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Erica Payne
Erica Payne is Founder and President of the Agenda Project, a public policy education and advocacy organization that focuses on identifying and exploiting the diverse set of issues which best exemplify the fundamental differences between the progressive and conservative worldviews. The organization is most famous for its aggressive video-based campaigns such as Republican Cuts Kill and Granny Off the Cliff. The goal of the organization is to initiate a wholesale rejection of conservative principles and to provide an opening for the adoption of rational policies that encourage the humane, decent society that the overwhelming majority of Americans endorse.

Payne is also the Chief Strategist for the Patriotic Millionaires, a group of 200 high-net worth citizens dedicated to promoting policies that serve the common good including higher taxes on millionaires, higher minimum wage and less political influence for the wealthy.

Payne is the author of The Practical Progressive: How to Build a 21st Century Political Movement. She is the co-editor of ‘Make Markets Be Markets,’ an in-depth analysis of financial regulation and the U.S. banking system.

She holds an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania (2000) and a BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1991).

Entries by Erica Payne

Want a Puppet for President? Vote Scott Walker

(21) Comments | Posted July 13, 2015 | 11:45 AM

Today, the Agenda Project Action Fund -- known for hard-hitting ads such as "Romney Girl," "Republican Cuts Kill," and "Granny Off the Cliff" -- launched a new campaign with American Family Voices targeting Governor Scott Walker's ties to the Koch brothers. The campaign includes ad buys in Iowa and DC.

"Puppet for President" is the first in a series planned against Walker which will focus on his relationship with the billionaire Koch brothers. The series will paint Walker as a bought and paid for PUPPET of the GOP mega-donors.

"Americans are fed up with the influence of money has on our political leaders and they will vote accordingly," said Agenda Project President Erica Payne. "Our goal is to highlight the most egregious offenders and force them to pay a political price. The relationship between the Kochs and Governor Walker is an embarrassment to our democracy."

AP Action Fund partnered with American Family Voices for both the ad and an anti-Walker rally to be held in Wisconsin next to the location where Walker will be making his presidential campaign announcement. Hundreds of rally goers will sport 'Puppet for President' stickers to amplify the ad campaign's message.

"Walker's record shows that he is the ultimate puppet for the priorities of the Koch brothers: eviscerating protections for the environment, and eviscerating the power of working people to negotiate for better wages and working conditions," said American Family Voices President Mike Lux. "This was a natural fit for AFV because we stand on the side of working people and against big-money special...

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Scott Walker is Drowning Students in Debt

(0) Comments | Posted June 29, 2015 | 11:22 AM

The Agenda Project Action Fund, One Wisconsin Now and Wisconsin Jobs Now have launched "HOLD YOUR BREATH," a graphic ad depicting an individual drowning to symbolize the plight of Americans burdened by student debt.

By proposing to slash the budget for Wisconsin's public university system by nearly $300 million in advance of his presidential campaign launch, Scott Walker has further demonstrated that he has no intention of addressing the growing national student debt crisis. In fact, his record as governor demonstrates that he will only further exacerbate the problem. Student loan debt in the U.S. now exceeds $1.3 trillion, making it the second largest debt category, behind mortgages. This staggering debt load contributes to stagnant economic growth and presents a major barrier to young Americans attempting to break into the middle class. Research from One Wisconsin Institute shows the substantial negative impact student loan debt has on homeownership and new car purchasing in Wisconsin.

"During his tenure, Scott Walker has repeatedly gutted the Wisconsin public university system, once the best in the nation, through these egregious budget cuts," stated Agenda Project Action Fund's Director of Communications Erik Altieri, "Americans need to take just one look at what he did to higher education in Wisconsin and it immediately becomes clear that he is the most anti-public education governor in the country. His proposals have been disastrous for Wisconsin higher education and its students."

"Scott Walker has been the worst governor in America for the student debt crisis," said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. "He gutted higher education by over $600 million, kept tens of thousands from financial aid and ignored a plan to allow hundreds of thousands of Wisconsin student loan borrowers to refinance their loans at lower interest rates, just like you can a mortgage."

In Wisconsin alone, 41,000 students were denied student aid last year as a result of Walker's misplaced budget priorities. This legislative session, he proposed the largest cut in the history to the University of Wisconsin system -- after making drastic cuts and raising tuition 11 percent in his first budget.

"Scott Walker says that working people who want to get out of poverty should 'learn more to earn more.' But with his ruthless cuts to higher education and his disregard for the student debt crisis, he denies them that opportunity," said Jennifer Epps-Addison of Wisconsin Jobs Now. "Combined with his refusal to raise minimum wage even one cent and his cruel attacks on social safety nets, he has made it nearly impossible for Wisconsin families living on the brink to work themselves into the middle...

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Stupid Is as Stupid Does, Mr. Speaker

(0) Comments | Posted May 15, 2015 | 3:44 PM

At his weekly press conference, the GOP's "Crybaby in Chief" lashed out at a reporter for daring to question the role his party's cut-happy orthodoxy played in Tuesday's Amtrak accident. He called the accusation "stupid", claimed that "no money's been cut from rail safety," and then bemoaned the idea that...

