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Matt Singer on August 18, 2005 - 1:00am
Packed house shows progressives are gearing up to fight a 50-state battle for the futureFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 18, 2005 SEATTLE - August 18 - The Progressive Legislative Action Network (PLAN) yesterday formally launched its operations in Seattle to a full house of legislators and progressive leaders from all over America. In all, more than 300 people attended the event, including 115 legislators from 40 states. The packed house heard a rousing speech about poverty policy from Sen. John Edwards and a fiery call to arms on energy policy from Gov. Brian Schweitzer, as well as two in-depth seminars about economic development and voting access, giving legislators a chance to interact with some of the nation's top policy experts. "The fact that so many legislators came from so many different states to help kickoff this important project proves that our side is ready to do the hard work necessary to make our agenda a legislative reality," said former Montana Sen. Steve Doherty, co-chair of PLAN. "This event shows that progressives are ready to ramp up our fight for the interests of working families, and that the era of right-wing domination of state politics is coming to an end," said David Sirota, co-chair of PLAN. The event was sponsored by, among others, Moveon.org, SEIU, the United Steelworkers, and progressive philanthropists Andy and Deborah Rappaport. As the Nation magazine noted in its coverage of the event, that support "provides an encouraging indication of the openness of powerful players on the left to the state-based work that will provide the models for renewal of the progressive movement nationally." In the coming weeks, PLAN will be aggressively fundraising in hopes of becoming operational by the 2006 legislative sessions. But as Sen. John Edwards noted in his speech, PLAN's goals will reach well beyond just one legislative session. "I think [PLAN] can have an immediate impact," Edwards said. "But we should view it as a long-term effort.'" The Progressive Legislative Action Network will have a 501c(3) and 501c(4) component. PLAN's mission is to support progressives at the state level and pass progressive legislation in all 50 of America's state legislatures. By providing coordinated research and strategic advocacy tools to state lawmakers, PLAN will advance policies that protect individual freedom and strengthen America's working families. Attached are two writeups of PLAN's event from the Nation magazine and the Associated Press. For more information on PLAN, go to www.progressivestates.org.