2016 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 19, 2016

10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Working Together: Building Power Through Nonpartisan Partnerships at the Federal and State Level

Led by Laurel Mcleaish (PA State Education Association) and Keely Monroe (Alliance for Justice)

This session will explore the Pennsylvania’s campaign finance law and its Lobbyist Disclosure Law and discuss the different roles and functions of 501(c)(3)s, 501(c)(4)s, and PACs, and the rules on how these types of organizations work together.  The session explores the legal separation necessary between affiliated organizations, the fundraising constraints of each organization, the lobbying distinctions and permissible electoral activity for each organization.  It also explores issues related to digital advocacy, such as websites, Facebook, and Twitter. We will also be covering a broad overview of the Federal Lobby Disclosure Act. Sign up required even if you’ve already registered for the Summit.

10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Finance Training for Progressive Candidates & Campaign Staffers

Led by Progressive Change Campaign Committee

Learn the basics of campaign fundraising, from building your donor list to making the ask. Our exercise-based curriculum will cover effective call time, best practices for hosting house parties, and online fundraising, plus much more! This training will be best for candidates running on all levels, from local to statewide seats, and their campaign staff, although all are welcome! Sign up required even if you’ve already registered for the Summit.

Field Training for Progressive Campaign Staffers & Activists

Led by Progressive Change Campaign Committee

Learn the basics of connecting with voters, from phone banking to door knocking. Our exercise-based curriculum will cover the math, organizing skills, and event planning tips you need to talk with voters, plus much more!

This training will be best for campaign staff at all levels, from local to statewide seats, and activists, although all are welcome! Sign up required even if you’re already registered for the Summit.

12:00 p.m. Katie McGinty Fundraiser, Crowne Plaza Hotel, 23 S. 2nd St., Harrisburg

3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Why Courts Matter

Led by PA Budget and Policy Center

Join the Why Courts Matter – PA Coalition and Center for American Progress to learn about the importance of filling judicial vacancies in the federal courts and what you can do to promote the nominations of diverse, well-qualified judges to lifetime seats on the bench. We’ll talk about how the federal courts affect many of the issues important to you and your organization and the importance of the 2016 Election when it comes to the Supreme Court. Sign up required even if you’re already registered for the Summit.

6:00 p.m. US Senate Debate

Katie McGinty, Joe Sestak and John Fetterman have all confirmed that they will attend.

7:30 p.m.  Keystone Progress Fundraiser

Harrisburg Hilton

Drinks and appetizers with US Senate candidates and other special guests to be announced. $125 donation toward the work of Keystone Progress to build a Progressive Pennsylvania. Admission to the fundraiser is not included in Summit registration.

8:30 p.m. Post-debate: A Late Happy Hour for Mayor John Fetterman for US Senate.

Ad Lib Bar, 1st Floor of Hilton. $25.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

7:30 a.m. Summit Registration begins         

9:00 a.m. Morning plenary with exciting speakers

9:00 a.m. Dauphin Democratic Party endorsement meeting   

Pennsylvania Ballroom, Hilton

10:45 a.m. Summit Workshops – Session I

Why Success in Pennsylvania on Gun Violence Prevention Matters. A discussion of why the PA gun violence prevention movement is critical not only to the health and safety of PA but to the broader gun violence prevention and progressive agendas nationally. This panel will discuss the ways we can get involved in reducing gun violence in PA.

New Constitutions for Pennsylvania. Asserting and Protecting our Rights. This session will explore how rights-based work is being driven into fundamental constitutional frameworks — at the local and state level — across Pennsylvania. Participants will hear about how over 100 PA communities have stopped corporate harms by passing local laws that assert and protect their rights. Participants will also hear about how those local laws elevate the rights of communities above the claimed “rights” and privileges of corporations; how those local laws assert and protect the rights of nature; and how those local laws challenge the authority of our state government to “legalize” and permit harmful corporate activities to be forced upon PA communities that do not want them.

Why Progressives Should Care about Economic Development. For the first time in a century, America’s largest cities are growing faster than their suburbs. Results range from the revitalization of declining neighborhoods to transit investment to disaffection among suburbanites with long commutes and rising gasoline prices. Sound economic development – controlling sprawl, preserving open space, improving agriculture, and pushing urban redevelopment – is the key to Pennsylvania’s competitive advantage and future financial success. Learn how smart economic development policies can lead to stronger and healthier cities, greater income equality, more attractive and stable communities, and improved educational systems and employment opportunities.

