Ordinary people-- even more than the media or elected officials-- forced the Trump Regime to reverse the announced federal hiring freeze for the Veterans Administration. In the last few days several federal judges halted the Trump/Bannon unconstitutional travel ban aimed at Muslims. The massive airport protests last weekend resulted in several Trump cabinet members pointedly overriding #PresidentBannon's horrifying scheme to deport legitimate American residents, including Green Card holders and even Iraqis who fought alongside American soldiers.

An effective boycott coupled with widespread protests led to Uber's CEO dropping out of a Trump advisory council and pledging $3 million and immigration lawyers for its drivers (after 200,000 Uber users dropped the app) and Lyft responded by giving a million dollars to the American Civil Liberties Union to help fight the illegal Trump/Bannon immigration ban. The Resistance made a massive difference to the ACLU, which normally raises 3-4 million dollars a year and took in $24 million in just one weekend of protests!

Meanwhile Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act) has become more popular and respected than ever before, enrollment ads are airing despite Trump's initial orders to take them down and despite ugly Republican efforts, Obamacare had enrolled 9.2 million people before this year's application deadline.

The Health and Human Services, EPA, US Department of Agriculture gag orders were lifted due to tremendous protests and pressure from the public and from members of Congress standing up to Trumpist bullying.

So far, 800,000 scientists have signed up for a march in support of science and against the dangerous “climate change” denial-ism led by crackpots like Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Trump himself. Renewable energy is growing despite Trump-- and is likely to continue to do so.

Reports have been flooding in from everywhere that more and more people of different career/religious/economic/ethnic/gender backgrounds are considering running for political office than ever before. And Reproductive rights activists are pushing for protection at state level.

Trump's approval ratings are the lowest of any president in history at this point in his term. An unprecedented 40% of Americans would already like to see him impeached! And efforts are underway! Governors, state attorney generals, mayors and local officials are standing up to Trump and his toxic agenda and authoritarian policies. Please consider showing the real leaders in Congress that we have their back when they do the right thing and RESIST.

This week, two reporters from entertainment-oriented magazines called to ask me about the effectiveness of popular culture protests against Trump and his policies. Expectations are building for The Grammy Awards shows. More and more artists have been  writing and recording anti-Trump songs. High profile athletic teams-- and many others-- are joining the effort to boycott Trump hotels and his other businesses. Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus dropped Ivanka Trump's fashion collection, citing the brand's poor performance. And this weekend, theaters are absolutely packed with viewers of the just-released and  extraordinary documentary on James Baldwin, the must see film, I Am Not Your Negro, which is the latest asking us to face the racism that continues to plague the heart of America.

Yes, these are dark times and, don't let anyone tell you that the threats aren't colossal. While more resistance and creative forward-moving strategies will be needed, sometimes we have to celebrate our wins. We have to stay vigilant, and seriously take care of ourselves and each other. Activist burnout is a real thing. This is a marathon, not a sprint.

Give thanks for all the others-- known and unknown-- who are shoulder to shoulder with us in this fight. This weekend Blue America has put up a new ActBlue page dedicated to members of the Senate and the House who have been most forceful and effective in their resistance to Trumpism— from Luis Gutierrez, who started the move to boycott the inauguration, something that almost 80 Members of Congress did—- to Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Ted Lieu and Jerry Nadler challenging Trump's and the GOP's attempts to push their disastrous agendas in Congress. If we've missed anyone, please let us know.



You’re Invited To Tonight's Free Online Progressive Summit


Please consider yourselves invited to join us and Sister Giant as Marianne Williamson hosts a free online progressive summit over the next three weeks. You’ll be introduced to some of the finest candidates running from all over the country. Together, we can help build a more progressive congress that will help keep Blue Dogs or New Dem alliances with the GOP from stalling important legislation and real change from happening.

