Feel-good update: Need something to do this week?
First: As we crawl into the second month of this crisis in the states, I hope you’re hanging in there.
Second: This week, we’re doing something crazy. Every night at 8pm ET, we’re hosting an online conversation with some of the best & brightest leaders & activists in our movement.
The exact speaker line-up will be live at 10am each day. A few speakers for the week that we’ve already announced: Pete Buttegieg, Terry McAuliffe, Piper Perabo, Joaquin Castro, Julian Castro, Florida Rep. Anna Eskamani, Jessica Post, Valerie Jarrett, Cecile Richards, Gov. Howard Dean, Christina Reynolds, Ai-Jen Poo, & Randi Weingarten. Trust me, the ones we haven’t announced yet are just as good as that list… these conversations & combinations are going to be fascinating.
After the line-up is live each morning, tickets are likely to sell out. If you want to guarantee a spot at every event, join the host committee now. If you wait until the day-of, we’re asking for a suggested donation of $20, but no promises we won’t hit capacity rather quickly! Let me know if you have questions.
Other things we’re trying…
— Last week, we hosted our first Armchair Chat with Dan Pfeiffer to talk about messaging & communication strategy during this crisis. We maxed out RSVPs, 150+ people joined, and 3000+ people watched the entire hour on Facebook within the first 24 hours; the questions were incredibly insightful and specific.
— We also kicked off our candidate call series, specifically for our endorsed candidates & alumni, in which folks shared how they’re navigating this process. The recording & notes were sent out to folks after, as we continually make our materials available for people with busy lives.
In non-coronavirus news, over the weekend, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed a bunch of bills into law, including: repealing the ultrasound & 24-hour waiting period required before abortions; expanding background checks & other critical gun safety measures; banning housing & employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity; instituting automatic voter registration; ending the suspension of driver’s license for people who have unpaid court debt; increasing the threshold at which a theft is a felony vs a misdemeanor (up to $1000 from $500); and particularly important for this November’s election ending the requirement that voters need an excuse to vote absentee.
TL;DR: Electing Democratic state legislatures yields powerful results — including laying the groundwork to win national elections. (And as Wisconsin showed us last week, Republicans get that: They will go to any end, including dangerous actions that put folks’ lives at risk, all to win a state supreme court seat that may give them a leg-up in redistricting after 2020.)
In RFS candidate & alumni news…
- TN: As soon as session ended, State Sen. Katrina Robinson came up to NYC to work as an ICU nurse in a hospital needing help. This is what leadership looks like.
- TN: State legislative candidates Gabby Salins and Matthew Park explained how they’ve moved campaigns online — Matthew is doing 1:1s over zoom with voters; Gabby’s been doing everything from town halls to yoga classes with her community.
- PA: Brittany Rodas, candidate for PA state house, explains how she’s balancing homeschooling her two kids with campaigning — which, right now, looks like calling families to talk about things like the programs available for loan forgiveness.
- TX: State Rep. John Bucy launched a Neighbor-to-Neighbor Senior Wellness & Food Delivery program in early March, and joined with other local electeds to expand its reach across Austin. His team is coordinating 150+ volunteers to deliver food from local food banks. Meanwhile, State Rep. Jimmy Talarico is donating his entire legislative salary to a local food pantry.
- FL: Rep. Anna Eskamani is working to get the landlords who manage University of Central Florida off-campus housing to offer rent relief for students who had to leave campus but are still stuck paying rent.
- IA: Megan Srinivas, an infection disease doctor who ran for IA state house in 2018 & an RFS alum, powerfully explained in the Des Moines Register how rural America is not ready for this pandemic.
- OK: Oklahoma County Commissioner Carrie Blumert is pushing the governor to issue a shelter-at-home order, saying how while individual municipalities have done so, statewide orders are what’s needed to curb the virus.
CT: State Sen. Will Haskell has a great op-ed on what kind of economic solutions we’ll need to implement on the state level to come back from this.
Finally: We talked with the WSJ about how the coronavirus pandemic can affect folks’ getting on the ballot in the first place and with CBS News about the challenge of fundraising during this pandemic.
This was a long email. Thank you for reading it & being part of this team.