Here’s a look back and look forward at some of what’s happening around the network.
Closing Out Another Year
2022 marked huge shifts both in the Local Progress network and in the larger world. We marked 10 years as an organization and launched two public-facing brands, Local Progress and Local Progress Impact Lab. At the same time, our members led bold work in housing and public safety, while also responding to moments of crisis that threatened reproductive justice or harmed people seeking asylum. This year, our members organized their colleagues and governed collaboratively with community partners to create bold policy that advanced racial and economic justice. Learn more about all our work this year →
Save the Date for our 2023 National Convening!
In our first national convening since COVID, we brought together 360 elected officials, community partners, and allies for a few days of building community, deep learning, and collective strategizing. Members learned about innovative policies around housing, public safety, labor and more, went on site visits across our host city of Denver, and had the opportunity to meet other progressive local electeds from across the country. We’re excited to announce that we already have a date and location set for #LP2023! Meet us in St. Louis from September 6-9! See more highlights from #LP2022 here →
Localities Use ARP Funds to Pay Off Medical Debt
As localities continue to use their American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds to invest in communities, a growing number are using their funds to pay off residents’ medical debt. Cook County hopes to eliminate $1 billion of medical debt and provide some economic security to their lower income residents by directing ARP funds to a medical debt nonprofit. Similarly, Toledo recently approved allocating $800,000 ARPA funds to a nonprofit that buys up medical debt for forgiveness. Matched by Lucas County to make a total of $1.6 million, the funds will amount to $200 million in debt relief. These policies can serve as models for other cities looking to use ARPA funds to relieve economic burdens on their communities. Learn more →
Florida Housing Poll Finds Popular Support for Renter Protections
Last month, Local Progress Impact Lab released the results from a poll gauging Florida voters’ perceptions of the state’s affordable housing crisis. Polled before the election, 1,250 registered voters in Florida (Republicans and Democrats) were overwhelmingly concerned about housing affordability. The poll found bipartisan support for ballot initiatives to limit rent increases. Between the state’s abusive use of preemption and denial of local control on housing affordability, Florida is bearing the brunt of the affordable housing crisis. This poll only confirms what we already know to be true: that people, regardless of political affiliation, acutely feel the impacts of the housing crisis and overwhelmingly support policies to increase affordable housing and protect renters. Read more →
Local Progress Looks to Our Post-Election Mission
In the weeks since the election, it’s clearer than ever that our progressive governing agenda has momentum. While there were some losses, we saw people-powered, pro-labor candidates prevail. During an election that was seen as a referendum on police reform, candidates dedicated to reimagining public safety still won. And we saw many progressive school board candidates win in the midst of extremist backlash and fear mongering towards school boards. Moving from the immediate aftermath of the election and into governing, local governments are going to be the center of fights around racial and economic justice. We must continue to do what we’ve been doing this year: fighting for reproductive justice and bodily autonomy, community-led public safety solutions, human-centered approaches to housing, protections for workers, and more. Read more →
🏘 Digging Deep into Housing Work
Housing is an essential need. Across the country, people are feeling the impact of the affordable housing crisis, and Local Progress members are working to ensure that all of their neighbors have a safe, stable, affordable home. This year, Local Progress Impact Lab launched the Housing Leadership Lab, a ten-month long program for a cohort of 16 local electeds. The program works with local electeds to advance a housing justice agenda by building their policy-making skills and housing expertise while engaging in a community of practice with fellow local electeds. The program recently convened in Chicago for a 2-day learning retreat, with sessions led by Housing Steering Committee members on topics like housing finance and anti-displacement policies, as well as a site visit to an affordable housing site. Additionally, throughout November and December, Local Progress New York held a series of housing meetings across the state to work on how to address the housing crisis. They found trends across all their different localities and identified what need from the state level to protect renters and keep people in their homes. This work will all inform the deep work that we do to advance a bold housing justice agenda next year.
📑 New Report: A Role for State Attorneys General in a Just Transition
This report, from the Harvard Labor & Worklife Program and NYU School of Law’s State Energy & Environmental Impact Center, focuses on how state attorneys general (AGs) can help ensure that the shift to renewable energy supports communities and leads to good climate jobs. We are already seeing the onslaught of the climate crisis, making a just transition only more urgent. At the same time, we need to ensure that the transition leads to high-quality jobs in emerging clean energy industries, that workers in fossil fuel industries are treated fairly, and that the benefits of the transition are equitable. While the report is primarily directed at State Attorney Generals, the learnings and strategies in the report are applicable to local governments as well.
Read the report here →
💻 Exciting Virtual Training Opportunities with the Management Center
The Progressive Governance Academy has some exciting virtual training opportunities with the Management Center coming up in February! These trainings will also be open to any staff. We know that if you’re a legislator that has staff, they are critical to achieving your goals while in office, and to serving and collaborating with your community. Our trainer for the sessions has held elected office and knows personally the challenges you all face, and the training will address the specific challenges of managing staff in legislative offices. Learn more and register here →
- Choice Points for Equity and Inclusion | Wednesday, February 8, 2023 | 6 – 9PM ET
- The Delegation Cycle: From Expectations to Results. | Wednesday, February 15, 2023 | 6 – 9PM ET
The Progressive Governance Academy is jointly hosted by the Local Progress Impact Lab, re:power, and the State Innovation Exchange.