01/17/06 PLAN Secures Major Resources Begins Initial Expansion

Diverse coalition includes philanthropists, Open Society Institute, unions and others
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 17, 2006 The Progressive Legislative Action Network (PLAN) announced today increased support for their organization. PLAN, a 501c(3), received a commitment from the Open Society Institute (OSI) and PLAN's 501(c)4 arm received commitments from the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME); the Service Employees International Union (SEIU); The United Steelworkers of America; and the Amalgamated Transit Union. "These new commitments demonstrate that PLAN's vision has deep and broad support among critical progressive leaders and organizations," said PLAN's Co-Chairs Steve Doherty and David Sirota in a joint statement. "This is a sign that progressives across the country realize the importance of bringing new attention to the states. That focus is critical both in passing good progressive policy and also in fighting the concerted corporate effort to dominate state policy making." PLAN has already secured contributions from venture capitalists Andy and Deborah Rappaport, and others. "Working families are under attack at the state level," said Lee Saunders, Executive Assistant to AFSCME President Gerald McEntee. "PLAN is going to work to turn that around. We're proud to be on board with so many of our allies in this critical effort." "When it comes to getting things done, the state are where the rubber meets the road and no battle ground will be more important for working families," said Ellen Golombek, Assistant to the Secretary Treasurer for Government Affairs at SEIU. "We believe that PLAN is the organization that can build coalitions and make a real difference." PLAN also announced that attorney, writer, and community activist Nathan Newman would be the organization's first Policy Director. Newman brings experience in organizing, policy development, and legal work. He received his J.D. from Yale Law School and his Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California at Berkeley. "Nathan is a great addition to the team at PLAN," said PLAN Executive Director Joel Barkin. "From legal skills, to understanding public policy, to crafting strategies to win, there are few people in this country with better resumes. We're proud to have him on-board. The team we're building will be second-to-none in its ability to fight the extreme right at the state level." The Progressive Legislative Action Network's mission is to drive public policy debates and change the political landscape in the United States by focusing on attainable and progressive state level actions. It will do so by providing coordinated research support for a network of State legislators, their staff's and constituencies, in order to equip them with coherent logistical and strategic advocacy tools necessary for advancing key progressive economic and social policies.