Thursday, May 25, 2017

People For the American Way Launches The Next Up Victory Fund


Progressives like Keith Ellison, Pramila Jayapal and Jamie Raskin-- as well as other Democrats-- joined the folks at PFAW this week at an event introducing the launch of their newest in a series of progressive bench-building initiatives the Next Up Victory Fun. the purpose of the new program is to elect young progressives to state and local offices.
Next Up will support young progressive candidates running for state and local office across the country by providing endorsements and direct contributions, as well as a platform and greater access to the broader progressive community. PFAW has focused on young people as a major part of its work for more than a decade through its c3 affiliate, PFAW Foundation, which runs Young People For (YP4), a training program for college-age activists and the Young Elected Officials Network. PFAW also has an extensive track record in electoral politics, and this program will be an extension of its state and local work.

In particular, Next Up will target critical races in states where Democrats are poised to regain control of state legislatures—including states where legislatures can impact 2020 redistricting—and in helping candidates win races that will allow them to make credible runs for higher office in years to come.
Crisanta Duran is the Speaker of Colorado's House and a member of the Next Up advisory board. She said that "in order to transform our political system, we need to be working on the local and state levels to elect progressive leaders nationwide. If we want strong, progressive candidates to run for Congress and the presidency in five, ten or fifteen years, we need to make sure they’re getting elected to city councils and the statehouse right now. We’re going to fight for change from the bottom up. This work is critical to building power in the progressive movement and I am proud to be a part of its launch."

Michael Keegan, the PFAW president, made the point that "Republicans have methodically taken complete control of 32 legislatures and control every branch of government in 25 states-- half of the entire country, allowing them to ram through gerrymandering, voter suppression, and attacks on the rights of women, workers, LGBTQ people, and others unchecked... The goal of Next Up is to significantly shift the map within the next few election cycles to retake power in the states, win vital Democratic control over the redistricting process, and nurture a crop of progressive officeholders well positioned to win in their districts, statewide, and in future pursuits of federal office."

Despite all the anti-Trump energy, if we take off our blinders we can see that the landscape in the states is still dismal for progressives. I bet you agree with PFAW that that has to change, not the kind of phony DCCC one-cycle-- elect our sheathed instead of the other shithead-change, but a long-term infrastructure building change that PFAW has been doing for 3 decades. Keegan went on to say that "The Next Up Victory Fund is the next step in our deep, long-term investment in youth leadership development. It’s the continuation and expansion of our former Young Elected Progressives program. Our nonpartisan affiliate People For the American Way Foundation has supported young leaders for over a decade, through Young Elected Officials (YEO) Network and Young People For (YP4). PFAW has more than 30 years of expertise and a proven track record of success in helping strong progressive candidates win tight races. This is going to be one of our most important endeavors of the next several election cycles-- including elections taking place this year, in advance of the all-important 2018 midterms."

If you'd like to contribute to their efforts, you can do that here.

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