2015 Progressive Summit Preview

Harrisburg-HiltonHey progressive politicos, it’s almost time for the most exciting weekend of the year. The PA Progressive Summit is set for this Friday and Saturday and will take place at the Harrisburg Hilton.

The following is the schedule of events:

Friday February 6, 2015

1:00-5:00 pm: Progressive Change Campaign Committee Candidate Media Training: How to Organize Kick-Ass Press Events and Get Your Campaign Covered

Earned media can be one of the most important (free) resources on your campaign, especially when you are strapped for cash. Our exercise-based curriculum will help you learn hands-on how to plan and execute a great press event—and generate thousands of dollars in media for your campaign. With Lacey Connelly, Training Director, and Laura Friedenbach, Press Secretary, Progressive Change Campaign Committee. This session is free with your Summit registration, but you need to sign up with PCCC in advance.

Why Courts Matter

Keystone Progress joins the Center for American Progress in hosting an intensive session on Why Courts Matter, a CAP project seeking to better communicate the importance of filling judicial vacancies in the federal court system and promoting diverse, qualified judges to be nominated. We’ll talk about diversity on the bench and how the federal courts affect many of the issues important to you and your organization. This Friday session is for a select group interested in the status of judicial vacancies and how they and their organization can engage our Senators on this issue; a workshop on the topic is open to all Summit attendees on Saturday.

6:00 pm: Plenary Session with Cecile Richards

Harrisburg Ballroom, Harrisburg Hilton

7:30 pm: Keystone Progress Fundraiser

Drinks and appetizers with MSNBC host Krystal Ball, Democracy for America Chair Jim Dean, and Progress Now Director Arshad Hasan. $100 donation toward the work of Keystone Progress to build a Progressive Pennsylvania. Admission to the fundraiser is not included in Summit registration.

9:30 pm: Summit Afterparty with PA Senator Daylin Leach

Federal Tap House. 234 2nd Street, Harrisburg

10:00 pm: Summit Karaoke Party with Manan Trivedi

Zembie’s, 226 N. Second Street, Harrisburg

Saturday February 7, 2015

7:30 am: Summit Registration Begins

8:00 am: Breakfast reception with Bernie Sanders

$50 suggested minimum contribution.

9:00 am: Morning plenary with Bernie Sanders, Melanie Campbell and

other exciting speakers

11:00 am: Workshop Sessions I

Why Pennsylvania Must Stop Fracking: Keys to Saving the Keystone State – Allegheny (2nd Floor)

Karen Feridun, Berks Gas Truth; Diane Sipe, Marcellus Outreach Butler; moderated by Sam Bernhardt, Senior Organizer, Food & Water Watch

Over the last few years, more and more Pennsylvanians have learned about the dangers of fracking — from toxic air pollution to contaminated drinking water. Combine the inherent dangers of fracking with a failed regulatory structure and it’s clear that this practice should end once and for all. Learn more about the failed regulatory structure in Pennsylvania, opportunities for action, and what the new coalition, Pennsylvanians Against Fracking, plans for 2015.

Higher Education, Not Higher Debt: Organizing 40 Million Student Loan Borrowers – Delaware (2nd Floor)

Scot Ross, Executive Director, One Wisconsin Now; John Neurohr, Communications Director, Keystone Progress

Student loan debt has nearly tripled over the past eight years, and now tops $1.2 trillion. This session will be a robust discussion of the student loan crisis, including how we got to this point, what needs to be done about it, and how and why the 40 million student loan borrowers should be organized into a progressive voting block.

The Progressive Economic Narrative: Using Story to Organize Around Shared Goals – Harrisburger A (3rd Floor)

Fred Azcarate, Executive Director, USAction; Brenda Barron, Organizing Director, Keystone Progress

The Progressive Economic Narrative is a unique opportunity to bring a wide variety of progressive efforts together around a meaningful, shared message and goal. When used across the progressive movement, we tell a powerful story consistently through words and actions, in our communications and organizing. In this session, we will review a power point of the four planks of the narrative and engage in exercises to apply the narrative to work in our communities.

The Affordable Housing Crisis: How We Got Here and How We Solve It – Harrisburger B (3rd Floor)

Cynthia Witman Daley, Policy Director, Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania; Pat LaMarche, Supervisor of Supportive Services, Carlisle CARES

We all know that some people can’t afford a decent place to live. Why is the housing market unaffordable to so many? Why do we have more vacant houses than homeless people in Pennsylvania? This session will give you answers to these questions and solutions for ending homelessness, revitalizing communities, and addressing the shortage of homes within reach of low wage workers and people on fixed income. You can take action to ensure that all Pennsylvanians have a place to call home.

