The New Blue Wave ran into a reality check as the Koch Brothers and other Corporatists laid out how its done in DC. We also include info on the scope of the Blue Wave in DC and a link to our new Roundhouse Advocacy Toolkit, with video training, tools, and more. Also listen in at 8:30AM today to KSFR 101.1 FM, especially the last 3 minutes.
Today, Dec. 8, 8:30-9am on KSFR 101.1 FM, Retake Our Democracy with Land Commissioner-Elect Stephanie Garcia Richards and Emerge NM Executive Director, Ashley Sanderson. It is a solid show with Ashley outlining the incredible number of Emerge women who won races in 2018. It wasn’t just a Blue Wave, it was a seismic shift in the gender balance in our legislature and courts. Also, hear from SGR as she outlines how see feels a women’s perspective will create a different Land Commission. In the last 3 minutes I pay tribute to an often underappreciated hero who is the anchor to Retake Our Democracy.
December 8, (today), 10am: Roundhouse, Room 322. Effective Citizen Advocacy at the Legislature” workshop hosted by the League of Women Voters of New Mexico. The public is invited. Learn tips from legislators and a professional lobbyist on how to interact with legislators, speak at hearings, and advocate for your cause. New Mexico State Capitol Roundhouse, Room 322 (enter from the East side). Estimated length 2 hours. I’ve attended this training three times and it is quite good. I highly recommend participating.
December 9, Sunday, 11am Collected Works at 202 Galisteo. Journey Santa Fe with Senator Peter Wirth and Speaker Brian Egolf. They will lay out their hopes and the challenges they face as we get closer and closer to the Roundhouse Legislative Session opening January 16. We’ll certainly be there and will arrive early to be sure to get a seat.
Roundhouse Advocacy Tool Kit is Taking Form. It is one thing to want to weigh in and support passage of key legislation in the Roundhouse. But it is not an easily understood process. Attending the training put on by the League of Women Voters is certainly a good start on getting grounded, but Retake Our Democracy has been working for weeks to assemble a Roundhouse Tool Kit that will help you really understand how to advocate effectively and efficiently. At its launch today, the Roundhouse Tool Kit includes links to:
- What is Retake Our Democracy, the Roundhouse Advocacy Team and our growing Statewide Roundhouse Rapid Response Network;
- Retake Our Democracy’s 2018-19 Election and Legislative Strategy;
- Retake Our Democracy’s 2019 Roundhouse Advocacy Strategy;
- Our Roundhouse Advocacy’s 2019 Legislative Priorities;
- Our 14-bill MUST Pass Bills for the 2019 Legislative Session, a slate of bills that will be honed as new bills are introduced;
- How to Gather Information on Bills you might want to support;
- How to Be an Effective Volunteer Advocate at the Roundhouse, particularly germane if you plan to go to the Roundhouse, but it will also help you understand how bills are introduced and move through the legislature; and
- A 30-minute video in which 13-year Roundhouse Legislative Analyst, Clifford Rees describes the subtle nuances to influencing legislation and legislators in the Roundhouse.
We will be adding a video in about 10 days on how to use the nmlegis.gov website to extract info on bills, committee hearings, legislators, and more. The video will project the Roundhousse website and click you through all its resources. We will also be adding more resources as we go. Click here to review the Roundhouse Toolkit.
If You Want to Play In Our Sandbox You Have to Learn Our Rules: Corporate Lobbyists Orient the Blue Wave in DC
Make no mistake, as the graphic below makes clear, the midterms resulted in a huge shift in the US Congress with 40 new Democratic Representatives coming to DC, many women, many others people of color, and most far more progressive than the Democratic Leadership that helped organized an orientation for its new members. In the House of Representatives, Democratic members have organized themselves into three main camps: Congressional Progressive Caucus, New Democrat Coalition (Centrist but with some left-leaning members) and the Blue Dog Coalition. Since 2010 there has been a significant shift in the Party with a large reduction in the number of Blue Dogs and a corresonding increase in the number of Progressives. The graphic below depicts where the new members of the 2019 Congress will fall. Note that Xochitl Torres has identified with the Blue Dogs and Deb Haaland with the Progressive Caucus. While we obviously have work to do to push Xochitl left, remember District 2 had been represented by Steve Pearce who would have been on the far right of the GOP version of this chart, so progress has been made. Also Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham was in the New Democratic Coalition, so Dist. 1 has moved left as well. The chart came from a new article by the Daily Kos. The article goes into much more detail in outlining the significance of membership in each group and describes some of the underlying factors in the move to the left. Click here.
When the Blue Wave washed ashore, Democratic and Republican Party leadership organized a bi-partisan greeting party to orient new members to how Congress works. In principle, this is a good idea, new members have much to learn. But this orientation was more like an indoctrination and a not so subtle threat: this is how we play, so fall in line. And, as reported in The Grit Post, Real News for the Working Class, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was not amused. From the Grit Post: “In a pair of tweets Thursday, Ocasio-Cortez stated that while she had heard from four corporate CEOs during the orientation session for new U.S. House members-elect, she hadn’t heard from any labor unions, community stakeholders, or social justice activists, suggesting that the forum was overwhelmingly lacking in speakers that weren’t from a predominantly corporate background.” And the indoctrination was even less subtle than this quote suggests.
According to The Hill: “The forum Ocasio-Cortez attended is dubbed the “Program for Newly Elected Members of Congress,” hosted by the Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics at Harvard University. Other hosting organizations include the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the Congressional Institute, and the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). Yes, that AEI, the one funded by the Koch brothers. In an unbelievable act of condescension the former president of Goldman Sachs who also served as President Trump’s National Economic Council director told attendees that they “don’t know how the game is played.” To which Rashida Tlaib, tweeted: “No Gary, YOU don’t know what’s coming – a revolutionary Congress that puts people over profits,” So Ortiz-Cortez has company.
The Hill reported that other attendees on the orientation panel included CVS Health’s vice president of federal affairs (a typical job title for a lobbyist), in addition to tech company Oracle’s vice president for government affairs — who also did a stint as an aide to Vice President Mike Pence. A former aide to President Obama and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California) was also reportedly on the panel. Click here to review the full Grit Post report.
I can imagine, a moderate Democrat from the Midwest, newly elected to the House might be wowed by suddenly being in the presence of such esteemed corporate leaders, but this is a new day and we are fortunate indeed to have a new wave of progressive leaders who have spine and are not afraid to speak up. I am told that Deb Haaland took New Energy Economy’s banner calling for 100% Renewables to put in her DC office. Much to do. But we can do this.
Paul and Roxanne