8 Legal Rules for Online Advocacy that Everyone Should Know. Can a 501(c)(3) lose its tax status over a careless tweet? What happens when a politician “likes” your organization’s Facebook page? Social media can help an organization shape public policy, but it comes with its own set of rules and regulations. Many nonprofits are hesitant about engaging in online advocacy, but knowing these rules can strengthen your work! Join Alliance for Justice for an interactive training that will clarify the rules for using social media, blogs and email as part of your advocacy toolkit. Trainers will give concrete examples and invite the audience to discuss hypothetical situations to develop a deeper understanding of the rules that apply to online advocacy.

Lobbying and the Legislative Process. This session will consist of an overview of the legislative process in Pennsylvania and how to influence the legislative process. This overview will explain how laws are actually passed (or stopped) and not the version found in textbooks. The session will also provide an understanding of how to lobby the members of the General Assembly in each phase of the legislative process.

Women of Color Building Power in Rural Pennsylvania. Join us to hear about the journey Keystone Progress and women of color in North Central PA are engaged in to build power that can make lasting change in local communities. This session is an opportunity ask questions, share your own challenges and successes, and identify strategies in supporting and connecting people of color in rural PA communities.

Why Courts Matter. 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.

Fear is Trumping Reason: Will the Lizard Brain Rule in 2016? Deprogramming America from the Fox “News” Fear Factor. There’s a lizard lurking inside each one of our brains. When it dominates, guns fly off the shelves after the latest mass shooting, Trump’s appeals to xenophobia and racism are rewarded with a spike in the polls, and a majority of Americans accept the cruelty of refusing desperate refugees as “common sense.” The co-directors of the HearYourselfThink Project bring our years of grassroots organizing and advocacy experience to this challenge of reclaiming America’s brain from the grip of right-wing media. Participants in this workshop will learn how to deprogram people who have been trapped inside the “Fox Bubble” and take away effective strategies to diffuse and diminish the influence of right-wing media over our politics and culture.

Redistricting Reform in Pennsylvania. As a result of gerrymandering, politicians ensure reelections by choosing their voters rather than the Democratic ideal of voters choosing their leaders. As a result,  control of Congress is systematically biased 7.5% in favor of the Republicans. Reform efforts so far have made little progress in Harrisburg. However, with the Pennsylvania legislature controlled by the Republicans and a Democratic majority in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, our state is in a unique position where both parties have something to gain by making our elections more fair. Come and learn what is being done to seize this opportunity.

The State of Latinos in the US: Importance of the Latino Vote. Learn how to engage, empower and mobilize Latino voters in Pennsylvania. According to 2010 U.S. Census Bureau and the Pew Research Center, the fastest growing demographic population are Latinos/Hispanics who are projected to achieve 30% of the U.S. national population by 2050. This workshop is organized by Latino leaders who led the effort to form Pennsylvania’s first statewide Democratic Latino Caucus.

12:00 p.m. Lunch Program – The Progressive Economic Narrative

1:00 p.m. Summit Workshops – Session II

The Path to Merit Selection of Judges. Electing judges has resulted in jurists’ campaign coffers filled by the very same lawyers and parties who will appear before them. A national record of over $16 million was spent in last fall’s Supreme Court races. There have been too many scandals in PA’s courts. While there are many good judges, it is time to consider a system that is actually designed to get the most qualified, fair, impartial, and diverse judiciary.

Abortion at the Supreme Court this Year: What It Means for Us. This panel discussion will acquaint attendees with the constitutional and health policy questions before the U.S. Supreme Court as it reviews the most important abortion rights case in over 20 years: Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole. This case challenges a Texas hospital admitting privileges and facilities regulation law which threatens to close all but a handful of abortion facilities in the nation’s second largest state.

Contesting Corporate Power and Building the Democracy Movement. We will briefly review how the corporate form acquired extensive legal powers since the 19th century resulting in “We the People” being anything but self-governing. We will explore what is involved in that work: (1) amending the U.S. Constitution to eliminate the illegitimate constitutional “rights” claimed by corporations and deny that money is a form of protected speech under the First Amendment; (2) building a democracy movement rooted in social, economic and ecological justice. We’ll look at commitments to anti-oppression and solidarity organizing, political education, and the well-being of human and earth communities.