Starving the Beast: ALEC, Minimum Wage, Privatization, and how the Right is Destroying Working People – Juniata (2nd Floor)

Arshad Hasan, Executive Director, Progress Now; Donald Cohen, Executive Director, In the Public Interest; moderated by Michael Morrill, Executive Director, Keystone Progress

The American Legislative Exchange Council has been behind virtually every major right-wing state law in the past few years, including union-busting, teacher-bashing, voter suppression, attacks on immigrants, and gutting environmental and health regulations. ALEC has also led the crusade to privatize everything about state government at the expense of working people. Learn more about ALEC, who backs them and what you can do to stand in their way.

Abortion in the U.S.: The Good and the Bad, and the Local – Leland (2nd Floor)

Jordan Goldberg, Senior Counsel, Policy and State Strategies, National Institute for Reproductive Health; Sari Stevens, Executive Director, Planned Parenthood PA Advocates; Ravina Daphtary, Senior State Strategies Manager, All Above All; Sue Frietsche, Senior Staff Attorney, Women’s Law Project

This panel will describe the state of abortion rights after the 2014 state legislative session, including both harmful and progressive laws, implications for abortion care and law in Pennsylvania, and how the way we talk about abortion can change the way people think and legislators act. The panel will also discuss opportunities to change abortion access and the culture around abortion in your local community, regardless of the politics at the state capitol.

Getting Real About Single Payer: the Economic Argument for the Long Term – Metropolitan A (2nd Floor)

Walter Tsou, Secretary, Healthcare 4 All PA and Adjunct Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health at the University of Pennsylvania; Rep. Pam DeLissio, PA House 194th District; Dave Steil, former Representative, PA House 31st District

The big three fiscal issues confronting Governor Wolf are education funding, pensions, and Medicaid. No other pot of money has the billions of dollars necessary to address these issues, except potential money from a single payer health plan. A 2009 Health Care 4 All PA study of the school districts in Pennsylvania showed over $1.1 billion could be saved by school districts on employee health care costs under the proposed state single payer bills, SB400/HB1660. A major part of state pensions is for health care, which could best be controlled under a single payer plan. Since the ACA allows states to develop their own health care in 2017, now is the time to explore how single payer legislation can address the major problems facing the new governor.

Fair Shot: a 2015 Strategy for a Women’s Economic Security Agenda – Metropolitan B (2nd Floor)

Sarah Jane Glynn, Director, Women’s Economic Policy, Center for American Progress; Kate Black, Executive Director, American Women; Adam Goldman, Organizer, Philadelphia Unemployment Project; Silas Russell, Government Affairs and Legislative Director, SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania; moderated by Emily Baxter, Research Assistant, Center for American Progress

Policies that enable women and men to respond to the dual demands of work and family, promote fair treatment in the workplace, and ensure access to quality health care are essential to the overall economic stability and well-being of families. This session will educate and train new and experienced advocates on how they can best contribute, locally and nationally, to build a campaign for economic security and opportunity for hardworking women and families, with an emphasis on equal pay, raising the minimum wage, paid family leave and paid sick days, and workplace flexibility. It is a strategy and skill-building workshop to arm advocates with the tools and messaging needed to take action on these issues in order to give women and families a fair shot.

Preaching Beyond the Choir: Using Social Media to Reach Audiences Outside Your Own Echo Chamber – Metropolitan C (2nd Floor)

Alan Rosenblatt, Partner, Turner Strategies; Rep. Michael Schlossberg, PA House 132nd District

Most people who use social media are pretty good at creating and sharing content that gets their friends excited. But as progressives our goal has to go beyond that — we have to get the rest of the population psyched up and behind our ideas. Participants will learn how to 1) Create, phrase and share social media content that can influence more than just the progressive community, but a broader social media audience. 2) Not be annoying and drive other social media users nuts. 3) Message content so it applies to the general audience, not just the progressive community.

Immigration: President Obama’s Administrative Relief Policy and What It Means for Pennsylvania – Penn Harris A (3rd Floor)

Mark Lyons, Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition; Gaby Pedroza, Dreamer; Eric Edi, President, AFRICOM

President Obama’s recent Executive Action will allow as many as 4.5 million undocumented immigrants (including 55,000 in Pennsylvania) to remain in the US without fear of deportation. This session will clarify who qualifies for the program and what documentation they need for the application process. We will describe the work of PA Is Ready, a coalition of almost thirty organizations that trains immigrant community leaders to provide education about Administrative Relief and assist immigrants in the application process. The continuing growth of community leaders will strengthen our fight for full comprehensive immigration reform and pro-immigrant state legislation. Attendees will learn how they can become involved in this fight to bring the immigrant community out of the shadows.

