For the Week of 7/21/2017
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:
At the close of Oregon’s legislative session on July 7, Democrats had a lot to celebrate. Focusing on people-centric policies and issues like funding public education, protecting civil rights, expanding healthcare access, and more, Oregon Democrats proved that despite Trump and Washington Republicans’ best effort to thwart progress, states can continue to advance policies that improve citizens’ lives. With control of both legislative chambers and the governorship, Oregon exemplifies what’s possible with Democratic leadership. Read more about Oregon Democrats’ accomplishments from the recent session in this week’s Medium post!
This Tuesday New Hampshire voters will go to the polls to elect Democrat Kevin Cavanaugh to the state Senate. Democrats flipped SD-16 from red to blue in 2016, and keeping the seat in the Democratic column is critical to Democrats’ effort to flip the upper legislative chamber in 2018. DLCC has deployed its political and field programs in the district, while DLCC's Legislative Majority PAC is leading independent expenditure efforts and has contributed resources for paid communications. Former Maryland Governor, Martin O’Malley, is campaigning with Kevin Cavanaugh in the runup to Election Day, saying Kevin is “the ideal candidate for these times and for this district.” As GOP legislators work to suppress voting rights in the state, it is crucial elect more Democrats to the New Hampshire state senate.
What motivated women to march on Washington six months ago is inspiring women again today: this time to run for office. In Virginia, many Democratic women and first-time candidates are standing up against Trumpism and the detrimental policies pushed by Virginia Republicans in the statehouse. With the Virginia General Assembly’s recent vote to defund Planned Parenthood in the backdrop, Kelly Tran and Hala Ayala are championing women’s rights and reproductive choice on the campaign trail. Danica Roem, who would be the only openly transgender state legislator in the U.S., is focusing her campaign on improving local infrastructure. A total of 51 Democratic women competed in this year’s Virginia primaries, a record and up from 26 women who filed in 2015. The surge is unprecedented as women move to change the political landscape in Virginia. DLCC is engaged with candidates and campaigns on the ground in Virginia, and have multiple programs up and running. With Democrats running in 88 of 100 districts this November, DLCC is actively supporting these women and our entire slate of talented Democratic candidates for the Virginia House.
Despite the many (legally questionable) roadblocks set up by the North Carolina GOP, the state’s Democratic Governor, Roy Cooper, is joining the fight to flip the Republican-controlled legislature to Democrats with his “Break the Majority” initiative. Gov. Cooper’s reason for creating “Break the Majority” was simple: the laws the Republican legislature have proposed do not represent North Carolina and “embarrass” the state. After the June Supreme Court ruling that condemned North Carolina’s existing district maps as racially gerrymandered and unconstitutional, Gov. Cooper said the decision makes the current legislature itself “unconstitutional.” The governor called for special elections ahead of another budget vote next year, but Republican lawmakers are purposefully dragging their feet to cling to power. With the anticipated redrawing of district lines, Democrats will finally get a chance to run – and win – in these fairer districts. The DLCC commends Gov. Cooper for his dedication to electing state Democrats, and we are excited for him to join our existing efforts to elect more Democrats to the North Carolina Legislature.
Texas Republicans are following in North Carolina’s dubious wake this week as Texas GOPers use the ongoing special session to pass the “bathroom bill.” The anti-LGBT bill would require government facilities, like public schools, to force individuals to use restrooms corresponding with the gender listed on their birth certificate. Texans have vocalized their opposition to the proposed measure, stating that the bill would exacerbate an already discriminatory environment for the LGBTQ community and contribute to the increasing levels of violence against trans individuals. The controversial bill is so heinous that even Republican Speaker of the House Joe Straus vehemently opposes the bill, saying, “I won’t have the suicide of a single Texan on my hands.” Businesses have also spoken out: IBM stated that the legislation will “harm its Texas recruiting efforts” and CEOs of Dallas-based companies said “…This legislation threatens our ability to attract and retain the best talent in Texas.” If this bill passes, it will be in violation of San Antonio’s existing anti-discrimination laws. To top it off, this special session could cost taxpayers more than $1 million dollars: not only is there no major voter support for this measure, but Texans will be forced to foot the bill for Republicans’ discriminatory session.