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06/16/05 Coalition Launches the Progressive Legislative Action Network (PLAN)
Matt Singer on June 16, 2005 - 1:00am
New organization will counter right-wing groups like ALEC by bringing together progressive state legislators throughout America and pushing concrete progressive policiesFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 16, 2005 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. Panel discussions will be held on how to enact concrete progressive policies at the state level. 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.