As we’ve seen in the past few months, politics can be a dirty business. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. The idea for the Progressive Summit was born out of a desire to, as Marianne puts it, “make Congress reflect the better angels of our nature.” Does that sound like a good idea to you? Here’s what else Marianne has to say:

With the Presidential election in full swing, we can be tempted to minimize the importance of our Congressional elections. But they're equally important because Congress is a co-equal branch of the government. We need a political revolution in Congress as much as we need it in the White House!

I hope you'll join us for a Free Online Progressive Summit, co-hosted by SISTER GIANT and BLUE AMERICA, begins tonight, February 23 at 6pm PT | 9pm ET. The summit will take place on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings for the next three weeks. Each evening viewers will be introduced to three progressive Congressional candidates from around the country. The interviews will be archived so you can begin watching at any time.

Please go to SisterGiant.com to register for the Free Summit, and view a continuing list of candidates participating. After you register, you will receive a link to the summit via email.

I hope you'll join in, and let others know as well. If we really want a political revolution, we can't just kinda sorta do it!

All my best,

Marianne



What Does A Win Look Like? Taste Like? Smell Like?

Tuesday, Wisconsin's most progressive elected leader, state Sen. Chris Larson-- the guy who led the Democratic senators out of the state rather than buckle under to Scott Walker's Koch-ordered tyranny-- came in first in a hard-fought, 4-way race for the second most important office in the state, Milwaukee County Executive. It's an office that can lead to the governor's mansion, as it did for Walker. The current County Executive, Chris Abele, the son of a billionaire, has worked with the Republicans to disadvantage teachers and the school system and to force struggling homeowners to bear the burden of $80 million in public financing to pay for the new Bucks arena. 

When the Shepherd Express endorsed Larson, the editorial board noted that the general election on April 5th comes down to a contest between "Larson’s solid record of public service vs. a ton of Abele’s family’s money." Abele, they wrote, "has consistently cut backroom deals on behalf of private special interest groups and on behalf of his fellow millionaire cronies at the expense of the average Milwaukee County taxpayers [and has] worked hard to impress and win favor from his mentor, Gov. Scott Walker... Since taking office in 2011, Abele has consistently worked to strip our local democratic institutions of their power and consolidate power in his own office, shutting out the public from debates and decisions."

Abele, who vetoed a referendum on campaign finance reform, spent $2,000,000 in the primary to Chris Larson's $100,000. He's already said he's willing to throw $5,000,000 of his father's money-- or even more if he needs to-- into the April run-off against Larson's grassroots campaign. Blue America endorsed Chris Larson and we'd like to ask you to consider making a contribution to his campaign here.

We also want to remind everyone to vote in Alan Grayson's GraysonPrimary.com to cast a vote directing him whether he should use his super-delegate vote for Bernie or Hillary. Grayson:

”Until yesterday, 'superdelegates' were simply puppets of the unDemocratic establishment and their determination to snatch candidate selection away from our voters. Well, that’s no longer true. I’m a superdelegate. And I’m injecting a full dose of democracy into the superdelegate process, by letting actual Democratic voters influence who should win my superdelegate vote... In just 24 hours, more people have voted at GraysonPrimary.com than for Ted Cruz, Donald Trump or Marco Rubio in the Iowa Caucus. (Or Jeb Bush, but that isn’t saying much.) Our poll already has drawn well over 70,000 votes, which is . . . incredible. Democrats are sick of feckless loser party bosses dictating to us who carries our banner in November. Who do they think they are? That’s not their decision. It’s ours... It’s refreshing to see unbridled democracy in action. True power in the hands of the people is multiplying as we speak, and it is electrifying.”


And that brings us to something Blue America is very excited to be doing with Marianne Williamson and Sister Giant, a free online Progressive Summit, which starts Tuesday, February 23. You'll have a chance to meet many of the candidates we have endorsed and some we are thinking about endorsing. The purpose, though, is to emphasize the importance of congressional races in a year when the media talks almost exclusively about the presidential race. No matter who wins that race-- hopefully Bernie or Hillary-- Congress will function better with more progressives and fewer conservatives.