2015 Legislative Update – Penn Harris B (3rd Floor)

Rep. Patty Kim, PA House 103rd District; Rep. Madeleine Dean, PA House, 153rd District; Stephen Bruder, Policy Director, PA Senate Democratic Caucus

What bills will move in 2015 when Pennsylvania has a new Democratic governor but an increasingly conservative legislative branch? Hear members of the 2015 PA General Assembly discuss the legislative priorities of the majority and ask about their strategies for fighting the extreme conservative agenda.

12:30 pm: Women, Politics and the Media: A Discussion with MSNBC’s Krystal Ball,       moderated by Patrick Murphy

1:45 pm: Workshop Session II

Public Health and Factory Farms: How Local Control Can Help Keep us Safe – Allegheny (2nd Floor)

Maria Payan, Executive Director, Peach Bottom Concerned Citizens Group and consultant to the Socially Responsible Agricultural Project; Michele Merkel, Co-director, Food & Water Justice; Brent Kim, Center for a Livable Future, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

The health of people in rural communities where intensive agriculture is prevalent is being threatened and ignored. Since the passage of the ACRE law in 2005, more communities are experiencing severe health impacts as industrialized agricultural production grows more intense, and where thousands, sometimes millions of animals are confined. Since both the Municipal Planning Code and ACRE recognize the responsibility of local government in zoning for health, safety and welfare, it is time for municipalities to establish comprehensive health ordinances that can protect their people.

Mobilizing Voters for Fair and Equitable Education Funding – Delaware (2nd Floor)

Susan Gobreski, Executive Director, Education Voters of Pennsylvania; Mark Spengler, parent advocate; Michael Churchill, attorney, Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia

With a new governor in office this year, Pennsylvanians have an very real opportunity to ensure that every child has an equal opportunity to learn. Panelists will share information about legislative priorities, the education funding lawsuit, and how to mobilize parents and community members throughout Pennsylvania to support fair and equitable funding for all public schools. By taking action and speaking loudly and with one voice, education advocates can influence the debate about public education in Harrisburg and help bring about a system of fair funding for public schools.

Mobilizing Millennial Voters in an Era of Disenfranchisement – Harrisburger A (3rd Floor)

Mike Burns, National Director, Campus Vote Project; Abby Kiesa, Youth Coordinator & Researcher, The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE); Alex Peay, Pennsylvania Coordinator, Black Youth Vote, and Founder and President, Rising Sons; Jared Schaaf, Erie-West Coordinator, Pennsylvania Student Equality Coalition

A generation of voters growing up in a hyper-partisan environment with shifting election laws has developed a low opinion of political parties and politicians. Yet young voters make up 24% of the voting age population and this share will increase as the remainder of the Millennial generation becomes eligible. These young voters express greater support for progressive issues — including higher minimum wages, support for public education and climate change — than older voters. Panelists will discuss describe how to overcome barriers and motivate young voters, particularly in community colleges where the majority of college students of color are studying.

The Realpolitik of Transitioning to a Low-Carbon Economy – Harrisburger B (3rd Floor)

Joshua Low, Deputy Legislative Director, Voices for Progress; Shaughnessy Naughton, President, Naughton Publishing Inc; and Executive Director of 314PAC; Steven Todd, Executive Director, Todd Engineering LLC, Director, Stewards of the Lower Susquehanna; Ritchie Tabachnick, Energy Industry Entrepreneur, Board Chair, Keystone Progress

In this clear-eyed look at how our changing energy profile affects the economy, we will explore the economic, political, scientific and environmental issue that must be addressed as the US and other developed countries migrate to low-carbon energy sources. We will focus on environmental realities and priorities, positive and negative economic impacts of our changing sources of energy, scientific and technological limitations and enablers of change, and the political barriers to progress.

Banking on the Common Wealth: How Public Banks Create Funding for a New Public-Interest Future – Juniata (2nd Floor)

Mike Krauss, founder of PA Project and founding board member, Public Banking Institute; Jeffrey D. Beck, member of PA Project Advisory Board and former banker; Eron Lloyd, Economist and Special Assistant to the Mayor of Reading, PA, and member of the Advisory Board, PA Project; moderated by Walt McRee, Board Director, Public Banking Institute and the PA Project

Experts in municipal finance, banking and citizen-group stakeholders discuss the creation of publicly-owned banks in Pennsylvania that could dramatically change the horizon of local investment, community commerce, taxation and financial support for a wide variety locally-focused community initiatives and needs. The panel will review progress already underway at municipal levels in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Reading and others, and demonstrate how Pennsylvania is leading the nation in grassroots support for this proven financial resource.

