Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Voting rights across the country are under threat as GOP lawmakers continue introducing voter suppression laws that will disenfranchise millions of American voters in the coming elections. The Senate must act with urgency to protect our democratic institutions. Check out this week's memo for more on how to push for critical federal voting rights legislation, some updates from our endorsed candidates from 2022, an exciting grant opportunity led by our incredible volunteer-run Reentry Work Group, and so much more.


Our focus this week is on protecting voting rights as GOP lawmakers continue to introduce voter suppression laws across the country. Today, the United States Senate begins debates around a voting rights package that combines two critical bills, the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. This package passed in the House with a party-line vote last week, but Republicans are expected to use the filibuster to block the urgent legislation in the Senate. We need to fight back. 

If we don’t act now, the GOP will continue to pass racist laws that disenfranchise millions of American voters in the coming elections. Our Maryland Senators have voiced their strong support for these voting rights measures, and we’re calling on them now to push for this legislation as hard as they can in the coming days. Please take some time to call Senator Cardin, Senator Van Hollen, and President Biden and urge them to do everything in their power to overcome the filibuster and pass these critical voting rights protections. You can find the Senate and White House switchboard numbers here, along with a petition from our allies at Declaration for American Democracy. 

Our democracy is at stake, and there’s no time to waste. 

In Solidarity, 

The Progressive Maryland Team


Thank You for Being Part of Progressive Maryland!

We can’t do any of this work without you! We need your help to successfully advocate for progressive policy during this year’s legislative session. Will you consider joining one of our issue task forces? These task forces are where our leaders and members gather together to strategize about how to achieve progressive change in major issue areas like health care, criminal justice system reform, drug policy, and environmental justice.

Sign up here to indicate your interest in our issue task forces and one of our organizers will be in touch with more information!


Quick Actions:


2022 Maryland Elections

We may be deep in the middle of winter, but this year’s elections are at the front of our minds! We have just over five months until the June 28 primary elections, and we need your help to build support across the state for progressive candidates who aren’t afraid to fight for change. Sign up here to volunteer with our election team as we ramp up our electoral outreach and work to transform Maryland politics!

Don’t miss this week’s Throwdown Thursday! Join our team this Thursday, January 20 from 6–8pm to make calls into Baltimore County on behalf of our endorsed candidate Ruben Amaya. Help us build momentum for Ruben’s campaign for State Delegate! We’ll provide training, support, and a fun experience. Click here to sign up and receive the Zoom link!

Note to Candidates: If you’re running for office, have already filed for candidacy, and are interested in being considered for our endorsement, you may complete a candidate questionnaire here.

🗳 Candidate Corner

We’re celebrating the newest addition to our New Era electoral slate! Progressive Maryland is proud to endorse Krystal Oriadha for Prince George’s County Council in District 7. Learn more about Krystal’s advocacy background and check out her platform on her campaign website.

Read an excellent op-ed by Tiffany Jones, our endorsed candidate for Democratic Central Committee in District 45 (Baltimore City) in Maryland Matters. In Health Care for People, Not for Profit, Tiffany highlights how recent Hopkins Medicare Advantage cuts harm former Hopkins employees and demonstrate the problems with the ever-growing privatization of healthcare.

Januari McKay, our endorsed candidate for State Delegate in District 23B (Prince George’s County) has a profile in The Intersection Magazine. Read the piece here: Januari McKay Wants Government to Work for All In Prince George’s County.

The campaign launch event for Logan Endow, our endorsed candidate for State Delegate in District 43 (Baltimore City), is this Saturday, January 22 from 2–4pm. RSVP here to attend!


Statewide Updates

🦠 Omicron COVID Surge

The ongoing COVID surge continues to overwhelm our hospitals, healthcare workers, and testing capacity — not to mention our schools and other public institutions. Maryland’s health system is struggling to keep up with growing case numbers, positivity rates, and a flood of patients.

Sign this petition telling Maryland leaders they need to respond to this crisis in a way that reflects the gravity of this situation. We need:

  • More support and resources for hospitals, caregivers, public health departments, schools, and mental health services.
  • Increased vaccine outreach and additional community vaccination sites; funding for free testing sites and testing kits.
  • Greater efforts to procure and maintain adequate supplies of PPE in order to uphold requirements for safe workplaces. 
  • Mask mandates and vaccine mandates to protect workers in every economic sector and in all of our communities.
  • Eviction moratoriums and programs to prevent anyone from losing their homes during this crisis.
  • Free health care and financial aid for individuals and families who are struggling as a result of the pandemic.

The federal government website for requesting at-home COVID-19 tests is finally live. You can request 4 free at-home tests for your household by going to https://www.covidtests.gov/. Be sure to check your county government website for additional local test kit distribution sites.

📣 Economic Security

We aren’t giving up the fight to pass Build Back Better and implement investments to help everyday Americans and our communities. Our national affiliate People’s Action, together with other movement allies and progressives in Congress, is weighing options for moving ahead on the BBB agenda. We simply can’t give up the push to lower Rx prices, expand Medicare, win paid family and medical leave, and renew the Child Tax Credit program that has already done so much to reduce child poverty. Take action today — call your Senators to tell them what the child tax credit payments meant for your family and urge them to extend the program. If you want to get more involved, contact: Malcolm or Patty.

