Dispatch: Giving Thanks & Giving Back

Stateside Dispatch

Welcome to the Stateside Dispatch, Progressive States Network's weekly newsletter! Here is the latest roundup of news and developments worth knowing.

Spotlight On Progressive Leaders

Health Care Leaders

This Thanksgiving, ordinary Americans across the country will come to the holiday dinner table to express gratitude for their blessings in life. For many of these families, the Affordable Care Act signifies just that: time to be with loved ones, opportunity to start a new business, savings they can spend on other necessities, or peace of mind from finally having good, affordable coverage. Such examples include Stacey Lihn in Arizona and Kim Crawley in Virginia who say the ACA saved their children's life, Butch Matthews in Arkansas who says the ACA will save him $13,000, and 22 year-old Daniel McNaughton in Florida who's happy with his $70 per month Gold plan.

Given that the implementation of the ACA tends to be going better in states where elected officials are making a good faith effort, such as Minnesota, the fierce advocacy of progressive state lawmakers on this issue is a bright spot. Thank you for your commitment to the cause of ensuring quality health coverage for all Americans.

Arizona Rep. Mark Cardenas & Florida Sen. Dwight Bullard
"Walk a mile in their shoes" -- that's what Rep. Cardenas had in mind when he took the
SNAP challenge earlier this year. Knowing the power of elected officials to bring special visibility to an issue, this former Iraq War veteran also lived on the streets of Phoenix for a week to experience firsthand what it's like to be homeless -- and to help raise funds for a local nonprofit. In a similar vein, Sen. Bullard took the minimum wage challenge this summer, noting afterwards that "in living the experience for a few days, I understand the necessity of moving Florida forward when it comes to our minimum wage here." If you are a legislator who is interested in participating in multi-state events modeled after these activities, please let us know at


Don't Miss It


Join the Fast For Families!


Fast For Families. From December 1 to 3, thousands of people will join the "Fast For Families" to show their support for immigration reform with citizenship -- a goal strongly and steadfastly backed by the American people, as reaffirmed in new polling. Started on November 12, this national campaign is heading into its third week as immigration reform advocacy leaders press for action in Congress.

Anti-Hunger Programs. Hunger strikes and public fasts as advocacy tools can be powerful because of what they tap into -- including the basic need to survive as well as thrive. A new report out this week, for instance, highlighted the importance of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for millions of Americans struggling to put food on the table. It's a sobering reminder of the impact of basic food assistance cuts on ordinary families, especially as we head into the holidays. On December 10, in light of Pope Francis' recent call to the faithful to pray for an end to world hunger, faith leaders and organizations will be taking part in an International Day of Fasting.

PISA Scores. December 3 is the release date of the results for the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), a test of reading, math and science given every three years to 15-year-old students in more than 65 countries and education systems. As in previous years, the PISA scores are expected to spark a lively debate about the state of public education in America. If you are a legislator interested in learning more about how the PSA Working Group on Public Education is preparing, please let us know.

Pulse Of The Community

Hunger Game Economics. What do the Hunger Games and Harry Potter fans have to do with one of the greatest challenges facing America -- soaring economic inequality? As shown by this AFL-CIO list, "8 Ways Economic Inequality in America Is Like the 'Hunger Games,'" there are compelling parallels between our economy today and the fictional dystopian world portrayed in the "Hunger Games." In an effort to use the popular series to spark a movement, the Harry Potter Alliance is working with other organizations and leaders to encourage action and to raise the visibility of these issues -- including exposing how Hunger Game economics is undermining our goal for a national prosperity that includes all and benefits all. 


Happy Thanksgiving! As always, if you have any feedback or suggestions, please contact us at


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