tv Panel on Working Against Trump Admin. Policies CSPAN October 12, 2017 12:36pm-1:49pm EDT
hair and i take this photo and his hair looks nice, no one will ever believe that this wasn't set up. so i just took the photo and wound up running two full pages in life" magazine and over the next 20 years or so, it was in the best of "life" and classic moments in "life" and in 2011, it was selected in the issue one of the best photos in "life" magazine for the past 75 years. >> "american history tv." all weekend, every weekend only on c-span3. >> coming up next on c-span3, democratic legislators from around the country discuss ways to counter the trump administration by enacting progressive policies at the state and local level. this discussion is hosted by the state innovation exchange. >> good morning.
if you're awake clap three times. surprising. want to get everybody to get a seat as soon as possible. want to get things starred on this lovely morning here at the fourth annual conference. look for a round of applause for six. so happy to see you all here. and reminded of my time the very first six conference and the -- at the rate this organization has grown. our growth is due only to you and your pregnancy. your commitment to the movement, to moving a progressive agenda, your commitment to progressive ideas and commitment to progressive vision. so give yourselves a round of applause. we all know that after last year's election, a lot of people were left wondering which way to
go. a lot of us didn't know which way was up. a lot of us felt that everything had been lost. and a lot of people wrote off the progressive movement. a lot of people thought there was no way we could come back. if you look around this country and see some of the special state legislative elections people are on our side. and the people that are on our side because the ideas are on our side and the riggs is on our side. the energy is with us. and if we keep this movement, if we keep this going forward, we will see a progressive resurgence like never before. as we go into the fourth annual six conference, it's hard to believe it's the fourth annual six conference. as a former legislator, someone who has participated in every conference and now is a member of the six staff. it's exciting to see the growth going from 14 to over 30 staff members. and i think that's also worth a
round of applause. because people work so hard to put this conference together. and i would forget names if i tried to introduce everyone. so with that said, are we ready for an exciting three days? i tell you, we wanted to wait for the hotel bar caucus to arrive. and it seems that most if not all are here. we can enjoy the evening festivities but we do have a wonderful program set up for us because you know, we are going to take this to the next level. when they say you know, our state is under attack from alec, our state is under attack from the koch brothers. what's your answer? the answer is six. i'm here to tell you that the answer is you. and before i bring up our
esteemed executive director, i just want to give a few housekeeping items. i want to remind you all today is an open press day. want to remind everyone to please keep your credentials on you. this is a higher security than normal event. and we want to encourage you to use social media. make sure you use our hash tags. we have a snap chap filter for those on snapchat. tweet freely, post to facebook. we want to be sure to engage people. we don't want to keep the progressive movement hidden in darkness. we want people to know exactly what we're doing because we're open about our objectives. we're open about our agenda. and we also want to make sure that you have a good time. so if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to a staff member. if i could get you to rise to your feet for the leader of our organization, someone i look up to, someone who's been very helpful for me and reached out to me, someone who you should
all know if you don't already know, someone making sure we take back power in the states, my good friend, my boss, nicolas refoe. give him a round of applause, everyone. [ applause ] >> thank you. >> thank you so much. thank you. thank you, mandela. good morning. it's great, great to see so many familiar faces and so many new faces. i just wanted to take a moment to welcome each of you to our fourth annual conference. each year, we say it's a historic gathering. each year you change that history. with nearly 600 state legislators and staff in the house, this will be the largest gathering of progressive legislators in the history of
this country. give yourself a round of applause here. >> so i was thinking back to last year and the last time we were together. it was on the heels of one of the most devastating elections in. the history of the country. i recall still being in a haze and a funk shell shocked by the idea that donald trump was going to be the 45th president of the united states. i remember desperately looking forward to last year's conference to be in the same room with all of you. but this year is very different. it is in some ways even a more critical moment and this will be a very different gathering. donald trump and the republican congress has proved to be this was at all possible, maybe even worse than many of us thought. we are in a crisis. and an incredibly delicate moment that i believe will define who and what america is and will be for generations to
come. if you are a student of history, i'm sure understand that this country has been in these important inflection moments throughout our existence. there of the civil war. think of the vietnam eraen at civil rights movement. in each of these moments of struggle for what our country is and what our shared values are, we have in fact progressed. moving our country forward, bit which bit to do as our founders described to form a more perfect union. i obviously didn't live during those times. i just know what i've read and learned but this time feels a little different. i feel anxious about it. because there are challenges we face that are different. right now, it seeps like we can't agree on basic fantastics. and have a president who is driving this misinformation by either claiming fake news or just outright lying. we are part of a reality television culture where instant
gratification and self-centered behavior is rewarded. again, look at our president. and we are in this moment where the balance is tilted so heavily towards the right that each of you in this room are having to fight an onslaught of attacks and policies that are coming now from both washington, d.c. as well as the conservatives in your states. you are defining what means to resist. you are in fact ground zero for the resistance. and many ways the states have been where we have been able to get some wins, fight back and hold the line despite historic levels of control by conservative legislatures, governships, attorneys general and, of course, control confident congress and presidency. >> but we can't and have not been able to fight everything. our country is in trouble. take, for example, what just happened exactly a week ago in las vegas. we will hear in a few minutes from the nevada delegation. and we'll hold a moment of
silence for the victims of that shooting. nearly 60 people died. 530 were injured. but what is going to change? the same thing that always happens is happening. there is shock, there is outrage. and we are told it's not a time to politicize guns. and then slowly things go back to the new normal. this time even more so than other times. it feels so futile. to hope for common sense gun reforms. and it's amazing to me how we've just allowed this sort of thing to become now part of our daily lives. a few weeks ago, my children starred school. i have twin boys. one is in first grade and my daughter is in fourth grade. i went to their back to school night. and spoke with one of my boys' teachers. she was telling me about how the kids have to go through what
they call a safety drill. let me describe to you what a safety drill is. this is where children our children, in their classrooms go with their teacher to back of the room. or a corner or a bathroom. depending on classroom. and they have to get down on their knees and cover their faces. the teacher locks the door, shuts off the lights. until they hear a knock. or an all clear from an officer at that school. the teacher told me that these safety drills occur now just as frequently as fire drills. we have normalized murder to protect guns. our children now have to bear the burden of our inability to do anything about gun violence in this country. my boys are 6. let me underscore this point.