The Agenda for Women’s Health: Where This Groundbreaking Package of Bills is Heading in 2015 – Leland (2nd Floor)

Senator Judy Schwank, PA Senate 11th District, and co-chair of the Women’s Health Caucus; Abigail Hurst, Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence; Meghan Eirkson, Director of Policy, Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates

The Agenda for Women’s Health is a package of bills that changed the conversation around reproductive healthcare in the Capitol and the public sphere last legislative session, and the model has spread across the nation. This session will explore the legislative successes of 2013-2014 and lessons learned, and the opportunities and challenges that are ahead in the next legislative session. With a pro-women’s health governor at the helm, will we see the attacks on reproductive health diminish and efforts to strengthen women and families flourish? This session will explore those questions.

Why Courts Matter – Metropolitan A (2nd Floor)

Christine Stone, Chair, National Council of Jewish Women’s Benchmark/Courts Matter Campaign; Joshua Field, Managing Director, Legal Progress, Center for American Progress; Lindsay Morris, Manager of Grassroots Advocacy, National Council of Jewish Women

No matter the issue — marriage equality, voting rights, employment discrimination, environmental regulation, health care, immigration — our federal judiciary plays an important role in the lives of hardworking Americans. Panelists will discuss how the courts can shape policy just as much if not more than the legislative branch, and how many judicial seats are vacant because of unprecedented obstruction in Washington. The backlog in the courts undermines our system of justice and makes it difficult for most Americans to have their cases heard in a timely manner. The panel will discuss what you can do to be sure the court vacancies are not only filled, but filled with diverse judges.

It’s Our God, Too: Progressive Advocacy Within and Across Faith Communities – Metropolitan B (2nd Floor)

Amy Reumann, Director, Lutheran Advocacy in Pennsylvania; Hank Butler, Executive Director, Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition; Bishop Dwayne Royster, Executive Director, POWER (Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower and Rebuild)

For many years, the Right monopolized the language of faith and the ability to build relationships based on faith, which had a particularly big impact on rural and small-town Pennsylvanians. Progressive religious groups are now claiming that language and power to fight for social justice issues. This panel presents efforts within denominations and across faiths to build advocacy for a wide range of issues, from education and hunger to gun availability and climate change.

Messaging: Lessons Learned in 2014, and a Progressive Roadmap to 2016 – Metropolitan C (2nd Floor)

Patrick Oakford, Senior Policy Analyst, Economic Policy, Center for American Progress; Emily Tisch Sussman, Campaign Director, Center for American Progress Action Fund; Leslie Elder, Political, Field and Operations Director, America Votes Pennsylvania; moderated by Sarah Baron, State Advocacy Coordinator, Center for American Progress

While the governor’s race in Pennsylvania was a bright spot, overall turnout was far too low and progressive candidates failed to effectively communicate their message and policy goals. In order to appeal to a more conservative electorate in 2014, Republicans doubled down on their far-right positions on immigration, climate change, voting restrictions, and women’s economic and health issues. While these positions helped drive the intensity of their base in the short term, they risk alienating the rising American electorate of 2016 and beyond — Latinos, Millennials, African Americans, and single women. This session will explore lessons learned in 2014, offer concrete ways to transform conservative missteps into opportunities, and enable progressives to start paving the way for 2016.

Ferguson is Everywhere – Penn Harris A (3rd Floor)

Franklin Henley and Sarah Schubert, Lead Organizers, This Stops Today Harrisburg; Molly Tack-Hooper, Staff Attorney, ACLU Pennsylvania

This panel discussion will focus on the confluence of institutional racial bias, the militarization of law enforcement, “broken windows” policing, white privilege and black disenfranchisement, and their deleterious effects on communities of color in America. We will look in-depth at the Black Lives Matter movement as it is unfolding in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and across the nation. Grassroots organizers Frank Henley and Sarah Schubert of This Stops Today Harrisburg will discuss their local efforts, and ACLU attorney Molly Tack-Hooper will provide legal and historical background to the movement.

Lobbying from the Legislators’ Point of View – Penn Harris B (3rd Floor)

Rep. Patty Kim, PA House 103rd District; Rep. Mark Rozzi, PA House 126th District; moderated by Josh Shapiro, Chair, Montgomery County Commission

Back by popular demand! Lobbying is one of the best ways for engaged citizens to communicate with their elected officials. Learn directly from legislators about what works, what doesn’t (hint: asking them to do something that will cost them votes), and the most effective ways to make your voice heard.

