THE BLOG

Purple-to-Blue: Fighting for State Legislatures

03/28/2013 05:22 pm ET | Updated May 28, 2013

Over the last three years, I have grown sick and tired of watching radical Republican legislatures pass extreme and down right offensive legislative agendas. Even more frustrating was to watch these bills passed in states that voted for President Obama or their Democratic Senator -- All that Democratic support for federal candidates, and yet nothing we can do at the state legislative level. This is unacceptable and it is time that progressives fight back.

It's time we had a program geared for states where we know we have some Democratic support, but need help in figuring out how to leverage that at the state level. There are more than a few "purple" states out there that the presidential campaign focused on for the top of the ticket, but so far have missed opportunities down ticket. It's time for a program that doesn't take its eye off the goal just because its designed to function on one election cycle.

So that's exactly what we're starting now. Democracy for America is kicking off our "Purple-to-Blue" project to hold state level Republicans accountable. Purple to Blue is a national, multi-year effort to win state House and Senate chambers across the country by making so-called "purple" state legislative seats decisively Democratic.

The message is simple, if Republicans continue to pass outrageous legislation that, for example, requires unnecessary and invasive transvaginal ultrasounds or if they undermine our most fundamental right -- the right to vote -- they will be held accountable. Republicans across the country are on notice: If you continue to wage war on women, working families, and voting, progressives will vote you out at the ballot box.

Due to these radical bills, we're launching the Purple to Blue project by focusing on this year's off-year elections in Virginia's House of Delegates. In particular, we are focusing on five key "purple" districts currently represented by Republicans.

The bills these Republicans have supported in the legislature are particularly heinous. The America I know and love, is not one that forces women to go through a medically unnecessary and invasive procedure just to exercise their own free will, and yet that is something Virginia Republicans have supported. I also spend every day fighting to encourage people to participate in the electoral process, and most importantly telling them that their vote matters. Yet these same Virginia Republicans have pursued legislation that directly undermines our voting process. It's despicable and it is time to hold them accountable, and we have just the candidates to do it.

As a part of the launch of this project, we are proud to announce with our first round of Purple to Blue endorsees, Jennifer Boysko and John Bell. Jennifer Boysko is a long time DFA member running in Virginia's 86th District in Northern Virginia. She is a life-long activist, was the Virginia State Director of Governor Howard Dean's Presidential campaign and co-founded Dulles Area Democrats following a DFA training in 2005. We know that she has the drive and know-how and grassroots support of our membership to win this seat!

Our second Purple to Blue candidate is John Bell, a retired Air Force officer and Canvas Captain for the Obama campaign who has trained hundreds of volunteers in door-to-door canvassing. With this grassroots organizing background, we know John will have the ground game to hold his right-wing opponent accountable.

Virginia is just the beginning. This is all part expanding our 50 state strategy efforts. After our initial investment in Virginia, we plan to expand this program out to states like Pennsylvania, Michigan and other states that are blue with very red state legislatures. And we won't leave just because we won or lost in November. This is a program to build power in these states. These key "Purple to Blue" states over the next several years will be our way to fight the radical right-wing groups like ALEC that have hijacked state legislatures across the country.

You can support our Purple to Blue here.