it has gotten so bad that 6-year-olds are having to accommodate the gun lobby because our leaders don't have the courage to stand up to them. and as i listened to my children's teacher describe this, i couldn't help but think that we have failed them. i see what is happening in puerto rico in texas and florida. over the past few weeks. and the failure of both both to respond both immediately and long-term to the effects of climate change and i look at all of our kids and worry what type of world we're going to leave them. right now in this country because of trump's decision to end the deferred action for childhood arrivals program or daca, there are more than 800,000 immigrant lives hanging in the balance. i recently read a story of a young pakistani woman named saba who moved to this country when she was just 22 years old with her family but since fallen out of status. because of this program, she's
now a p.h.d. candidate, a researcher and professor at texas tech university. if congress fails to act on daca and it becomes repealed, she will have to leave this country. think about that. this young woman who is working to get her ph.d. she's a teacher and a researcher, she's going to be deported back to a country she barely knows. there are thousands of these stories. and that is just a drop in the bucket of examples of why this moment is so critical and why the stakes are so high. and why it is no longer okay to just resist and hold the line. this moment requires all of us to move beyond resistance. too many lives are on the line especially the youngest and most vulnerable amongst us. the future of our country is literally hanging in the balance and what we do over the next several years especially with 2018 and 2020 looming, i believe will seal our fate and the fate of our nation.
so what does moving beyond resistance mean? first, the progressive movement needs to clear space for new and more diversity leadership. [ applause ] there are currently too many people who think the same way and frankly, look the same way at the helm of our ship. i respect and admire many of them. but at the same time, this group was at the wheel while state legislatures, governships and attorneys general have fallen into record control by conservatives. which i would argue also led to the election of donald trump. we need leaders who understand how power works in this country and how much of it is dedrived in the states. we need leader who's think differently how to engage in the world and not willing to double down on the same old ways. we have tried those ways and they clearly do not work.
it's time to support and save the way for new leadership that we see coming up in the states. many of which are sitting in this room today. it's the states where this new class of leaders resides and works and where we should be looking to help move this country forward. next as progressive leaders we must be able to connect politics and policymaking with nonelectoral social u. moos. for far too long elected officials have been wary of social movement and movement leaders wary of elected officials. there's a long history for the reasons why. that could take all tay to dissect. but the truth is in fact both need one another. we have a number of important movements occurring almost simultaneously on the left. think the movement for black lives, movements around climate change, the fight for 15, the women's march, and more. but unless we begin to connect e thooz important movements to actual policymaking and e lk to recall politics and politicians who are not afraid to harness
the power of these movements in their communities, we are merely engaging in a kind of political theater that we may call resistance but achieves limited outcomes and fails to fully harness and realize our full power. we also need to flip how we think of politics and policymaking within the progressive movement. it's exciting that the left is finally waking up and realizing that these things called states exist. it's amazing to me the number of people who patted me on the head or rolled their eyes when i would talk about the states. now are the same ones now run spoog the states and trying to shift their focus to do more state work. donors are starting to give to state work, and we have a rush of groups who are now running into the states. but my fear is that this is fleeting. i am not sure people on the left realize just how much power emanates from the states. it is where policymaking actually occurs in this country
and where lives are directly impa impacted. it is where federal policies are implemented. it's where congressional districts are drawn and power is established. it's where you can define for people what policymaking is and how they should think of their government, and it's the legislatures where you can find a young barack obama and our country's next great leaders. we have always been talked about down the ballot. it's time to flip that on its head and start thinking of voting up the ballot. conservatives did this for decades and created institutions just like six in the 1970s which has given them the command and control they now have in american politics. we need same level of investment and foe focus for a long-term strategy not cycle by cycle.
we need the ability to think and act in terms of power, both building ours and undercutting theirs, and the donor class and others across the movement need to show the patience and the level of investment in institutions like six because the return on that investment is much more transformational than the billions we have spent on consultants and television ads cycle by cycle. [ applause ] finally, we need to be focused on our values as progressi progressives, think less in terms of being transactional or reacting in our policy making to one that is transformational. we need to root ourselves in values of freedom and opportunity. we are much more than being against trump or a list of demands. our movement is rooted in the value that have attracted so many to this country and allowed us in the past to be the enemy of the world, the values of opportunity that no matter who
you are, you can realize the american dream, the value of freedom that we believe everyone has a right to express who they are in their faith, in their speech, who they love, as well as the free tom dom to live you life, to have basic things like health care and earn a living wage. my parents came to this country with basically nothing. they settled in central nebraska where i was born and raised. the town i call my hometown had a population of about 800 people. my father was a preacher, and my mother stayed home to raise my sister, brother, and i. my father's income was meager. in fact, i began working in the corn and bean fields in nebraska before i was even a teenager. we qualified for things like the free lumpl program and other assistance. i was called the "n" word almost on a daily bays is and at times beaten up because of my culture and the color of my skin.