3:30 pm: Workshop Session III

Frontline Organizing Against Shale Gas Development and Infrastructure – Allegheny (2nd Floor)

Allison Petryk, Energy Justice: Shale Initiative; Veronica Coptis, Center for Coalfield Justice; Alex Lotorto, Power Shift

Grassroots organizers from rural shalefield counties will speak about their 2015 goals, campaigns, and struggles to leverage government action on shale gas development, infrastructure, and power plants. Participants will be encouraged to constructively address the environmental shortcomings of Democratic Party leadership, the incoming Wolf administration, the outgoing Obama administration, and 2016 candidates, where a left flank can have the most impact.

Preventing and Prosecuting Child Sexual Abuse – Delaware (2nd Floor)

Rep. Mark Rozzi, PA House 126th District; Tammy Lerner, State Director, Foundation to Abolish Child Sex Abuse

Advocates engage in an in-depth discussion about child sexual abuse and how the laws in Pennsylvania are letting our children down. Pennsylvania’s archaic statute laws make it very difficult for victims to come forward and expose their perpetrator which in turn allows perpetrators to remain in our communities, victimizing additional generations of children. Rep. Rozzi will discuss his personal journey with child sexual abuse and statute of limitation reform and his pieces of legislation to deal with this issue, and Tammy Lerner will discuss the economic and health impacts.

Rural Organizing: Making Progress in Pennsylvania’s Overlooked T – Harrisburger A (3rd Floor)

Desi Burnette, Fight for Drivers’ Licenses; Dwayne Heisler, Equality Non-Discrimination (END); Dave Jacobson, Stop the Tire Burner; moderated by Alison Hirsch, Central Pennsylvania Organizer, Keystone Progress

Community organizing in rural communities and small towns often goes unnoticed. But in Central Pennsylvania, numerous organizations are mobilizing rural residents around environmental and social justice issues. The Tire Burner Team successfully worked to halt construction of the National Gypsum/En-Tire tire-burning plant in Union County, and in Bloomsburg, Equality Non-Discrimination is rallying support for a non-discrimination ordinance after a bridal salon refused to sell dresses to two women. And in Chambersburg and Gettysburg, Fight for Drivers’ Licenses educates decision-makers about the need for undocumented workers to be licensed, especially in rural areas. Take advantage of their experience to advance progressive issues in your community.

Killing the Death Penalty: What’s Next After Pennsylvania’s Moratorium – Harrisburger B (3rd Floor)

Kathleen Lucas, Board Co-Chair, Pennsylvanians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty; Vicki Schieber, Catholic Mobilizing Network; Marc Bookman, Director, Atlantic Center for Capital Representation; Kirk Bloodsworth, death row exoneree and Director of Advocacy, Witness to Innocence

Governor Wolf has declared a moratorium on executions, and while that’s an improvement, there is a lot more to do. The capital punishment system is not the deterrent it purports to be, and its application is skewed against racial minorities and the economically disadvantaged. Learn how the death penalty harms victims’ families, risks executing innocent people, wastes taxpayers’ money, and is just plain bad public policy. Hear first-hand from a mother of a murdered girl, a death row exoneree, and a legal expert who will discuss the implications of Pennsylvania having the highest overturn rate in the country.

Leveling the Playing Field: How to Make Progressive Taxation Happen – Juniata (2nd Floor)

Jeff Garis, Outreach and Engagement Director, Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center; Tim Potts, former Carlisle school board member; Rebecca McNichol, Director, CLEAR Coalition; Rep. Mike Sturla, PA House 96th District

One of Governor Tom Wolf’s four main policy priorities is leveling the playing field for working Pennsylvanians, and he campaigned for progressive tax reform affecting both individuals and corporations. Progressive options could include a refundable earned income tax credit, shifting taxes from income to wealth through a financial transaction tax or a wealth tax, and real corporate tax reform. This is the best chance in a generation to make real progress on progressive taxation.

Moving Forward with Healthcare Reform in Pennsylvania – Leland (2nd Floor)

Antoinette Kraus, Director, Pennsylvania Health Access Network; Ted Robinson, Staff Attorney, Citizen Power

As the second open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act draws to a close, additional advocacy is still needed to improve coverage and address concerns for those enrolled in the Health Insurance Marketplace. For example, Pennsylvania currently allows the Federal government to operate the Exchange, but is this the best option for consumers or should the Pennsylvania Insurance Department have a greater role? It was a step in the right direction to accept Federal dollars intended for Medicaid expansion to fund the Healthy PA proposal, but executive action is still required to provide a truly healthier Pennsylvania. We will review the steps Governor Wolf is taking and highlight the next steps for advocates to ensure the best outcomes for Medicaid recipients.