Fix It: The Economic Case for Single Payer. Progressives have for years understood and supported the idea of a Single Payer Health Care System but have struggled to get enough tools to make this a reality. The business community which carries a lot of clout with our legislators have been mostly silent on the issue, even as they struggle with the costs. We will show part of “Fix It: Health care at the Tipping Point.” This is a movie that can educate and help us gain support from the business community.

From Obama to Trump: How Immigrants and Refugees are used to score political points by the Left and the Right. This summer we saw a huge increase in anti-refugee and anti-immigrant rhetoric from presidential candidates, mayors and public figures across the country. Using mis-information to feed fear and hatred, this rhetoric has resulted in attacks on immigrant and refugee communities in PA and across the country. On the other hand, while preaching tolerance and acceptance, President Obama has deported more people than any other President in history. Just this year, the Department of Homeland Security has begun targeting refugee families from Central America who are fleeing horrible violence for fast-track deportation. In this panel we will unpack the myths surrounding immigration policies and how immigration is used to score political points at the expense of real people and their families.

The Whole Cycle is Dangerous: Stories from the Life Cycle of Fossil Fuels and the Need for Climate Justice. What is “Climate Justice?” Environmental activists from around Pennsylvania will discuss current environmental issues and why some issues get picked up by traditional environmental organizations, and why others—especially issues that affect black and brown people—get ignored. We will cover various issues including about the Brunner Island Coal Plant emissions, the S. Philly oil refinery and the plans to turn Philly into an oil and gas zone.

School Funding and Beyond: The School Funding Lawsuit and the Role of Standardized Testing, Charter Schools, and “Accountability” in Pennsylvania’s Public Education System. The panel will discuss the school funding lawsuit, the current role of standardized testing, charter schools, and “accountability” in Pennsylvania’s public education system, and how to organize our communities to support research-based policies and fair funding for PA’s public schools.

Parent Power: Mobilizing Moms Around Issues that Matter. Parents are on the frontline of many of the biggest issues facing us in Pennsylvania, from demanding food justice to paid sick days. Yet they are busy, and can seem like an elusive audience to connect with. In this workshop we’ll 1) explore successful tactics for reaching and engaging parents, and 2) brainstorm new opportunities for engaging parents in Pennsylvania in 2016 and beyond.

Countering the War on Facts. Throughout its history, the “New Right” has rewritten history and science to support its policies on issues ranging from separation of church and state to climate change. The result of 40+ years of this is a nation not only polarized by differences in opinions, but unable to agree on basic facts. In this sesssion, we will dissect five specific, widely believed but nonfactual myths including: 1) where they came from and how they were disseminated; 2) the underlying and sometimes not-so-obvious purposes they serve; and 3) how we can better counter these myths.

2016 Legislative Update – What bills will move in 2016 when Pennsylvania has a Democratic governor but an increasingly conservative legislative branch? Hear members of the 2016 PA General Assembly discuss the legislative priorities of the majority and ask about their strategies for fighting the extreme conservative agenda.

Relational Organizing: A strategy for lasting change. This session will focus on organizing for long-term change. How do we move from mobilizing to the ultimate goal of organizing? Gain key insights and tips to build strong relationships with volunteers, leaders and partners. Join us as we explore how developing relationships is a foundation for building power.

2:30 p.m. Summit Workshops – Session III

Building a Movement for Reproductive Justice in Pennsylvania. This session will provide background, context and tool for organizing reproductive justice in PA. For 12 years, New Voices for Reproductive Justice had been successful in addressing the health and well-being of black women, girls and LGBTQ people.

Uniting Pennsylvania for Health Justice, Decarceration, and a Just Transition. A newly formed cross-state alliance between the Center for Coalfield Justice, the Human Rights Coalition, HOPE for La Belle – a community group of La Belle residents – and Put People First! PA is bringing together all of these impacted communities – from returning citizens coming out of SCI-Fayette, to the families of those currently incarcerated, to residents of La Belle and workers in the prison. Harnessing the power of a statewide organizing approach rooted in building solidarity among divided communities and using the lenses of health and human rights, the Fayette Health and Justice Campaign aims to win alternatives to mass incarceration and extraction in La Belle and beyond. Hear directly from leaders who are La Belle residents, family members of those currently incarcerated at SCI-Fayette and others. Find out more about a new approach to building statewide power.