it would have been easy for my brother, sister, and i to have given up. kwlo when you grow up this way, what people expect you to do are pretty low, especially when they think you are less than them. but we didn't give up. because in the face of all of that, we believe we can make ourselves into something different because we are given a little bit of help it allowed us to believe that this country cared about us. because we were told by my parents that we could be whatever we wanted, we believed it because it was reinforced by the values of this amazing country. and we did. my brother runs his own law firm here in d.c. my sister is in the senior executive service in a section channel and one of our major intelligence agencies. and i have to tell you that i will never forget the day i walked through the gates of the white house for my first day
working for president obama. [ applause ] from abject poverty in india to the cornfields of nebraska to the white house working for the first african-american president, in no other country could that story be possible. my story is america's story. it is also a story of what it means to be a progressive in this country, because without the opportunities my family and i were provided by progressive policies, my story and so many stories of people from all over this country would not be possible. it's these stories and these values that we should own and remind the country who is actually fighting for them. history is watching us. so let's use this moment and this conference to think differently, to root ourselves in the values we share as progressives and to be bold and strong in fighting for them.
good morning. i'm from the great state of nevada, and i stand here with my fellow legislators. a week ago we woke up to a senseless tragedy in our community that not only affected the families of nef inform but affected families throughout this country. but when you hurt one of us, you hurt all of us. but as the large, diverse community that we are, we immediately stepped up like we always do not only nevadans do as the family that we are to start the healing process,. so today we stand before you because we are vegas strong, we're nevada strong, and we're strong we are you. so i ask you to join me in a moment of silence as we remember the 58 lives that we've lost, over 500 that are still suffering, and their families.
nevada delegation for your display of strength and bravery in this time that we deal with far too often in this country. to go into the program for the next panel, we're going to talk about resistance which is the theme that has been immediate since the election of our most recent president, and any great resistance has to come with an offensive strategy. we cannot always find ourselves playing defense. we need to be very proactive in the way that we approach governing. and with that said, throughout this 24-hour news cycle, we find ourselves in a 24-hour resistance cycle, and a part of that 24-hour news cycle includes a good friend of mine, a good friend of mine whose with us today who will be moderating this next panel. she needs no introduction but i'm going to give her one any way.
she just pointed at me and there's some things she's not going to want me to say and i won't say them because i'm a good friend, however, the former national press secretary for candidate bernie sanders who is actually no relation, surprise, surprise, to simone sanders, and give her a round of applause. you see her on cnn and you see her -- you see her carry the message very effectively and she carries the message in a way that we have not seen in some time and the way that she reaches younger populations and the way that she reaches communities of color is something that we need to be very respectful and cognizant of when we go into any cycle because we miss the young people in the last election. we missed people of color in the last election. this is someone that i listened to because she will grab my arm
and make me listen to her. and just want to know that anything is possible. >> get out of here. thank you. thank you. oh, my goodness. you all give mandela a round of applause. he's all right. hopefully nick will let him keep his job. my name is simone sanders. i am very excited to be here today. we'll have a very fruitful conversation and yes we're going to take crowd questions. so before i set up this panel, i want to tell you who the panelists are, is that okay? i like a room that talks back, is that okay? all right. as long as nobody tells me to shut up we're good. so first up on the panel we have ms. elise hoag. she is the president of narad. give her a warm round of applause as she comes to the stage. following elise we have senator mike mcguire of california. state nor mike mcguire. they're going to keep coming, keep clapping. next we have assemblywoman nelly rosik from new york and last but certainly not least we have john
pierre, senior adviser from moveon.org. so you all see the program. it says we're going to talk about states resisting trump and the federal conservative agenda. that's what we're going to talk about today. we're going to talk about how we move just as nick said in his opening remarks, how we move past resistance to action. as my panelists get seated one of the first questions i would like folks to ask as they tell us a little bit more about themselves with two minutes, because i do have a timer up here and we're going to use it, one, what does resistance mean to you? and two, is the resistance effective? because some would argue that it's not necessarily the job of state legislators for example, to be resisting. they oulgt to be working. is the resistance effective and what is the resistance mean to you and also tell us about yourself and we'll start with the illustrious president of nara. >> i'm ilyse hogue.
i've been the president of naral coming up on five years. you can't hear me? >> can we turn the mikes up please? >> how's that? oh, way better. yeah. i've been president of naral coming up on five years. i tell people that i did not come from reproductive rights i came to reproductive rugts from a long history in progressive politics, and i did it for one simple reason, and it was that i came to realize that all of those things that nick talked about, all of the promise for women and families in this country was not possible unless we focused on women's sovereignty about being able to make their own choices in our lives that determine the rest of our lives. and it's been a transformative experience. we were -- i'm from texas. i'm a fourth generation texan. we've been living in the resistance for a long time. right? is my texas delegation out there somewhere? there you go. yeah.
