Progressive Maryland

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Progressive Maryland is the Maryland state chapter of USAction.[1]

Rejuvenation for 2015

Progressive Maryland, a longstanding left organization in the state with deep labor ties, is coming out of a somewhat fallow period and adding significant staff just as progressives wake up to the reality of a Republican executive in this allegedly blue state.

Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014 members old and recent gathered at the IBEW Local 26 headquarters in Lanham to mark the organization’s addition of an assistant director and a commitment to organize in Prince George’s County.

Kate Planco Waybright, Progressive Maryland’s executive director, acknowledged to a crowd of more than 100 that the organization had a reputation as a Montgomery County-oriented outfit, and vowed that Prince George’s would get equal attention.

Waybright’s new No. 2 is Larry Stafford, Jr., who had served as leader of the Prince George’s Young Democrats and had a gaggle of associates in the seats at the meeting.

Waybright and Stafford said the poor turnout in Prince George’s and Montgomery – largely blamed for the loss of the governor’s race – was galvanizing their efforts. Arguing for renewed organizing starting now, Stafford said “we can’t just wait for another election.”

Progressive Maryland will resume the fight for paid sick leave for all workers (twice turned down the legislature) as well as reforms to eliminate tax loopholes enjoyed by out-of-state corporations and reversing the weakening of the estate tax. Also on the agenda: a redistricting commission, a continuing battle to reverse the Citizens United decision and a concurrent fight for public financing in state elections.

Metro Washington Labor Council President Jos Williams fired up the crowd with his statement that with the election of Republican Larry Hogan to the governorship, “the [deep Blue Maryland] bubble was burst” and the task now is “reclaiming our state.”

Waybright said that the Republican victory “will make our work a little more difficult” but suggested it could increase participation as well. Stafford, introducing himself with an account of how a supportive, active government had enabled him to get an education despite a tough background, warned “there are forces that are trying to take all of that back.”

Progressive Maryland counts 23,000-plus individual members and 30 affiliated organizations and has offices in Silver Spring and Baltimore. Eleven union locals, the DC Building and Construction Trades Council, the state and two county NAACP organizations, several peace and justice organizations, Maryland NOW and several religiously based social justice groups are among the organizational affiliates.[2]

Backing Ben Jealous

The Washington Socialist July 2018, by Progressive Maryland Executive Director Larry Stafford, Jr.

[Tuesday] night, a Progressive earthquake shook Maryland’s establishment politics to their core. Ben Jealous’s primary victory puts Maryland within striking distance of the progressive governor we deserve and need. His victory marks the ascendance of a movement that’s grounded in progressive values, led by women and people of color, to shape a new direction for politics that breathes new life into the electoral system, in our state and beyond.
At Progressive Maryland, we’ve been on board with Ben from the start – and he with us. Back in December, he let us know where he stands on key issues: the $15 minimum wage, workers’ right to organize, women’s rights and Medicare for All. As with all of our candidates, before we knocked on a single door, we shared his public commitment to us on these issues with you. And as we celebrate his victory, it’s worth remembering what he told us then:
I’ve been a civil rights leader my whole life and it has been a lifetime of bringing together diverse coalitions across the lines that are supposed to divide us like race, class, religion and so on. Talking to Marylanders from the place that they are coming from, whether they are a white police officer dealing with violent crime in Baltimore City or a black working mother from Montgomery County, you have to first recognize and acknowledge their struggle and it is only from that place that understanding and change can happen.
This is what sets Ben apart, and makes him a true leader. Like Progressive Maryland, he hears the voices of ordinary Marylanders, the only way you can: by knocking on doors and listening to the struggles, hopes and dreams all across our state. He then puts this experience into practice on issues that really resonate with people.

Ben’s primary victory represents a shift in the balance of power in Maryland politics and within the Democratic Party away from the old, corporate consensus that the only kind of change that’s possible is incremental. He is bold, and so are we.

It’s proof that Progressives are now organized enough, and strong enough, to win statewide elections. People in the state have often speculated that Maryland was more a moderate state, a more establishment Democrat-driven state. Ben’s win totally proves that theory wrong.
It also shows that the path forward for progressive values and working people’s values is through organizing and creating meaningful alliances between populist progressive, white constituency groups and progressive people of color, who want to vote for people who knows the issues of our communities and who will put forward bold solutions that meet the needs of our constituency.
Ben represents the success of this kind of coalition, and how it can beat establishment politics. And it also represents to me, as an African-American man, that we are strong enough to win in Maryland, and in the nation.

