| Get the Picture

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While citizen leaders choose to devote their time, energy and financial support to the American Promise movement for a variety of reasons, nearly all of them decide to engage because they want to leave a better legacy for the future. 

Many citizen leaders—such as Port Clinton, Ohio, chapter leader Ellen Greene Bush and recent college graduate Devin Hiett—believe an end to big money in politics is the reform needed to unlock the gridlock in Washington and ensure clean air and water for all Americans, a reason that’s particularly relevant this week as we mark 50 years of celebrating Earth Day. 

Others want to help create a healthier America for their grandchildren. That’s what motivates Minnesota chapter leader Vicki Barnes, who recently helped lead a major victory in her state—an amendment resolution introduced to the Minnesota Senate by two Republican senators. If passed, this resolution will make Minnesota the 21st state to formally call on Congress to return an amendment for ratification. 

In the April election next door in Wisconsin, 17 communities overwhelmingly voted yes on a referendum saying only humans should have inalienable rights and money isn’t speech, making a total of 163 Wisconsin communities that have called for the amendment. 

While each of us is currently called to stay at home to protect the public health of our communities, we also have an opportunity to consider the many reasons we are each driven to contribute to a stronger, more resilient political system that represents all of us rather than the wealthy few. Fueled by our individual motivations, we can work together to fix our dysfunctional political system and restore the promise of our democracy. 

Easy Action Item

Azor Cole
State Manager, American Promise
| State Spotlight: Minnesota
Progress in Minnesota: How Citizen Leaders Helped Advance a GOP-Introduced Amendment Resolution in the State Senate 

Recent successes in Minnesota demonstrate the power and value of the citizen-led movement for a 28th Amendment to end the domination of big money in our political system. In the last few months 
Minnesota citizen leaders have transformed a simple meeting with a local legislator into Republican-introduced legislation in the Minnesota Senate. Who wrote the legislation? Citizen leaders themselves, in collaboration with their elected officials! 
Read More
How Big Money in Politics Stymies Action on Clean Air and Water

As the world marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day this month, people around the globe are witnessing how big money in politics slows progress on climate issues such as access to clean water and protections on air quality.
While the majority of Americans want action on these issues, we don’t see those desires play out in Washington. Read more on how big money in politics influences environmental concerns, and why this motivates members of our community to work toward the 28th Amendment. 
How We Will Build Support in Congress to Win the Amendment 

Building cross-partisan support in Congress is a fundamental pillar of our strategy to win the American Promise Amendment. Recent citizen-led wins in Minnesota showcase this strategy in action: Local outreach led to statewide legislation; when passed, this state legislation puts citizen pressure on members of Congress to act. 

Our strategy is working: We need the votes of 67 Senators and 290 Representatives to pass an amendment; to date 47 Senators and 214 Representatives have signed on in support. Learn more on the new Congressional Action page on the American Promise website.
Read More
Ready to take action in your community? American Promise is both a local and national network: American Promise Chapters bring our movement to your community, and help build a national network to create cross-country support for the 28th Amendment. Learn more about starting, or joining, a chapter.
Join or Form an American Promise Chapter
| What We’re Tracking This Week

From The Fulcrum: Two newly released academic studies found that voting by mail does not help one political party more than the other and does not incubate fraud — but it does generate a bit more turnout. Vote by mail has gained new attention during the COVID-19 pandemic as an option to protect public health. Read more.

From ProPublica: Two private equity-backed medical staffing companies have spent millions on political ads since the U.S. declared a public health emergency while cutting benefits for emergency room doctors and other medical workers. The TV and radio spots from TeamHealth and Envision Healthcare are aimed at pressuring lawmakers working to address “surprise billing,” where patients get stuck with huge medical costs from out-of-network providers. Read more.

From NBC News: A new poll from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal shows that a majority of U.S. voters support election reforms that would allow vote-by-mail this fall. The coronavirus has raised concerns about the public health threats of in-person voting. Read more.

From Rolling Stone: In a special issue focused on the climate crisis, Rolling Stone details the dangers of “the disease of greed” and its threat to our planet. While 73% of Americans see climate change as a pressing national issue, U.S. leaders have taken little action amid powerful lobbying by the oil and gas industry, among others. “We see what unrestrained, unregulated financial strength has done to our society and the world. The oil companies are following the same playbook as other corporate leaders — the drug companies, gun manufacturers, sugar and fast-food giants — who knowingly spread disease and death,” writer Jann S. Wenner says. Read more.

From Wisconsin United to Amend: During recent voting, 17 Wisconsin communities passed resolutions in support of an amendment to restrict political spending. With the latest additions, 163 Wisconsin communities with almost 3.2 million residents have voted to call for an amendment. Read more.

From the Anchorage Daily News: In this editorial, Sharman Haley and Gershon Cohen of Alaska Move to Amend question whether the federal government’s pandemic relief package will benefit those who most need the assistance. “Our concern here is that our current political system biases policy away from the interests of ordinary citizens and toward the interests of the wealthy and well-connected, including mega-corporations,” they say. Read more.

The Juneau Empire: In an opinion article, American Promise citizen leader Joe Geldhof of Juneau recalls the role of Alaska’s citizens in shaping its government, and calls on voters to support the upcoming Better Elections Initiative that will be on the fall ballot. “Our democracy in the Last Frontier is being corroded by the influence of big money,” he says. “We need a renewal of citizen participation in Alaska and every other portion of our union.” Read more.

From the Center for Responsive Politics: U.S. Senate races are attracting record amounts of campaign cash as both parties look to gain control. Through the first three months of 2020, Democratic challengers outraised their incumbent Republican opponents in four Senate races predicted to be close contests. Read more.

| Upcoming American Promise Events

Given current recommendations for avoiding large gatherings, most upcoming American Promise events are being rescheduled or reimagined as digital/online events. Watch the American Promise calendar for the most current information.

Thursday, April 23, “Big Money in Politics: A Short Introduction”: Join this Zoom meeting with American Promise North Texas leader Ann Drumm, who will share a 20-minute overview of big money in politics followed by 10 minutes for questions. 7 p.m.-7:30 p.m. CT. Find meeting login information online.

Saturday, April 25, “Big Money in Politics: A Deeper Dive”: This Zoom meeting with American Promise North Texas leader Ann Drumm provides more information about how we got to the point where money has such a corrupting influence on our political system. 10 a.m.-11:30 a.m. CT. Find meeting login information online

American Promise empowers Americans to act together to win the 28th Amendment so people, not money, govern in America.
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