i will mean, there are states and many of you y'all in this room that actually know what it's like to live in resistance long -- >> oh, no. >> lost it again. there we go. long before donald trump became president and through the eyes of women and families, through the eyes of women and families who don't have means, who are struggling economically, that resistance has been powerful because women do what it takes to take care of our families, right, even in the harshest of circumstances. so out of the resistance is born the promise, and when women get ahead and when women succeed it's not just the individual that does it's our families, our communities, and it's our entire country. so that's what drew me to the work, but i will say one more thing which is that i woke up at 3:30 this morning in worchester, massachusetts, to drive to an airport to get on a plane to be here by 9:00 a.m. which i'm thrilled because i love six and
i love y'all and i love the work that you're doing. the reason i was up there is because i had the honor and privilege to attend a wedding yesterday of two of my very close friends, jacob and steve. that we can celebrate the love of two men through legal marriage in this country is an astonishing thing that we should never take for granted and it is an astonishing thing that was made possible by so many of you all and your counterparts in this room who made that change, made that dignity, made that recognition happen at the state level long before it happened at the federal level. and that is the promise, that is the promise of dignity, justice, economic security that comes out of the resistance, when we recognize the resistance as the engine of the car that's driving us forward. so thank you very much. >> all right. [ applause ]
>> state senator mcguire, tell us a little bit about yourself and what you've been working on this morning. and what does the resistance mean to you, one, and two, and do you think it's effective? >> thank you so much, ms. sanders. it's so good to see you. good morning. how you doing? i hope you are all fired up to be here. i know i'm excited to be with you. just want to let you know i may have to leave a little early. i represent a large district in california in the golden gate bridge and the oregon boarder and since 10:00 p.m. pacific time last night we of had ten major fires, thousands of hopes lost and tens of thousands evacuated. so i have to be on a flight early. but i'd like to be able to talk about the resistance. candidly, i know i'm from california and there are some in this country including my uncle, who i love and he lives in idaho, and he thinks that everyone in california are communists. but it's less about the
resistance i think what we're doing in california, but what some may call the resistance to us it's keeping on keep on what the majority of americans believe in. and some examples. so, number one, as progressives we have to focus on job growth, on job growth and making sure that we are hiring at a living wage and that's what we've done in california. we're now number one in the entire nation in job growth because we focused on our economy. when you take a look at climate change, the vast majority of americans believe that climate change will impact their quality life in their lifetime. california just moved the strongest climate bill in america. we should be doing the same in every state. that's what the resistance is all about. the resistance is about infrastructure. when president trump talks about this $1 trillion infrastructure
plan that he wants to vessel on tax credits, it will never happen. it's never happened and it won't happen in our future. if we're serious about investing in a strong middle class in america, then we have to rebuild our roads, our bridges and our highways and california we just pass aid $50 billion infrastructure plan. republican or democrat, you want good infrastructure, am i right? >> yes. >> when we talk about the resistance, the resistance is paying women equal to men and it's about damn time, and you can ask republican women and you ask democratic women it's not about party, it's about making sure that we have equal pay across this nation, and it's also ridiculous that we continue to talk like that, right because it's 2017. health care. you take a look at the most rural parts of the state of california, they're the poorest areas of our states. they are the most vulnerable when it comes to repeal and replace. when it comes to the resistance
it's all of us in this room standing up to those dangerous policies and making sure that we don't let the aca be rolled back. by the way, we're at 17%. 17% uninsured in california in 2012. prior to the aca. we are now at a record low 7% uninsured. it is because of the aca, and we have to bring that conversation to a universal health care system here in the united states of america. and finally, ms. sanders is going to throw a fork at me in just a second. it's also about transparency and that's why we're working with republicans and democrats alike to get senate bill 149 passed in california, and that would mandate that every democrat and every republican presidential candidate has to release five years of their tax returns because 74% of americans believe president trump should release his tax returns.
this is about common sense and doing the greatest good for the most amount of people here in america and it is time to take our state legislators back. thanks for having me. >> all right. assembly woman, you have the floor.
>> first and foremost, i want to thank six for having all of us, and i want to give a shout-out to my new york colleagues who are here, both christine and gustavo right in the middle. to shoutout to the new york delegation holding it down. [ applause ] >> so i'm nily rozic. i'm a mets fan. don't hold that against me. i'm also a first-generation american who came to flushing at a very young age and really got involved in the local community because i didn't want to just be a cog in the system, i wanted to get involved. in 2012, almost five years ago, when i got elected i was the youngest woman ever elected to the state legislator in new york.
[ applause ] and since then we've done incredible work in getting more women and women of color specifically elected to the state legislature because that is ultimately how we are going to create change from
the grassroots staff. resistance to me is about me not just focusing on the white house, it's all about our state house. if we're going to have an impact in 2020 we need to started today. actually we should've started yesterday. but that's why we're all here, right? and it means that we are going to work together on everything that impacts people day-to-day. that's the minimum wage, voter i.d. laws, gun violence control, collective bargaining agreements, that all happens at the state level and that's where we're so excited in new york to be at the forefront of fighting on all of these issues together. >> thank you. [ applause ]
my name is kareem jean pierre. i started off my career in new york. i'm from new york. grew up in queens village and i started off my 15 year political career in a city council and then i moved out to d.c. and did national politics, worked for an issue based campaigns and ended up in the obama administration where i met nick, who i thank him so much for putting all of this together. nick is a great guy. i've known him for ten years and so we worked in the campaign and in the administration. i ended up at move.org after the 2016 election, so just been part of working with our allies like naral and all of you in the states and really trying to push forward the resistance. for me, what does the resistance mean to me?