Applying MLK’s Principles of the Beloved Community to Today’s Activists. Every activist needs a new paradigm to be successful. Under the present system, organizations are formed to support a single cause. They often do not cooperate with other groups with similar goals. Even if they achieve some “successes,” the general society does not change significantly. Poverty and racism continue unabated. The new paradigm isn’t new at all. It is the BELOVED COMMUNITY, articulated more than fifty years ago by Martin Luther King, Jr.

Attacks on Unions: Why We Should All Care. This session will explore how the attacks on both private and public sector unions, and the overall targeting of unions, affect non-union people as well as union members. The presenters have many years of experience fighting these attacks and will tell their stories of how to fight those who want to take away union rights. People who are not union members are encouraged to attend.

Choosing Your Issues. What do we work on next? With so many problems facing your community, which solution will generate the most power and support to make real change? Learn a proven process to select the issues that win real improvements in people’s lives, give people a sense of their own power, change the relationship of power in your community and not burn out your leaders! Discover how Keystone Progress leaders in Erie have utilized this checklist and process to identify the best best issue to work on in their community.

The York City Experience: Engaging the Community in Public Education. This panel will focus on the campaign to stop the corporate takeover of York City’s schools. Panelists will discuss the multi-year and multi-faceted effort to defeat plans to charterize York City’s public schools. That effort included internal organizing of educators in the school district, detailed internal improvement plans, media strategies, community organizing, and coordination with local clergy and other local leaders.

Maximizing Your Impact: Data-Driven Strategies for Issue Campaigns. Panelists will discuss methods of identifying and aggregating supporters using simple analytical tools and demographic information. Attendees should learn basic strategies for identifying voters likely to support their issues and how to systematize long-term engagement through data tracking. Professional staff will learn how to improve their targeting skills, while volunteer-level attendees will learn long-term engagement strategies and build credibility with data-driven campaigns and coalition organizations.

The Progressive Economic Narrative: Using Story to Organize Around Shared Goals. The Progressive Economic Narrative is a unique opportunity to bring a wide variety of progressive efforts together around a meaningful, shared goal. When used across the progressive movement we all 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.

Will Pennsylvania have a Budget? And how progressive will it be? By the time the Progressive Summit starts Pennsylvania may or may not have a final budget for 2015-2016. This panel will look at the central disputes between left and right on budget and taxation politics in order to understand where stalemate comes from and how to overcome it in a progressive way.

Best Practices for Social Media Use, including how to use it for Opposition Research. It seems as if, every day, there is a new social media catastrophe in politics. Unfortunately (well, or fortunately, depending on your perspective!), the vast majority of those catastrophes are preventable, and caused by human stupidity or error. In this session we will walk you through the dumbest things ever done on social media, what went wrong, and how you can avoid becoming another slide in this presentation.

Fracking and the 2016 Elections. In the past year, New York and Maryland have said no to fracking. More than 555 studies now cumulatively make the case for a ban. Climate scientists have told us to leave 80% of fossil fuels in the ground. In spite of all of that, the Wolf administration has gone all in on fracking. Members of Pennsylvanians Against Fracking’s steering committee will discuss the ways it pressured Wolf since he was elected and how, in our first year, we have built a coalition of over 100 organizations, businesses, and institutions. We will discuss how to confront politicians, especially Democrats, in this election year.

4:15 – 5:45 p.m. Attorney General Debate

Featuring Josh Shapiro, Stephen Zappala, and John Morganelli.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

9:00 a.m. Keystone Progress Leadership Assembly

For KP members only

No charge, but pre-registration necessary, even if you’ve registered for the Summit.

2:00 p.m. – Leadership Assembly Closes

17 Responses

  1. ADV-

    I agree that Morganelli was quite compelling in the debate. He was well prepared (and well researched against Josh).

    My understanding is that Morganelli has some very conservative positions (some Dems consider him to be a Republican).

    However, he gave a strong performance, and along with Zappala passed the threshold test of: knowing what the job is.

    Josh keeps trying to change the definition of what the AG job is, to make it fit his resume (much like trying to hammer a square peg into a round hole).

    He been saying the AG’s office “is a mess”, implying bad behavior by Kane. During this debate, Josh claimed it was “bureaucratic mess” in need of an administrator.

