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Progressive States Network Welcomes a New Executive Director!

State Senator Joe Bolkcom, the new, incoming Chairman of the Board of Progressive States Network, welcomed Ann Pratt as the organization's new Executive Director in the following message sent to Progressive States Network's supporters, friends, and partners today:

Dear Friends,

The work of Progressive States Network could not be more needed or important at this time in our history. Working people and the middle class are currently under assault in statehouses across the nation, while states face worsening budget crises and a conservative agenda focused on implementing policies that hurt families and communities.

For the past five years, Progressive States Network has been on the front lines of these battles, helping to build a national movement of advocates, legislators, and activists across multiple issue areas in all fifty states dedicated to protecting the economic security of working families and advancing prosperity for all.

As the new, incoming Chairman of Progressive States Network, I am proud to report that with new leadership of both our Board of Directors and staff, we are ready and prepared for the fights that lie ahead. 

First, Progressive States Network’s Board of Directors is thrilled to welcome Ann Pratt as Progressive States Network’s new Executive Director. Ann brings the kind of vision and experience that will be critical in taking our work to the next level.  Ann was most recently the Executive Director of the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance, and brings to Progressive States Network thirty years of organizing experience working with a diverse cross-section of constituencies including local, state, and national community organizations as well as an extensive history of organizing work with faith leaders, parents, early care and education advocates, and labor. PSN's Board of Directors would like to thank the Hagedorn Foundation for its generous support of our executive search process through the Long Island Center for Nonprofit Leadership.

Second, Progressive States Network is pleased to welcome a new member to our Board, Ellen Bravo. Ellen is the Executive Director of Family Values @ Work Consortium, a former National Director of 9to5, the National Association of Working Women, and a national leader within the women’s and work-life balance movements. In addition to being a valuable ally of Progressive States Network, Ellen also brings a wealth of organizational and strategic expertise to the leadership of PSN.

Progressive States Network’s current good standing in the face of national challenges is due to the hard work of our board and staff under the leadership and vision of our outgoing Board Chairman, Texas Representative Garnet Coleman. Together with our current board and staff, I would like to offer my deep thanks to Rep. Coleman for his hard work and many contributions to our organization and our states. Under his leadership, Progressive States Network has built a strong foundation for advancing progressive state policies by developing relationships with key legislators and allies in every state in the country.

I would also like to recognize the dedicated, hard work of our officers Treasurer Lisa Seitz Gruwell and newly-elected Secretary Cathy Duvall of the Sierra Club, as well as that of our Board members Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema, Colorado Senator Morgan Carroll, Wisconsin Senator Spencer Coggs, Maryland Delegate Tom Hucker, Washington Senator Karen Keiser, Kerry Korpi of AFSCME, Georgia Senator Nan Orrock, former Maine House Speaker Hannah Pingree, and Inga Skippings of SEIU. Their commitment and leadership ensures that PSN is well-prepared for a bright future. 

I come to my new responsibility as Chairman after serving three years on Progressive States Network’s Board. I am an organizer at heart. Thirty years ago, I accepted an organizer position with Older Americans for Elderly Rights, where I worked to organize low and moderate income seniors in Western Illinois around health and income security issues. I’m now serving in my thirteenth year representing the residents of Iowa City in the Iowa Senate. I have also served as Assistant Majority Leader in the Iowa Senate, as a County Supervisor on the Johnson County Board of Supervisors, and as a public servant within a county public health department. 

In my state, as in every state, we are facing historically critical challenges: the increasing concentration of wealth and income disparity, an assault on the rights and job security of workers, opposition to investments in green jobs and 21st century infrastructure, economically destructive attempts to scapegoat immigrants, insecurity in our health care and pension systems, and a virtual corporate takeover of our political system that helps enable all of the above.

As we have seen just in the past few weeks alone, the battlegrounds for these fights – and the opportunities for success in the future – are the states.

We have work to do. The new leaders of Progressive States Network and our financial supporters are ready to take this on.

Please feel free to contact us at staff@progressivestates.org to share your ideas on how Progressive States Network can work with allies to ensure a stronger state progressive movement.

Very best,

Joe Bolkcom
Chairman of the Board
Progressive States Network

Read more about Ann Pratt and Senator Bolkcom here.

Read the press release announcing Progressive States Network's new leadership here.