as a mom it means i look at my 3-year-old every day and i think about, okay, what is this country going to look like for her? and when she's 10 years old and she looks back and she's like, mommy, what did you do when donald trump was doing all these awful things as -- because she's going to learn about this president. she's going to learn about what happened. and i want to be able to tell her that i fought. i fought fearlessly for her. that i stood up and that i, you know, any time i had a platform i used it. so i think about my child a lot when i think about the resistance. i also think about myself. i'm an immigrant. i'm a woman. i'm black. i'm part of the lgbtq community. so i think about all of those things that this administration attacks on a constant daily -- every freaking second they do that.
we have someone who sits in the oval office behind the resolute desk signing things to attack everything that i am. it is -- it is important to me to continue to fight and i'm part of an organization that gives me the opportunity to do that. so is the resistance working? i believe that it is. look, we stopped the repeal of aca which i think is incredibly important to have done. [ applause ] i also think about all of you out there. you guys are part of the resistance. i think about the eight seats that we were able to flip, those state legislator seat that we were able to flip from red to blue. there's been, what, 27 open special -- not open but special elections this year in red districts and winning eight is not bad. it's 30%. and anytime there is a competitive democrat in these races we've won them. i think all of you are playing
such an important role in what we're doing because it's not about just d.c., it's not about what's happening at 1600 pennsylvania and also the hill. it's what's happening in these states. and that's how we're going to stop a lot of these awful bad bills that are coming out from the state legislatures that are heavily rolled by republicans. so i thank you for being part of the resistance. i thank you for being here, and let's continue to fight. >> there we go. [ applause ] >> since the election, since november basically, there has been this really intense increased focus on state legislative races, on what is just happening in the states in general with a number of bills. and i would like you all to speak to what effective national and state partnerships look like, because you've got groups
like naral and move on who you all -- both of your organizations have done lots of work as of late in the states. what does it look like? what does an effective partnership really look like from you all's perspective and from my state legislators' perspective? what are some things that maybe folks should know when engaging in a -- in national partnerships, if you will, on the ground issues? it seems great to have a national organization come in and do work on a bill and what's happening. but it can get a little sticky. you want to pop in first? i'm looking at you. >> i know that there are enough of you in the audience that we do work with that will hold me accountable if i actually misspeak on this. i mean -- naral's an old organization, we'll be 50 years old in 2019. we have members on the ground in every state. we have brick and mortar and
staff on the ground from those states in the states in 23, about to be 24 states. so when we -- we try to actually be really clear about what we have to offer when engaging in state partnerships, but i want to back up for a second because i think we need to think -- i hear all the time, do you do state work or federal work, and the answer for us is we do both. i think there's a third category that gets passed over too frequently, and that's national work, which is that the sum of the states should add up to more than their parts, right? y'all are doing incredibly important work that promotes the values of progressives and progressive democrats and that needs to be put together with your help so when we think about what state work we engage in, we ask three questions with our partners in the states.
does it have substantive impact? does it actually matter to women and families in those states? does it lift up new leaders, because very much like nick spoke we believe that new leadership is coming from and needs to come from the states, right? and i'm seeing some of my favorite people right out there. and the third is does it change the national conversation? this for us is really, really important and it means two things. does it actually put the opposition on record, right? and does it actually allow us to frame things in our own values rather than reacting to the oppositions' values? my friend here on my right, we've been working with california state legislator for some time on a bill that is now on the governor's desk. it's called the reproductive health nondiscrimination act. it is not well-known that women can not only be fired for their
reproductive health choices in terms of choosing contraception or choosing abortion but also this bill was -- a young woman was fired for being pregnant oust wedlock. i didn't even know we used that term anymore until this happened. and so we've been working with california on this. what we also are not only working with california, we worked with our good friends at the municipal level in st. louis. one of the reddest red states, right? and we passed a municipal ordinance with the help of our amazing local folks but particularly our state leader alison dreight, who is a powerhouse from st. louis and the governor of missouri, deep red state, remember, got so, so bent out of shape that he called the state legislature back into session -- and i'm watching
stacy newman and cora faith walker who are my favorite leaders in the states and to have a special, his words, pro-life session, right, to overturn the st. louis ordinance. well, this turned out to be a pretty difficult for him to do. the national headline were like the missouri governor wants you to be able to be fired for your birth control. right, all of a sudden between -- and we had already done this in d.c., so between d.c., st. louis and our wonderful friends in the missouri state legislator who were prepared to go on offense in a red state. we're having a really different national conversation that gets out what we always say which is this is not and has never been about abortion. and the kinds of policies that support working moms and families in in country but they don't do that. we've got a red state governor on defense, we've got blue state that is actually leading the way and talking about our values and we're change gs the national conversation while having substantive imfact for women and families around the country and acting protections at a time where the federal government
we empower them. we really make sure they have the information that they need to fight whatever's happening in their state or even nationally when it came to repealing aca, we made sure they had the phone numbers. we made sure that they went to the town halls that were located in their states. it's really kind of elevating the conversation and empowering our members and also we help our allies. that's one of the ways that this resistance i believe is working is helping naral, helping other national organizations who have local chapters and feeding into them and helping all of the organizations that's working on daca, for example, and making sure that we tap into our members to push what it is that our allies are trying to do so all of this is important. one thing that we did this summer is we had something called resistance summer where we -- we had about more than 1,000 of our members across the country and we had these conversations in neighborhoods about what are the important issues. we wanted to start this now as we're going into 2018 and really
training people in the states and giving them the tools and mobilizing them and having the conversation and figuring out what are the issues that people care about most in their neighborhood and what we're thinking was we called them move on mobilizers is it is a way to really get folks embedded into their communities as we go into 2018. so that's what it looks like to us but working -- having that ally relationship and helping, you know, the different issues that different folks are working on, pushing that forward, tapping into our millions of membership and raising money too. it's a way to raise money for folks. we partnered up with the hispanic federation with lin manuel, and move on members raised more than $3 million and we sent an e-mail. we really mobilized that community and that was for puerto rico.
