For the Week of 1/19/2018
Democrats in statehouses across the country are fighting to move America forward. In case you missed it, here are some statehouse highlights from this week:
After Democratic Senator-elect Patty Schachtner flipped Wisconsin Senate District 10 this past Tuesday, Republican Governor Scott Walker said, “Senate District 10 special election win by a Democrat is a wakeup call for Republicans in Wisconsin.” While Gov. Walker apparently missed the news of the other 33 contested races that have flipped districts from red to blue since Trump's inauguration, we’re glad he’s caught up: Republicans are on notice. Wisconsin voters chose Patty Schachtner, a Democrat with on-the-ground knowledge of health care, education, and food security issues, and relegated a double-digit 2016 Republican win to that of yesteryear. After an impressive Democratic victory in a district some thought of as reliably Republican, voters throughout Wisconsin will get their chance to turn the state Senate blue in a matter of months – but we won’t blame them if they can hardly wait.
One pattern breaks and another continues with a Democratic victory in Wisconsin SD-10. Patty Schachtner will be the first Democratic state Senator to represent the district in 17 years -- but she is the 34th Democrat to take a previously Republican seat in a state legislature nationwide since Donald Trump was sworn in last year. Schachtner’s district hwent for Trump in 2016, voting for him by a 17-point margin, and the district’s drastic swing to the left is worrying leaders of the Grand Ol’ Party. Paul Ryan says Republicans “should pay attention to it” – Gov. Scott Walker, who will be on the ballot later this year, called the decision nothing less than a “wake up call.” But what’s really got them shaking in their boots may be that outspending Democrats with right-wing dark money could not impede fired-up local progressives. The DLCC continues to support legislative races in Wisconsin and throughout the country with change-making analytical and operational tools, and is prepared to outmatch and out-organize a scared – and desperate – Right.
As the federal government teeters on the brink of shutdown, Maryland state Democrats have a message for Trump and D.C. Republicans: “Enough is Enough.” On Wednesday, Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. and DLCC Board member and House Speaker Michael E. Busch sent a letter to Republican congressional leaders scourging them for their bad tax bill which “blows a $1.4 trillion hole in the federal budget, does uncalculated harm to state and local revenue, destabilizes our health insurance marketplace and drives up costs for consumers, and raises taxes on hundreds of thousands of Marylanders,” the joint letter reads. Earlier this week Maryland Democrats unveiled their own tax package to alleviate some of the damages inflicted on Marylanders by federal Republicans. The DLCC is proud to stand with our board member, Sen. Ananich, and we commend him and all Maryland Democrats on their work to insulate their state from extreme and detrimental policies coming out of Republicans’ Washington.
This week Delaware Democrats scored multiple wins for working families. A legislative panel struck down legislation that would have created right-to-work “pockets” within Sussex County, furthering Republican attacks on unions, while also advancing a proposal to establish paid family leave for state employees. The main sponsor of the paid leave bill, Rep. Debra Heffernan (D), noted that enacting paid leave legislation giving parents 12 weeks off following the birth of a child would help further the state’s commitment to early childhood education and development, help to strengthen the family bond, while helping employers retain employees by giving them necessary time off. DLCC Board member and House Majority Leader Val Longhurst also noted that paid leave would help alleviate some of the financial stress that comes along with having a child by allowing families. Delaware would only be the fifth state to have some sort of paid leave, but with more Democrats – and Democratic women – holding legislative office, the DLCC believes we can advance these much-needed policies nationwide.
Thanks to Democratic women, Virginia women have reached a high mark in the Virginia General Assembly. In the November election, 11 Democratic women flipped seats from red to blue – ousting 11 Republican men in the process. The DLCC featured five of these history-making women on our Spotlight Races page, including Del. Elizabeth Guzman (who became one of the first Latinas to serve in the chamber), Del. Kathy Tran (who became one of the first Asian-American women to serve in the chamber), Del. Danica Roem (who became the only openly transgender state legislator in the nation), Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy, and Del. Karrie Delaney. As more Democratic women step up to run across the nation, the DLCC looks forward to continuing our partnerships with organizations like EMILY’s List, Run For Something, and Emerge America, and supporting strong Democratic women in their quest to protect our values and insulate their communities from the Trump agenda.
- Time Magazine Cover Features DLCC Spotlight Candidates [DLCC Press Release]
- Wisconsin Democrats Flip 34th Seat From Red To Blue [DLCC Press Release]
- A Year Ago, They Marched. Now a Record Number of Women Are Running for Office [TIME]
"An active community leader, Senator-elect Schachtner shared her lifelong connection to the district and connected with her future constituents about the issues they care about, from investing more in education to ensuring rural areas have access to quality health care and helping businesses grow to boost the local economy."
DLCC Executive Director Jessica Post commented on Sen.-elect Patty Schachtner’s impressive victory in Tuesday’s special election for Wisconsin Senate District 10. Post underscored that, while Trump’s terrible approval rating has been motivating Democrats to turn up at the polls, the DLCC and state Democrats are recruiting five-star candidates who are in touch with the needs of their district and put local issues first.
1/23/18: ELECTION DAY - Pennsylvania HD-35 Special Election
2/6/18: ELECTION DAY - Missouri HD-39, HD-97, HD-129, HD-144 Special Elections
2/12/18: ELECTION DAY - Minnesota SD-54, HD-23B Special Elections
2/13/18: ELECTION DAY - Florida HD-72 Special Election