The State of LGBT Equality in Pennsylvania – Metropolitan A (2nd Floor)

Maureen Gray and Sarah Spohn, Regional Organizers, and Ammon Ripple, Statewide Faith Organizer, Equality Pennsylvania; Sen. Larry Farnese, PA Senate 1st District

Marriage equality is now the law of the land in Pennsylvania, and Equality Pennsylvania volunteers across the state made historic progress in building public support for non-discrimination and hate crimes protections. Yet it is still currently legal to discriminate against LGBT Pennsylvanians in housing, employment, and public services. Presenters will discuss these challenges, describe the lived experiences of transgender people in Pennsylvania and how they contribute to our communities and our movement. They will identify tangible ways that leaders from the faith and business communities support LGBT equality, and discuss plans for passing non-discrimination and hate crimes legislation in Pennsylvania.

Using the Gender Gap to Build Lasting Political Power for Women – Metropolitan B (2nd Floor)

Allison Kennedy, National Field Director, Women’s Equality Center; Nicole Matos, Lehigh Valley Organizer, Keystone Progress

How can we transform our work on issue campaigns that impact women’s lives into a national demand for structural reforms that address the inequality that leaves women behind in our economy and society? In this session, we will discuss strategies to build a permanent and powerful constituency of women through engagement in year-round organizing around issues and elections that provide women with opportunities to take action on the issues that most affect their families and lives.

Fox Won the Midterms: How We Fight Back – Metropolitan C (2nd Floor)

Erin Ninehouser and Dave Ninehouser, Co-Directors, Hear Yourself Think; Jen Senko, documentary filmmaker

In the last election, fear won in a landslide as the Fox “News” demographic ran to the polls in mortal panic over ISIS and Ebola. Under the influence of right-wing demagogues, millions of Americans have moved into an alternate universe of hatred and paranoia from which they are making real-world decisions based on profound misinformation — while young voters retreat into cynicism and apathy. The “Fox Effect” is spreading like a toxic fog across our politics and culture, choking out deliberative thought, civility, and simple human decency. Documentarian Jen Senko, currently working on “The Brainwashing Of My Dad,” will join us for a discussion on fighting back against the “Fox Effect” at home, at work, at church, in our organizing campaigns, and in our daily interactions and conversations.

Advancing Gun Violence Prevention in the New Political Landscape – Penn Harris A (3rd Floor)

Shira Goodman, Executive Director, CeaseFirePA; Mayor John Linder, Chester; Rep. Madeleine Dean, PA House 153rd District; Tim Daly, Associate Director for Campaigns, Guns and Crime, Center for American Progress

The gun violence prevention movement in Pennsylvania is growing — in size, determination and activity. But even with a new supportive governor, progress will be tough given the new look of the state legislature. How can we continue to grow the movement, leverage our strengths and work with other progressive partners to succeed?

Environmental Progress in Harrisburg for 2015 – Penn Harris B (3rd Floor)

Joanne Kilgour, Director, Sierra Club Pennsylvania; Steve Hvozdovich, Pennsylvania Campaigns Director, Clean Water Action; Rep. Steve McCarter, PA House 154th District

From protecting state parks and forests to tackling climate change to protecting communities from fracking, what does the changing political climate in Harrisburg mean for the environmental movement? Learn from some of the state’s leading environmental advocate and legislators about what to expect from Governor-elect Wolf and the new Legislature in 2015.

5:00 pm: Workshop Session IV

Veterans and African Americans: Necessary Allies in the Fight Against Climate Change – Allegheny (2nd Floor)

Gary Lytle, Associate Organizing Representative, Sierra Club Beyond Coal Philadelphia; Karen Melton, Climate Reality Project speaker; Clifton Bennett, U.S. Military Veteran and Organizer, Veterans for Clean Air, Sierra Club; moderated by Sue Edwards, Diversity Chair, Sierra Club Pennsylvania

Low-income communities and people of color have confronted environmental degradation for decades – experiencing first-hand the interconnections between pollution, climate change, and public health – yet whites have dominated national environmental organizations. Environmental activists must rethink strategies that may have worked in the past and recruit non-traditional allies to continue making progress. Learn how Sierra Club volunteers built relationships with veterans and African Americans, and got them involved in multiple ways in acting to stop climate change. From hikes to lobbying to testifying at hearings to demonstrating, veterans and African Americans are fighting for the planet, though sometimes they also have to fight for a seat at the environmental table.

Education Policy in the Wolf Administration: a Roadmap for 2015 – Delaware (2nd Floor)

Mike Crossey, President, Pennsylvania State Education Association; Rep. Steve McCarter, PA House 154th District

In this session, the president of the Pennsylvania State Education Association and a leading voice for education in the Pennsylvania General Assembly will discuss the critical issues facing public education today, including funding, vouchers, charter schools, cyber charters and charter accountability, testing, and attacks on education employees. We’ll also take a look at what to expect — and what to fight for — from the the Wolf administration.