and so those are the ways that we try to really tap into what we do and what the tools and the folks that we have the power that we have. >> from our straight legislators, the resistance is about putting you all to work. >> yes. >> so how have you been able to leverage some of these national partnerships? what does that look like in terms of the resistance in your offices? and if you can give two best practices, what would they be? >> i think we all know coalitions matter, right. we can't do half of the work that we do without a strong coalition behind us. to give you an example, a lot of the criminal justice work that we do in new york is driven and done in partnership with amazing organization. when at the federal government at the federal level they are trying to roll back the aca and get rid of family planning services, a coalition of reproductive health organizations got together in new york and said we should do a
bill inserting family planning services into the state budget if we can't get that done at the federal level. but what i think as a state legislator is really nice in this new world post-november, we're no longer thought of as the minor leagues. we are now the major leagues. and i think the sooner we start recognizing that and embracing that, other organizations will be there to fight arm in arm, shoulder to shoulder with us. >> so a few items. number one, i think the bottom line, when it comes to the resistance particularly when we're building coalitions at the state or we're working one-on-one, we need to be able to prove to the residents that we work with every day that standing strong against trump means making america stronger. and we have to be able to prove
that. but, ms. sanders, one of the biggest areas i'm concerned in regards to the resistance and i'm going to be very critical for a moment, the democrats really screwed up and i think we can use the term that president obama used shellacked, because we do not have a focus on rural america and -- [ applause ] >> i'm really concerned. if we do not become america's party and not the perceived party of coastal elites and urban centers we will continue to lose. 86 assemblies, house and senates in the states have gone to republicans. over 1,000 state legislatives seats have been lost and it's because we are not focusing on those voters who, by the way, those issues that they care about in rural america are not as different as some may perceive in urban america. i think that if you take a look at the electoral map after this november, it's so red because it was a blood bath and here's what
i believe. rather than democrats continuing to give lip service to rural americans, we need to be able to step up, we need to be able to show up and we need to be able to deliver, and i say that because i'm the only rural democrat in the california state senate. and between the golden gate bridge and the oregon border and if you take a look at rural america as long as with rural california, the poorest counties in the state of california are rural. two of the five poorest counties, am i right, in the state are in my district. highest numbers of homelessness, highest childhood poverty, highest opioid addiction, and democrats forget that rural voters are our voters too and they want good schools. they want jobs.
they want quality health care. and they want to be able to log on and get on to the internet and, by the way, i have a county that 40% of the households aren't even connected to the internet. what are democrats doing for rural america? and so what i say, ms. sanders, and i apologize that i'm going on the soap box here -- >> i like a soap box. >> is this, we need to coordinate. california's homeless bill $2 billion permanent housing for homelessness, the only way we're going to end homelessness in this country, particularly those that are chronic homeless is health and human services, drug addiction, counseling, it was modeled after utah. thank you, utah. when it comes to taxes. and holding our president accountable. we were coordinating thank you so much to six with 25 different states across america. career training, 72% of american public high school graduates
will not go on to a four-year college degree. democrats should be running with career training and job skills in our classrooms. am i right? when it comes to d.r.e.a.m.ers, 800,000, democrats and republicans agree they need to stay in this country because it's the country they love and it's the country that they are fighting for every day. if democrats and all of us progressives don't get our stuff together we are going to continue to lose and ms. sanders i will say, we will win the house, we will win the senate, we'll take back the presidency and we'll take back our state houses once we start focusing on rural america. [ applause ] >> i see all the rural america people in the crowd. i see you all. let's talk about that because some people would argue that the problem with the resistance is that it leaves some people out. that's not necessarily my view. i'm just talking about some people, donald trump, the problem with the resistance is that it leaves some people out such as rural america as the state senator just noted but
others would argue that when we talk -- and i'd like the panel to explore this. we have to do more for rural america. west virginia are dealing with the same stuff as people in downtown st. louis. but the problem is we talk about rural america oftentimes we're not talking about people that look like me, we're only talking about people that look like you. so how do we bridge the gap in the conversation? because the resistance we just established is about doing the work, but how can we bridge the gap in the conversation that we are actively putting forth an agenda that literally speaks to all people? because the economy is everybody's issue, but you would think white people only care about the economy so let's talk about that. >> i'm happy to jump in. >> come on. you go and i want to hear from move on and i would like to hear from the assemblywoman and i want to hear from naral because i know you have feelings.
