Spring 2019 Newsletter
Montana Legislature Rapid Response
Montana Progressive Democrats (MtPD) put together a team to support progressive
bills being sponsored by legislators during the 2019 legislative session. We also
opposed some of the more nefarious bills that were introduced. With input from the
Progressive Caucus and research from our own team, we organized phone calls, email,
texts, and whenever possible, personal visits to committee hearings and floor sessions.
MtPD knew it was going to be a tough session going in with Republicans in control of all
committees and both chambers of the legislature. At transmittal, here were MtPD
- over 24 bills worked on by the team thus far, with info disseminated via email and
- 20 bills recommended to support, 4 bills opposed.
- outreach to about 13,000 Montanans; in future, plans to expand team and outreach
to rural and red districts. (Thanks, Barb Merrifield, for tracking the numbers.)
We’ll update MtPD membership with more statistics as they become available. Here’s
one take on the outcome of the session: https://themontanapost.com/blog/2019/04/28/
Legislators were very appreciative of the efforts made on their behalf by the Rapid
Response team. And although truly progressive, forward-thinking bills had a rough time
this session, the calls, texts, email and visits made a difference in passing some decent
legislation and blocking some of the more odious bills. A big shout out to the 40
volunteers and ten Progressive Caucus members who helped make this happen.
MtPD is working on a legislative scorecard ranking all the state senators and
representatives according to their progressive voting records. We’re picking 10-12 bills
from various disciplines: environmental, Native, campaign finance reform, social justice,
labor, women’s rights… If there are particular bills you’d like to see included, we’ll
certainly consider them. Email your suggestions to [email protected].
And stay tuned.
It seems like every cycle we say that this may be the most important election of our
lifetime, but it really isn’t an exaggeration in 2020. From our sociopath president to our
state legislators, any hope for real change rests with activists
like you. MtPD will being doing outreach, both urban and rural, to recruit, train,
campaign for and elect progressive candidates. Please give us your thoughts and work
with us to accomplish these goals. It’s not too early to start.
MtPD Annual Meeting
About 60 people attended our annual meeting in Helena on
March 9, the same weekend as the Mansfield/Metcalf dinner.
The focus was on current Rapid Response actions with an eye to the future: the 2020
elections (including recruitment, training and campaigning for progressive candidates).
Speakers included: Sen. John Tester, Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney, Montana Democratic Party
Executive Director Monica Lindeen, Montana House members, Mary Ann Dunwell, Tom
Winter, Jessica Karjala, Marilyn Ryan, Tom Woods, Kim Dudick, Connie Keogh and
Andrea Olsen. Former U.S. House candidate John Heenan also addressed the crowd.
Subjects ran the gamut from Medicaid expansion and energy/climate change issues
(including reining in Northwestern Energy) to living wage and marijuana. Rapid
Response doubled-down on progressive bills moving from one chamber to the other.
State Democratic Party Needs an Environmental Partner
It has been more than two years since Montana Progressive Democrats became a
partner organization of the Montana Democratic Party. What our organization noticed at
various party conventions held each summer since our inclusion is a serious lack of
environmental input. Individuals may advance officer candidates and planks to the
platform dealing with climate change, wilderness, energy, recycling, etc., but there
hasn’t been a coordinated effort to make the Montana Democratic Party greener. A
environmental partner organization would go a long way in making this happen.
It isn’t a difficult process. Bylaws and officers are needed, and then the party’s executive
board votes on accepting the new partnership organization. If you or your environmental
organization is interested in playing a role in shaping the Montana Democratic Party’s
policies, contact Deana Dewire at [email protected] for more information.
Please Pay Your Dues and Thanks for Staying Involved
To continue the work we’re doing and build for the future, we need your support. Annual
dues are $25.00 a year or what you can afford. https://secure.actblue.com/donate/mtprogressives
We’re Looking for a Treasurer
You would be a member of the MtPD Executive Board. It isn’t heavy lifting but there are
reports that need to be filed, especially during the campaign season (as we donate to
progressive candidates). Please contact us at [email protected].
Our heartfelt thanks to outgoing treasurer extraordinaire Linda Gillison.