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Governing the Nation From the Statehouses: The Rightwing Agenda in the States and How Progressives Can Fight Back


Press Release | Executive Summary | Report in HTML or PDF | In These Times Article

Governing the Nation from the Statehouses:
The Rightwing Agenda in the States and How Progressives Can Fight Back

February 2006
Nathan Newman, Progressive States Policy Director

New Report: The Battle for America's States

Study details how conservatives are using state policy to wage a war - Organization's website shows how progressives can fight back

The Progressive States Network today issued a report that exposes many of the conservative movement's methods of operation in state government and how progressives can deliver results. The organization also rolled out its website that will serve as the "virtual" war room in the fight for the states.

"For the past thirty years, conservatives of different stripes have had their efforts clearly coordinated with a long-term strategy in mind," says Nathan Newman, Progressive State's Policy Director and Author of the Report. "The resulting policies in the states -- whether handouts to corporations, wedge issues to pit progressives against eachother, or structural plans to weaken progressive institutions -- are not an accident, but the result of years of engineering by powerful interests."

The report's findings, featured in a cover story in the current issue of In These Times, outlines the fundamental importance of state policy and the many ways that conservative organizations have succeeded in advancing their policy goals at the state level, such as aiding Exxon in fighting global warming legislation and working for pharmaceutical companies to block the reimportation of cheaper drugs from Canada.

The report also offers a set of policy solutions that progressives can advance to help America's families and to help stop the corporate conservative movement in its tracks. Among the solutions are minimum wage increases, paid family leave and clean energy policies that fight global warming while creating jobs in America.

"This report is a diagnosis of what is ailing state politics in America. But it doesn't stop at concluding what is wrong. This report also offers Progressive State's prescription for change in the states. It's our blueprint for how to fight and win for everyday America's interests," explains Joel Barkin, Executive Director of Progressive States Network.

The release of the report coincides with the rolling out of Progressive State's new website, which serves as a centralized resource for information on legislation, state policy news, and rising stars in the legislative ranks. The site includes comprehensive policy sections with content being loaded regularly, a blog and newsfeed to find out the latest news from the states, a section featuring interviews with experienced and successful legislators, and access to special resources for journalists and bloggers.

Progressive States Network was established in 2005 to help coordinate and advance the progressive agenda at the state level. It has gained the support and backing of the AFL-CIO; Service Employees International Union (SEIU); American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME); United Steelworkers; MoveOn; and the Open Society Institute, as well as legislators across the country.

Progressive States on the Web
The Executive Summary
The In These Times story

To schedule an interview with Joel Barkin or Nathan Newman concerning the report, the website, or the organization and its strategy, contact Austin Guest at aguest@progressivestates.org or 212-680-3116 x 110.