>> i sometimes have feelings. >> i think that a successful strategy is not a strategy of one. i think sometimes we get wrapped up into maybe it's just rural america. i think that's one of our biggest weaknesses. when you take a look at african-american turnout in this past election, it was 10% sometimes 15% less when president obama ran and there is a problem with that and if we're not dealing with that now and shame on us in 3 1/2 years. what i will say is, i'm going to continue to come back to this. the majority of americans want to keep their health insurance. there's a county on the oregon border, 26,000 people, one of the most rural in the state of california, over 8,000 are on the affordable care act. nearly a third of the entire county population. they voted for president trump. we have to be able to go into that county, communicate with
them, take a county in alabama and be able to show what democrats are doing to be able to keep their health care, show what democrats are doing to be able to provide quality education, show what we're doing to be able to improve their roads and build middle class jobs. but i think for us, whether it is in a community of color or a caucasian community like you have up and down counties, we have to be able to have a multi-pronged strategy to be able to take our state houses back. i also believe those bridges aren't as long as we think. i think we can bridge some of these divisions that we have by simply bringing the focus for many of us in this room. >> okay. >> pandora's box. >> open. >> i guess rural america, do you define that as white people, rural america? >> no. >> i guess i'm just trying to figure out -- because this is a conversation that the democrats
have all the time, who do we -- who are we looking at? rural america there are black people that live in rural america. people of color live in rural america. i want to be clear about who we're talking about because if you look at the -- there's a different conversation for the state legislators, really, okay. let me step back. if you look at 2016, we had -- democrats had a lot of issues. it wasn't just rural america, right? it was like you said african-americans, black folks they were not reached out to. we clearly had a problem with women. but the reality is white women do vote republican. there were some facts -- some things that we just didn't address well enough. there is millennials. millennials went and voted for the third party. there's a lot of issues -- it's hard to look at this and just say it was one thing. there were multiple things that happened that we need to address
and so that's -- that's kind of like the thing that's going around in my head. and let's not forget, one of the big problem that we'll have in 2018 and 2020 is russia. that was -- that was a serious thing that happened and we're not -- it's not being addressed. and it's not, not with this administration. there are a lot of things that happened that we need to have a serious conversation about and it's not just rural america, it's like how do we treat people of color, how do we go out and really reach out to millennials. what is it -- there were things that we did that just did not resonate, and that's kind of the angst that i feel when i hear about the primary focus or the conversation being about rural america because it was -- it was across the board. >> so, assemblywoman, i don't think you represent rural
america, but going forward, and we can have conversations about what folks did wrong, but what is this quote/unquote agenda? particularly for the states because i think the states are going to have to lead on this issue because nationally i mean clearly the democratic party is having some issues. >> yeah, and look, the other big piece to all of this is the local recruitment and running of candidates -- >> might need to come a little closer. >> i'll say that again. the recruitment and the running of state legislators -- is this better? should i go into my npr voice? so the critical piece that's missing here that i think we haven't addressed as a national party and we're not doing
effectively at the state level yet, is recruiting and running of candidates who will speak to voters. you've always heard the story of, i hate congress but i love my congress person. i hate the state legislature but i love my local assemblywoman and that's really ultimately how we're going to start to see change at the state houses and we'll see more people getting engaged and coming out to vote is if we're picking people who look like their voters. and that -- there is power in that diversity and there's strength in that diversity, and that's ultimately how as a party at the local level we're really going to make a difference. >> i'll come back to that point. i like it but i think there's something we need to also impact there. elise. >> so i think there are a lot of different conversations actually wrapped up in this, which is not
that surprising because we're still processing a lot of what happened and a lot of how we're going forward. i think there's a real conversation to have about how resources get distributed through the democratic party, and that conversation needs to be transparent and it needs to be loud and it needs to be robust. the work is really, really difficult and it is the way that we actually end up from a nuts and bolts perspective reaching people regardless of population density, and i think that's a real thing. from a policy perspective, i don't actually think -- i'm going -- i'm going to be controversial. i don't think we're losing because of policy. i don't think we're losing because of some false divide between identity politics and economic populism. i just don't believe it. i believe that people are not -- i believe we're experiencing a huge crisis in confidence in government, generally. you read polls that came out last week and it said 78% of people disapprove of the gop
congress and you're like, wow that's a really big number and the next line is 68% disapprove of the democrats. that leads to underperformance and lack of motivation to get to the polls. i don't think this is a policy problem. i think it is ability to speak about collected values in a language that's tailored to different cultures and, that best comes from the states, that best comes from the localities. i think we're right on with our values. i think most people believe in progressives and democratic values. i don't think we need to concede one witd on values to reach urban voters or rural voters. i think we need to motivate people because they believe we're actually going to do something and that we're going to do something in their interests. and so when we talk about any issue, from jobs or schools or transportation, it always has to
be couched in an actual empathetic understanding of where people are coming from as well as a confidence that i'm going to fight for you. i get it. i'm going to fight for you. the policies are there, and i'm going to take -- my issues are considered really, really controversial and sometimes particularly with rural voters, right? the ones who suffer the most are rural voters. vice president mike pence, i don't know if anyone is here from the indiana delegation, but i don't need to tell you guys, vice president mike pence in his scorched-earth approach to end abortion in his state when he was governor, closed down reproductive health clinics across the state. first of all, that doesn't actually end abortion. what we know is that when abortion is made illegal or inaccessible, the number of abortio abortions don't go down. the number of deaths to injuries
go up. two women sent to prison but what did happen? maternal health outcomes went down in rural indiana and hiv rates went up in indiana. this is about values. this is about who cares for who. and in 2018 dropoff women voters, simone's organization put out this poll, dropoff women voters, we need to get to the polls in 2018 across this country. their top two issues are health care and abortion rights and that was priorities language that was not our language and the reason for that is particularly women who don't have access to reproductive health care acutely know that that is an attack on their families, it is an attack on their dignity, it is an attack on their future because they can't finish school, get jobs, hold jobs, get out of poverty. so for me, we've got to be able to have a collective set of
values that we're communicating and then y'all know how to communicate best with your communities, and that language may differ, that outreach may differ, but it's not giving up values, and we don't have a policy problem. >> that's interesting. so if we don't have -- i think it's interesting for state legislators to hear that we don't have a policy problem when it's literally y'all's job to create policy. so we're good on the policy, okay. we're good on the policy. and if we do have the right values, why is it not essentially connecting for democratic voters? and for democratic constituents? and do we have to rethink the way we are actually engaging in our communities? i'll say this. in 2016 there's a whole swath of republican voters, conservative christians, who said they voted for donald trump solely because they wanted a conservative supreme court justice. they got one. >> mm-hmm. that's right.