Field Testing 101: Even the Smallest Campaigns Can Benefit – Harrisburger A (3rd Floor)

Kathryn Poindexter, Training and Outreach, Analyst Institute

The Analyst Institute’s work with randomized controlled experiments during electoral and advocacy programs is helping the progressive movement build a wealth of shared knowledge about best practices and cost effectiveness. But often it’s only larger campaigns and organizations that make use of these revolutionary tools. Learn when you should test and when you should skip it, and how even the smallest campaigns and organizations can use this technology effectively. Takeaways include an understanding of field testing practices in a political context, knowledge about what kinds of research have been done and research priorities moving forward. Testing is one of the most rigorous ways we have of knowing whether our strategies and tactics are effective and how to make them more so.

Beyond the Koch Brothers: the Infrastructure of the Right – Harrisburger B (3rd Floor)

Rachel Tabachnick, Fellow, Political Research Associates

Progressives lack the funding and interconnected infrastructure of the Right. But smart and efficient activism can be achieved with knowledge of Right’s infrastructure, strategies, and narratives. Beyond the Koch Brothers is a fast-paced, three-part presentation: 1. What are we fighting? Overview of conservative infrastructure with a focus on Pennsylvania, including funding and think tanks, 2. Why are we fighting? Description of what is at risk and where the Right is currently making significant inroads, and 3. How do we fight? Suggestions for fighting back against a better-funded and more interconnected conservative infrastructure.

Investing in the Transportation Infrastructure, Creating American Jobs – Juniata (2nd Floor)

Khari Mosley, Pennsylvania Regional Programs Manager, BlueGreen Alliance; Roy Houseman, Legislative Representative, United Steel Workers; moderated by Brian Lombardozzi, Vice President for State Governmental Affairs, Alliance for American Manufacturing

A piecemeal federal policy approach to investing in the nation’s decaying transportation infrastructure has cost America over 900,000 jobs – specifically, more than 97,000 manufacturing jobs – and is creating a significant drag on the economy. However, a large transportation package with significant federal investment to rebuild our underperforming infrastructure would create jobs, make America more competitive and support the basic needs of U.S. businesses and their workers.

Building the Movement for Reproductive Justice – Leland (2nd Floor)

Jasmine Burnett and Julia Johnson, Community Organizers, New Voices Pittsburgh

For women of color, access to reproductive healthcare is only one part of a vast and interconnected web of issues that are transformed through the framework of reproductive justice. Reproductive justice focuses on the human right of us all to control our bodies, sexuality, gender, work and reproduction free from violence. It addresses racial, gender, economic, political and social disparities and the ways in which they affect healthcare, abortion rights and how those issues specifically impact women of color. New Voices Pittsburgh will describe how they have been successful in organizing around reproductive justice in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia and how it can be done elsewhere.

Legalize Democracy: Making Corporations Subordinate to the People – Metropolitan A (2nd Floor)

Virginia Rasmussen, National Leadership Team, Move to Amend

Corporations govern in the United States. They are cloaked in the legal authority to define our economy, communities and political life. How did this happen in a so-called democracy and what are “We the People” doing about it? This workshop will explore the mission and strategies of Move to Amend and invite those present to join its national organizing work committed to a Constitutional Amendment firmly establishing that money is not speech and corporations are not people with constitutional rights.

Progressive Women In Office: Building a More Reflective Democracy – Metropolitan B (2nd Floor)

Rebecca Johnson, Co-Founder/Treasurer of Represent PAC!; Kerri Kennedy, Co-Founder/President of Represent!

Represent! Co- founders, Kerri Kennedy and Rebecca Johnson discuss the state of women in politics in Pennsylvania, including an analysis of the past election cycle and the current status of women in elected office. Learn about strategies to build a reflective democracy by recruiting progressive women from diverse backgrounds, helping them get elected, and supporting them in office.

Media Training 101 – Metropolitan C (2nd Floor)

John Neurohr, Communications Director, Keystone Progress; Tara Murtha, Associate Director of Strategic Communications, Women’s Law Project

This session will detail what to expect when talking to reporters, strategies to keep in mind when trying to get “earned media” for your organization, and how to use all available media platforms to get your message out. Participants will learn about building relationships with journalists and outlets, about proactive and reactive media outreach and how to think about media from the perspective of a journalist, not just from your perspective. Panelists will walk through the basics and answer all your questions.