⚖️ Justice Task Force

Our volunteer-led Reentry Work Group (REWG) is soliciting proposals for projects designed to support returning citizens in Prince George’s County. An individual donor has generously provided funds to support programs that facilitate the reentry process — projects eligible for support may address services including (but not limited to) those associated with employment and job training, physical and mental health care, and transitional housing. The grant application process is now open, and the REWG will accept proposals from businesses, nonprofit organizations, faith-based organizations, and community organizations through Monday, February 28. Grants in the range of $10,000 to $20,000 will be awarded following a committee selection process and will support one year of work. You can find the application details and additional information here

🖤 Drug Policy Task Force

We’re gearing up to support a number of critical drug policy reforms in the Maryland General Assembly session, including a reintroduced version of the paraphernalia decriminalization bill that Governor Hogan vetoed last year, measures to decriminalize cannabis in Maryland, and a Good Samaritan law that will help reduce overdose deaths. Sign up here to join our team in advocating for urgent drug policy reforms!


Local Chapter Updates

Anne Arundel Fair Elections:

A Fair Elections Fund resolution was introduced in the Anne Arundel County Council earlier this month, and we’re building momentum for our efforts to implement a more democratic campaign finance program in Anne Arundel! Join our Fair Elections Task Force tomorrow, Wednesday, January 19, at 6pm for a text bank to contact Anne Arundel County voters — RSVP for the text bank here. Can’t make it tomorrow evening? We’ll also be hosting a Fair Elections phone bank next Wednesday.

Progressive Harford County:

Join Progressive Harford this Thursday, January 20 at 6:30pm for a virtual town hall with Stephen Puopolo, candidate for the Harford County Board of Education and Democratic Central Committee — register for this week’s town hall here. Progressive HarCo happy hours are canceled through the remainder of January in response to the ongoing COVID surge. We’ll continue to monitor the situation and re-evaluate this decision for February. In the meantime, we advise members to only attend the County Council hearings if they plan to offer testimony — there isn't currently an option to testify virtually, although we are advocating for that option to be made available.

Progressive Montgomery:

The Montgomery County Council is holding a public hearing TONIGHT at 7pm to receive public feedback on its recently-introduced police accountability bill (Bill 49-21). Our partners are asking MoCo residents to demand that the bill be dramatically amended to strengthen its terms about community oversight. If you live in Montgomery County, please fill out this action alert to tell our leaders we need stronger police disciplinary boards and sign up here to join a watch party of the hearing this evening. We invite Montgomery County supporters to get involved with our statewide Justice Task Force — contact Patty for more information.

Progressive Prince George's:

Please give a warm welcome to our newest staff member, Devane Wright! Devane joined the Progressive Maryland team last week as our Prince George’s County organizer, fresh off her tremendous success working on Edward Burroughs’ electoral campaign for PG County Council. We’re thrilled to have Dev join us on staff, and we can’t wait for you to get to know her!


State and National News:

The 2022 Maryland General Assembly session kicked off last week, and things are moving quickly. Business interests are well-represented, as is to be expected, but there’s good news too — a progressive contingent is steadily growing. These legislators are reliably pushing for bills that address progressive priorities including healthcare equity, the climate crisis, tenant protections, and criminal justice reform. Check out our weekly BlogSpace roundup of state & federal news for more on what legislative developments we can expect in Annapolis and (gulp) the current state of things in Congress. 


Events From Progressive Maryland & Our Allies: 

Tuesday, January 18 | 7:00pm (virtual) — Join our allies at JUFJ and the Silver Spring Justice Coalition tonight to watch the Montgomery County Council public hearing on a new police accountability bill (Bill 49-21) and amplify community concerns about the need to strengthen this legislation. Register for the watch party here.

Wednesday, January 19 | 6:00pm (virtual) — Join our partners at CASA for a special live screening of the new documentary On the Verge of Eviction: How Hispanic and Black Mothers Are Fighting to Stay In Their Homes. After the screening, CASA will host an interactive panel with the film producer and a number of CASA members featured in the documentary. Register here to attend (& don’t worry if you see a conflicting date on this webpage, the screening has been rescheduled).

Wednesday, January 19 | 6:00pm (virtual) — Join our Fair Elections team to text voters in Anne Arundel County about the importance of creating a Fair Elections Fund this year. RSVP here to join

Thursday, January 20 | 6:00–8:00pm (virtual) — Join our election team and volunteers from across Maryland for this week’s Throwdown Thursday! We’ll be making calls and sending texts for Ruben Amaya, our endorsed candidate for state delegate in D10 (Baltimore County). RSVP for Throwdown Thursday here

Saturday, January 22 | 2:00–4:00pm (virtual) — Logan Endow, our endorsed candidate for state delegate in D43 (Baltimore City), is hosting his campaign launch this Saturday! Logan will speak about his platform, and we’ll hear from local organizers and community members about why this race is so important for building progressive power in Baltimore. Register here to attend. 

Tuesday, January 25 | 7:30pm (virtual) — Our Revolution Maryland is hosting a 2022 MD General Assembly Session Town Hall featuring progressive state legislators Sen. Jill Carter, Del. David Moon, Del. Jen Terrasa, Del. Julian Ivey, and Del. Sheila Ruth (a member of our New Era electoral slate!). RSVP here to attend


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