>> and so they ignored the misogyny, they didn't like the racism, the sexism, but they wanted this particular thing and that's why they pulled the lever for donald trump. if you asked democratic voters in places all across the country and we're -- we can talk about state legislative races, we can talk about mayoral races, democratic voters don't necessarily feel that way. so how do we connect with folks on the values? i feel that's the only way the resistance actually becomes effective at home because, yes, we won on the health care fight thus far, we beat that back, but in over 33 states more than 90 pieces of legislation have been introduced since 2016 to restrict access to the ballot box. are we really winning? that's the question for the panel. >> i mean some of this -- some
of this is delivery system. we talked about distribution of resources. we have to be getting the resource where is you all know it needs to g. the way naral thinking about that, we never place organizers in a place we can't have an impact from the top of the ticket to the bottom of the ticket. you all help determine where that is. we're never going to place an organizer in a place where we think we can make a difference in a federal senate race where we don't think we're making a difference in a state house or state senate race. that is the ballgame. that is the long pathway back. so i do think that there's a huge conversation to have about how we think about resources, resource allocation. there's no doubt that the other side is way more sophisticated in terms of voter suppression, and that's absolutely true in the way that they have moved legislation through the state houses, my home state of texas. it's just awful. it's awful there. and the disenfranchisement that's happening. it's more than that and, you
know, all of the work that cambridge analytics did that they're talking about in the trump administration, all of the work of the russians and the election blah, blah, blah, which is not blah, blah, blah, it's like a real issue, but a lot of that was actually psychology knowing how to depress people. it wasn't how do i get my voters out. it was how do i get you from going? how do i divide you from the folks that are telling you that they actually want to fight for you? how do i diminish the confidence? and both simone and careen have mentioned that white women have been voting republican for some time. >> not just have. they have literally been keeping the republican party afloat. >> i think that let's white men off when you say it that way because white men vote for republicans in a much higher number than white women, but that doesn't mean that white women don't bear responsibility. i just can't stand letting the men off of that.
but -- we do actually -- we have taken out seriously. that is traditionally our base. we have reached into both rural and urban areas of white women, and a lot of that is -- is psychological which the other side actually gets. i feel like sometimes we're working at 2.0 and they're working at 5.0. again, it's not a policies thing, it's a values thing but also a psychology thing. it's like actually understanding the human condition and what makes people vote, and i'm not going to tell you we have the answers, i'm going to tell you we have some ideas and hypothesis that we feel like we can test in 2018, and that's what we all have to be doing is trying new stuff, testing new things, learning from those tests, sharing with each other what we learned from those tests so they can be replicated and keeping our eye on the long game. >> careen, you want to pop in? >> so there's not an easy answer here. i think that's probably part of the problem.
there's so many -- there's so many facets to this and some of it goes real, real deep. i want to say this real quick. i worked in the obama administration. i was there the first two years. and what i saw from my perch republicans were so angry that there was a black man in the white house, so angry that there was a black man in the oval office that they strategized, they got themselves together on day one when he was inaugurated, they met right here in d.c., all of the bigwigs from the republican party, and said they were going to resist from day one. and what they did, and i'm sure a lot of you saw this, is they raised, what, $60 million over the ten years and made sure that they flipped legislative seats, made sure that they flipped governor seats, and they worked and pounded on that. and it's not a sexy thing to talk about. but they invested and they did that. and so what happens is, voter
suppression laws pop up. all these bad bills on women's reproductive rights pop up. against women's reproductive rights. all of these things starting creeping up because republicans strategized and they invested and they raised tens of millions of dollars because they felt like they were losing their country. they felt like they were losing their identity. and so now we're in a place where, are we winning? it's a really good question that simone asked, and it's a very complicated answer, because if you look at across the country, yep, it's very red, but i just -- as i mentioned when i started talking, we had 27 special election seats. we flipped eight. that's 30%. now it's small, but it's a start. and one thing that donald trump has done is he's unified us and, you know, there's the argument of we can't just be against him, we got to be for something, but i think there's a lot of things that we're for.