Mass Incarceration in Pennsylvania: Putting an End to the Prison Pipeline – Penn Harris A (3rd Floor)

Barbie Fischer, Jondhi Harrell, Lucy Glysteen and Waleed Shahid, Decarcerate PA

Decarcerate PA is a grassroots campaign to end mass incarceration in Pennsylvania, reduce the burgeoning prison population, and reinvest money spent on building new prisons in our communities. Presenters will discuss the rise and effect of mass incarceration in Pennsylvania, and Decarcerate PA’s plan of action for building a movement to end mass incarceration in Pennsylvania.

The Fight for Paycheck Equality – Penn Harris B (3rd Floor)

Caryn Hunt, President, Pennsylvania NOW; Rep. Madeleine Dean, PA House, 153rd District

Fifty years after passage of the Equal Pay Act, median earnings for Pennsylvania women working full time, year-round were just 76 percent of U.S. men’s median earnings—a gap of 24 percent. Efforts to close the gap have stalled during the last decade and the gap is even larger for women of color. This session will look at the myriad factors contributing to women’s economic disadvantage, and what progressives can do to ensure fair pay for everyone.

February 4th, 2015 | Posted in Features, Front Page Stories, Harrisburg, Top Stories | 10 Comments

10 thoughts on “2015 Progressive Summit Preview”

  1. Robbie says:

    Upson Downs and jmarsak –
    The GOP candidates get crushed in statewide races. The GOP can’t win Pennsylvania unless they have chance to draw district lines that benefit them (Congress, PA Senate, PA House). Your precious GOP is broken. Accept it.
    Governor and Lt. Governor – the Democratic candidate beat the incumbent GOP Governor by double digits in a huge wave year for the GOP nationally and in PA (he is the only PA Governor to lose a re-election in modern history, and was the only GOP incumbent to lose a contested race to a Democrat in the whole country).
    Attorney General – GOP Golden Boy got clobbered in 2012. Sad. A Democrat will win again in 2016.
    Auditor General – GOP candidate lost despite outspending the Democrat by a lot. A Democrat will win again in 2016.
    Treasurer – GOP lost comfortably in 2004, 2008 and 2012. A Democrat will win again in 2016.
    US Senate – Republicans can’t beat Bob Casey. The only statewide election anybody thinks the GOP can win is Pat Toomey’s US Senate seat. It will be a close election in 2016, and Toomey either will lose or will remain the only GOPer elected statewide.
    President – The GOP hasn’t won a statewide presidential election since 1988. Pathetic. And that poor showing by the GOP will continue in 2016.
    5 of 6 statewide elected officials are Democrats now. That’s a terrible performance by the GOP. At least 5 of 6, and maybe all 6, will be Democrats after the 2016 election.
    Wake up and accept your failure.
    US Senate

  2. Larry says:

    Will there be a contest to predict which Dem will be charged with a crime next?

  3. Bruce from Lancaster says:

    I am just so SAD I will be missing Mans Karaoke!

  4. Village Elder says:

    Messaging will be critical in the coming campaigns. Democrats need to weave a coherent theme from the strands identified in this ambitious set of concerns. Perhaps we can stress how interconnected and interdependent we all are: each child’s education benefits all of us through increased productivity; all insurance programs give us shared risk including universal health insurance; minority progress adds to our nation’s prosperity and social cohesiveness; raising wages means increased demand and higher profits for business; environmental protection benefits all of us who share the same nest.

    The GOP stresses how we are all individuals seeking maximum advantage competing against all other individuals in a system of free enterprise but they ignore all the cooperative linkages that make that economic system operate and the vital role that government plays in sustaining it: security, law, infrastructure, fiscal and monetary services, etc.

  5. Upson Downs says:

    Oh, my. What a comprehensive list of lunacy. Might as well call it the “USSR II Agenda” with a cross-current of “The Sky is Falling 2015”.

  6. Jackb1977 says:

    I’m hearing Josh is going to run in 2016, just not against Toomey. The word is Josh will challenge Kane in the primary for AG.

  7. steventodd says:

    Please stop by Harrisburger B (3rd Floor) and check out Shaughnessy, Ritchie, Joshua, and Yours Truly. We will explain how serious both the stakes and opposition are, in “The Realpolitik of Transitioning to a Low-Carbon Economy”

  8. Phil Perspective says:

    Ready for Josh Shapiro:
    He’s already backed out.

  9. jmarshak says:

    They should all just look out the window. The current state of Harrisburg is a great example of progressivism in action.

  10. Ready for Josh Shapiro says:

    Join us in our effort to nominate Josh Shapiro to be the next United States Senator from Pennsylvania.

    Like “Ready for Josh Shapiro” on Facebook at:

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