    Sounds like Josh is applying for Chief of Staff or Executive Director or Office Manager. If that’s the job he wants, he should help Zpppala or Morganelli get elected and then submit his resume for the job.

  2. And the Zappala girl said “do,duh-do, duh-Do, duh-do, duh-do-duh-duh-do, I’ll take a walk on the wild side. “

  3. Shapiro got nailed on his contributions from Students First (a pro-charter/privatization/profit-first PAC). Morganelli nailed Shapiro to the wall. Knowing PSEA’s leaders, they’ll probably endorse Shapiro. Ha! As a result,

    I just became a Morganelli supporter! Rendell/Shapiro is a no-no for me. Morganelli kicked ass at this “debate” Shapiro was afraid to even engage DA Morganelli. Morganelli has guts and tells it like it is. Refreshing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Update:

    I checked the campaign finance reports.

    “Friends of Josh Shapiro” received TWO donations of $25,000 each from “Students First Pac” (school privatization group).

    The first donation was in 2012.
    The second donation was in 2015.

  5. Whistleblower-

    Yes. It was epic.

    Morganelli hit Shapiro on having filled out a smart voter survey in 2004 that Josh was against gay marriage (undercutting Josh’s claims of on the front lines). Josh countered with his votes on workplace discrimination, but completely avoided answering about his position in the survey.

    Morganelli, then nailed Josh for taking a $25,000 donation from a charter school.

    When Josh brought up his gig on the crime commission, Morganelli said he’d been on the commission and it was bullshit. He said all they do is redistribute funds. Then he doubled down that Josh had been appointed in April, and attended only 3 meetings.

    Josh showed some giant balls by touting how judges/prosecutors got exposed for their racist emails WITHOUT GIVING KANE AN OUNCE OF CREDIT.

    McGinty’s revolving door to $$$

    I think the money issue is a wash. Neither McGinty or Toomey would attack each other on it much.

  6. Morganelli OWNS SHAPIRO!!! How refreshing to witness someone finally calling Josh on his bullshit!

  7. David Diano:

    I agree to some extent, except that independent voters and Dems likely expect Toomey to be coming from the billionaire political class. A big disappointment may occur when Dems/independents find out about McGinty. I never get mad with Repubs because I expect them to disappoint me and screw us. But I especially hate it when a Dem slyly smiles at us and ends up stabbing us— in the back—the unkindest cut of all. She should just be honest about her revolving door. Toomey already has ads which will hurt her, but not him, as I said, even though he is playing the same game. And, I totally agree with your last sentence.

  8. McGinty’s revolving door to $$$-

    Actually, Toomey really can’t bring up McGinty’s money sources, because he’s in the same boat with his donors.

    Toomey will continue to say he’s for things that he’s voted against and not get called on it by the voters.

  9. McGinty said Follow the Money! What! She’s the only candidate for whom we need to follow the money. She’s a real hypocrite. She also came across as very insincere. This was not a good forum (it was hardly a “debate”) for her. Sestak and Fetterman did a good job. Someone better bring up her revolving door because Toomey certainly will—by then it will be too late for Dems. She’s our weakest candidate.

  10. Whistleblower-

    It was basically a tie, with everyone saying progressive stuff.

    In a way it was a “win” for Sestak because no one called him out on his incredible bullshit. When the topic was “unions” Sestak touted his union voting record, but no one called out how he paid his staff less than minimum wage and treated them like slaves. It was really a lost opportunity by the other candidates.
    Sestak claimed he’s for gay marriage, but when I met him in 2006, he was unequivocal: “Marriage is between a man and a woman”. Zero hesitation.

    McGinty was on her game otherwise, and had some great lines.

    John’s applause seemed to grow as people got to know him and his story in Braddock.

    John’s gone after McGinty on her ties to fossil fuel industry in the past, but didn’t say a word during the discussion of big money in politics.

    John was the most honest, but he needs to land some punches.

  11. Diano who do u believe won the debate. Keep in mind I already know you won’t say Sestak??!! Have fun dude

  12. Any of the commenters on this site going? The Fetterman party looks like it has the best potential for a good time

Comments are closed.

  • Reader Poll: Have You Requested a Mail-In Ballot?

    • Yes. I enjoy mail-in voting. (50%)
    • No. I am going to the poll. (50%)

    Total Voters: 121

    Loading ... Loading ...
Continue to Browser


To install tap and choose
Add to Home Screen