After major victories at the ballot box this week, leading progressive state legislators from every corner of the nation gathered at a national conference Thursday, November 11th to plan how to turn the tide in 2012 by advancing policies that support the 99%.
Two days after voters soundly rejected many high-profile right-wing ballot initiatives, a group of progressive state legislators are meeting in Baltimore, Md., to share success stories and figure out how to move forward in 2012. More than 60 state legislators are gathering for the invite-only leadership retreat hosted by the Progressive States Network, a group providing research, networking, policy and messaging support to progressive lawmakers at the state level.
Beginning almost immediately with the gaveling-in of sessions in January, newly empowered conservatives unleashed a torrent of attacks aimed directly at workers, women, children, immigrants, historically disenfranchised populations, and the very existence of the middle class. Coordinated multi-state efforts like the assault on collective bargaining, extremist restrictions on reproductive rights, broad Arizona-style attacks on immigrants, and attempts to institute new barriers to voting through Voter ID requirements all repeatedly made national news.
From a non-stop assault on the rights of workers, immigrants, and women, to power grabs making it easier for corporations to influence the political process and harder for historically disenfranchised populations to vote, to balancing state budgets on the backs of children and the vulnerable by cutting schools and health care in order to give millionaires and CEOs even bigger tax cuts, the measures that grabbed headlines in the states this year have been almost uniformly bad news for the economic security of the vast majority of Americans. But dig just a little beneath the headlines, and some glimmers of hope are clearly visible.
On February 25, 2011, a bipartisan group of over 270 state legislators representing 44 states voicing their solidarity with the “Wisconsin Fourteen” state senators and urging them to stand firm in their fight.