That what the Progressive Summit, which will last all week, is all about. Among the incumbents taking part are Alan Grayson (D-FL), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Ted Lieu (D-CA) and among the candidates, you will get to meet Tim Canova, the intrepid Florida progressive taking on Debbie Wasserman Schultz, DuWayne Gregory, who is taking on Peter King on Long Island, Alex Law, Nanette Barragan, Pramila Jayapal, Eric Kingson, Bao Nguyen and plenty of others. See you Tuesday? Register here at SisterGiant.com



Can Anyone Fill Grayson's And Edwards' Shoes In The House? Meet Pramila Jayapal

Two of our very first Blue America candidates, a decade ago, were Alan Grayson and Donna Edwards, who have been inspirations from the moment they ran, won and started pushing their strong progressive agendas in the House. These are two admirable people who have made a substantive difference in a screwed up, largely dysfunctional Congress. Grayson, in fact, passed more legislation than any other member of Congress, even with the House under GOP control! Now both Donna Edwards and Alan Grayson are leaving the House and running for the Senate. (You can contribute to either or both of their Senate campaigns here on the Blue America Senate page.)

But our concern this week is about who will replace their powerful, brilliant leadership in the House. And we think we found her: Washington state Senator Pramila Jayapal.

She's running for the seat her political ally, Jim McDermott, is retiring from in Seattle. It's a deep blue district and the winner of the Democratic primary is virtually guaranteed the congressional seat. (Obama won the district with 80% in 2008 and 79% in 2012.)


Senator Jayapal has been a lot like Grayson, in fact, strongly progressive and reform-minded and known as a serious legislator who works across the aisle to pass sensible legislation, even in a state Senate controlled by the GOP. "I'm running for Congress," she told us Friday, "because our system is rigged for corporations and the wealthy, but we can fight back. The time has come to tackle this inequality: we need to raise the minimum wage, expand Social Security and Medicare, and ensure debt-free college for young people across America."

And if you think that sounds familiar... yes, she has officially endorsed Sanders. "The vision has to be to fundamentally change the system." And when it come to the divisive issue of immigration her thinking is values-based and she pointed out that "we're stronger because of our diversity; being American is defined by common beliefs, not common blood; by faith in each other, not in any one faith-- that are at stake in this election. The choice before us is whether to continue to be a pluralistic society, where new ideas and varying perspective allow our cultural, economic and civic life to prosper as it has for 250 years-- or to cower and retreat.  

America is strong because we continually rise above the hate-- not always in time, not always gracefully, and we will certainly continue to be tested. But still, we recognize that one of the truly defining factors of America-- different than any other country in the world-- is that we are a nation that has built its identity on the contribution of immigrants from all over the world, many who have escaped the worst terrors in order to gain freedom.

This week John Nichols  pointed out for readers of The Nation that "Jayapal came to prominence more than a decade ago, when she founded the group Hate Free Zone to battle intolerance in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. 'When September 11 happened, I just thought to myself that everything is going to change for people who look like me,' said Jayapal, an immigrant from India. The group evolved into OneAmerica, an activist organization that focuses on advancing 'the fundamental principles of democracy and justice at the local, state, and national levels by building power within immigrant commu­nities in collaboration with key allies.' ... She won’t be pulling any punches, as was obvious at an announcement event where she ripped into 'people like Donald Trump [who] are whipping up hate and fear across the country, resulting in a rise of anti-Muslim violence.' [She] is amplifying messages that have been taken national by Sanders... 'The vision has to be to fundamentally change the system,' says Jayapal, who argues that 'corporations and special interests have their voice in Congress, and they have too many members scared of their power. What Congress needs is a progressive voice who is unafraid to take on these powerful interests-- who is willing to fight for all Americans, not just the wealthiest 1 percent.'"

We're proud of all the Blue America candidates and we feel certain that Pramila Jayapal will stand strong like our favorite incumbents from Grayson, Edwards and McDermott, who are leaving, to Barbara Lee, Raul Grijalva, Mark Pocan, and Ted Lieu, who will need courageous allies. Please consider contributing to Pramila’s campaign here on the Blue America main page.




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