Maryland’s Democratic electorate has long been significantly been driven by Black voters. The fact that Maryland’s Democratic contender for governor is now African-American is powerful. But even more powerful is that Ben’s campaign is not just based on racial identity. It’s based on the real values he puts forward, the types of ideas that he has, and the vision that he’s putting forward for our state. These are the values and vision that Maryland needs now.

We’re clearly witnessing a changing of the guard, especially in the Maryland General Assembly, where the Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Senate Finance Chair, Senate Pro-Tem and Senate Health and chair of the Environmental Affairs Committee were all unseated by progressive challengers.

Regressive incumbents like these have held back progress in Maryland on the minimum wage, sick leave, criminal justice reform and other policies that matter most to ordinary people, so these victories open the door to real change in our state.
Ben now stands poised to lead this progressive wave. We’re proud of him, and proud of all the progressives who made strong showings across our state – such as Cory McCray, Mary Washington and Antonio Hayes in the State Senate, Mark Elrich and Brandy Brooks in Montgomery County, and Krystal Oriadha and Juwan Blocker in Prince George’s County. At Progressive Maryland, supporting candidates like these demonstrates our commitment to doing politics in a different way – now, in November and beyond.
Ben has a bold vision, one that’s right for Maryland. Onwards to victory, Ben. You demonstrate when you really tap into our state’s progressive electorate, you can win with progressive ideas: go bold.

Board of Directors

As of July 2018;[3]

As of 2013;[4]

Staff

As of July 6, 2018;

Working Families Legislative Conference

On Saturday, January 19, 2001, Progressive Maryland and the Campaign for America's Future co-sponsored an event — The Working Families Legislative Conference — designed to link local Maryland issues with a national progressive agenda. The conference will focus on key local and national issues including: Affordable Housing, Health Care, Living Wage, Public Financing of Campaigns, and Afterschool Programs.

The conference took place at Martin’s Crosswinds, 7400 Greenway Center, Greenbelt, MD from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

Speakers listed included Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend (likely), Congressman Ben Cardin, Congressman Elijah Cummings (likely), Robert Borosage, from the Campaign for America's Future, State Senator Chris Van Hollen, Delegate Mark Shriver, and Delegate John Hurson.

The Working Families Legislative Conference was part of a series of regionally based Next Agenda conferences, "representing a new kind of partnership between CAF and state-level progressive organizations — unity coalitions which are coming together around a progressive action agenda for their state and for the nation".

“We are proud to be helping to co-sponsor this remarkable conference,” said CAF co-director, Roger Hickey. “Through our collaboration with state-level citizen groups, like Progressive Maryland, we are able to rally support for an economic recovery agenda that works for states and for the country. This mission was important before September 11. Now it is essential.”

“We must organize at the grassroots, build power in localities and states, and create in theses ‘laboratories of democracy’ the formula for economic success in Washington, DC.” said Sean Dobson, one of the leaders of Progressive Maryland.[6]

"Progressive Maryland" event, Silver Spring

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Tues. Sept 20, 2011, Progressive Maryland, convened a "Take Back the Budget Debate", Silver Spring Civic Center, Ellsworth and Veterans Place, Silver Spring

Turn Your Anger to Action on the Economy and Federal Budget - Come, spread the word, and bring everyone you can!

Panel speakers included : US Rep. Donna Edwards, MD State Senators Roger Manno and Jamie Raskin, Center for American Progress Senior Economist Heather Boushey, and Institute for Policy Studies Fellow Karen Dolan. Moderated by Progressive Maryland Board President and NAACP’s Elbridge James.[7]

"Town Hall" event, Prince George

On Monday Nov. 7, 2011, Progressive Maryland, convened a "Shift the Budget Debate", at Prince George's Town Hall in Largo.

Panel speakers include : US Rep. Donna Edwards, MD State Senator Paul Pinsky, Delegate Aisha Braveboy, Institute for Policy Studies fellow Karen Dolan, activist and former state senator David Harrington (moderator), Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker, Fund Our Communities coordinator Jean Athey.

Progressive Maryland is a member of Fund Our Communities, Bring the War Dollars Home,* a Maryland Coalition affiliated with the New Priorities Network, and co-sponsor of the Town Hall event . Please join us for this critical opportunity to share ideas and address the disgraceful federal debt deal, unending wars, and political outrages of recent years.

Following the speakers above will be audience Q&A, then breakout groups to strategize and plan action to help fix the crisis of priorities in Washington and Annapolis and demand policies that are right, fair and just.

Please mark your calendar Nov. 7, invite everyone you know, and join our impressive panelists (above), and myself. You'll be glad you did.

PM Board President is Elbridge James.[8]

Socialist blogger

Woody Woodruff, a production editor for the Washington Socialist, also moderates the blog for Progressive Maryland.[9]

External links

References