For the Week of 4/20/2018
Democrats in statehouses across the country are fighting to move America forward. In case you missed it, here are some statehouse highlights from this week:
Candidate filing came to a strong finish in Oklahoma, with 794 candidates filing for state and federal office over the three-day period - the most since 2000. Democratic enthusiasm hit the Sooner state as Democrats came out in full force: in the state Senate, Democrats filed to run in 21 of the 24 districts on the ballot, and almost half of the Democrats filed are women. In the state House, Democrats filed to run in 87 of the 101 districts on the ballot, with women Democrats running in over half of those 87 districts. Some of the Republican-controlled Legislature's top leaders drew opponents, while a couple more incumbent Republican lawmakers called it quits. The Oklahoma Legislature has been in the news lately as the state's teachers participated in a nine-day-long walkout, protesting Republicans continued attacks on education. Not only will there be an influx of Democrats running for the Oklahoma Legislature in 2018, but a number of them will be teachers fresh off the picket line and ready to spark change.
After a three-month delay, a lawsuit and three judicial orders, Wisconsin special elections have been scheduled. Primaries will be held May 15 for SD-01 and AD-42, with special elections to follow on June 12. Democrat Caleb Frostman, the former executive director of the Door County Economic Development Corp., has filed paperwork to run for SD-01 (along with two Republicans), while Democrat Ann Groves Lloyd, a Lodi alderwoman and University of Wisconsin-Madison academic adviser, has filed paperwork to run for AD-42 (along with four Republicans and one independent candidate). With Democrats only three seats away from flipping the Wisconsin Senate from red to blue after Democratic Sen. Patty Schachtner's recent win in SD-10, all eyes will be on these two special elections in toss-up seats.
In the four states where teachers movements have erupted over the past few months — Arizona, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Oklahoma — educators and community members are encountering broadly similar circumstances. In all four states, residents are reacting to years of Republican-controlled legislatures, a decline in state funding for students and teachers, an expansion of private school vouchers and charter schools, and an increasingly galvanized electorate that is motivated by all sorts of other organizing efforts that have emerged since Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election. From marches, to protests, to running for office, Democratic enthusiasm and activism among teachers continues to grow and the DLCC is making sure our state caucuses and legislative leaders have what they need to win this November. Christine Marsh, a first-time candidate for office in Arizona and the state’s 2016 Teacher of the Year, is running to flip a critical district in the state Senate, where Democrats only need three seats to flip the chamber. Marsh hopes her candidacy can bring some balance to her state’s red-leaning legislature and help repair the damage done to the education system under years of Republican control.
Last year, Maine became the first state to approve Medicaid expansion by ballot initiative. Now, Utah could be next - with signatures being collected in several other red states like Idaho and Nebraska. Meanwhile, Democrats in the Virginia Legislature are working to pass Medicaid expansion in a special session. With a full-scale push by voters and continued efforts by Democrats in statehouses across the country could be just what's needed to make significant strides toward the nationwide expansion that the Affordable Care Act originally envisioned to help more Americans access the health care they need.
Only nine seats stand in between Michigan Democrats and a state House majority, and after Virginia Democrats flipped 15 seats from red to blue in one night - running on Republican-gerrymandered maps - anything seems possible for 2018. The enthusiasm was palpable as almost 6,000 Michigan Democrats convened this past weekend, highlighting Democrats' nationwide momentum at the legislative level as a harbinger of increased engagement and a possible blue wave in the Wolverine State this November. The state's candidate filing deadline is fast approaching on April 24 and the DLCC has included the state on its 2018 Roadmap.
- Democrats Think They’re Poised for Huge Victories in These 10 States [Mother Jones]
- After Walkouts, U.S. Teachers Eye Elections for School Funding Gains [Reuters]
- Ending Republican Attacks on Education [DLCC Memo]
- She's spent years keeping her mom alive. Now a state lawmaker, she's fighting the opioid crisis [Los Angeles Times]
"As a kid it was hard to believe people who said you can be anything you want to be…I saw the barriers were so much higher for some. But I'm here because of the investments people made in me. When we do that to each other, we change lives."
-- CO State Rep. Brittany Pettersen
In this moving profile, Rep. Brittany Pettersen shares why her fight against the opioid crisis is so important. As the daughter of an addict, she has had an intimate view of the struggles and challenges facing opioid addicts. Pettersen shares that when her mother asked for help, there was no place to go; that's what inspires her to lead the legislative fight to help those suffering from addiction. She is currently working on a bill that would invest in treatment and services, requiring the state's Medicaid plan to cover inpatient and residential drug abuse treatment programs.
4/24/18: FILING DEADLINE - Michigan
4/24/18: ELECTION DAY - New York SD-32, SD-37, AD-05, AD-10, AD-17, AD-39,
AD-74, AD-80, AD-102, AD-107, AD-142 Special Elections
5/1/18: ELECTION DAY - Florida HD-39, HD-114 Special Elections
5/1/18: ELECTION DAY - South Carolina HD-69 Special Election
5/15/18: ELECTION DAY - Alabama SD-26, HD-04 Special Elections
5/15/18: ELECTION DAY - Pennsylvania HD-48, HD-178 Special Elections