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It's Ebola, Stupid

(2) Comments | Posted October 28, 2014 | 5:07 PM

They say before you have cancer, you have lots of problems; and after you have cancer, you have just one. This year's election is just like that. Before Ebola, we had minimum wage, immigration, student loans, social security, and equal pay. Now we just have Ebola. And if we don't...

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Raising the Minimum Wage

(1) Comments | Posted September 18, 2014 | 6:56 PM

This year Democrats face a grueling election challenge -- holding on to the Senate. In the face of relentless Republican obstructionism, the American public has turned against a do-nothing Congress, and because Democrats are in the majority in the Senate, they will be blamed for congressional gridlock. To combat this...

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Pelosi's High Leverage Play

(0) Comments | Posted March 25, 2014 | 12:44 PM

Long beloved by i-bankers and buyout gurus, the concept of "leverage" is just breaking into the lexicon of political strategy. That's about to change. Or rather it could change, if Nancy Pelosi and a few rich donors seize the best investment opportunity in the political marketplace before it's too late.

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Hey Sheryl: Lean On This

(4) Comments | Posted March 14, 2014 | 7:18 PM

In 2011, Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO and author of Lean In, the handbook du jour of women's empowerment, exhorted the graduates of Barnard College to change the world. "You are the promise for a more equal world," she said. "Women all around the world are counting on you."...

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Banking Committee Members Embarrass Themselves and America

(1) Comments | Posted June 18, 2012 | 3:09 PM

Last Wednesday, around 10:36 in the morning I threw up a little in my mouth.

It was a few minutes after Senator Richard Shelby, Ranking Member of the Senate Banking Committee, asked JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon -- one of his largest donors -- if he would

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What Do We Do Next?

(2) Comments | Posted August 2, 2011 | 5:11 PM


That is the only word I can think of to describe the bungling political strategy that will conclude with half the Democrats in the House and most of the Democrats in the Senate voting for total capitulation. Otherwise known as 'The Debt Ceiling Deal,' Total Capitulation will be signed...

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America... the Beautiful? Not Without Medicare

(9) Comments | Posted May 18, 2011 | 1:04 PM

Today, The Agenda Project released a shocking new video dramatizing Paul Ryan's proposal to end Medicare. The video -- which shows an elderly woman getting thrown off a cliff -- asserts that the Ryan plan will hurt elderly Americans.

Paul Ryan's budget plan, named "The Path to Prosperity,"...

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The Fight Continues

(3) Comments | Posted April 26, 2011 | 5:17 PM

The Patriotic Millionaires are striking back in a new letter to Ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee Orrin Hatch. Last week, he sent the group a letter detailing his views on tax cuts, the national debt and the budget -- and so it seems...

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Why Everybody Thinks Those "Lazy, Immoral, Inherently-Defective" Poor People Are Actually Quite Well-Off

(43) Comments | Posted April 5, 2011 | 1:46 PM

If liberals really want to know what they are up against, they should take a look at the Poverty and Inequality section of the Heritage Foundation's website. I happened to come across it the other day and spit out my coke. According to Heritage, most poor people in...

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Fighting the Enemy Within

(7) Comments | Posted March 28, 2011 | 6:32 PM

What would you do if someone told you that America was in grave danger -- that a powerful enemy with almost unlimited resources had infiltrated every level of government, the media, both political parties and the Supreme Court? What if someone told you that it was up to you to...

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Sex, Justice, and the -Isms

(74) Comments | Posted March 17, 2011 | 5:15 PM

What would you do if you learned that two weeks from now a man repeatedly accused of aggressive sexual misconduct may decide whether women have the power to confront people who discriminate against them?

On March 29th, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in Wal-Mart v. Dukes,...

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Now About the Matter of Size

(106) Comments | Posted March 8, 2011 | 3:00 PM

Tuesday women commemorated the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day -- a worldwide celebration of women's progress. The American piece of this epic story began in Lawrence, Massachusetts, when 25,000 mill workers took to the streets to protest for better wages. One particularly memorable account from...

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Old Man Winter and the Nile

(17) Comments | Posted February 10, 2011 | 12:45 PM

Watching John McCain and his Cold Warriors parry on the crisis in Egypt has been telling -- they spent the last few weeks awkwardly dithering over how to respond to a new era emerging in the streets of Cairo. Their ambivalence illustrates both how fast the world is changing and...

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The Corporation in Chief

(19) Comments | Posted January 24, 2011 | 3:40 PM

A year ago last week the Supreme Court overturned decades of precedent and granted corporations the same right to free speech previously enjoyed by individuals. The Citizens United ruling opened the floodgates to a torrent of corporate influence on our democracy. Many Americans were surprised by the decision, a few...

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The Palin Problem (It's Not What You Think...)

(146) Comments | Posted January 19, 2011 | 3:40 PM

Last week, Sarah Palin defended the tone of her rhetoric after accusations that it may have contributed to the shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords. She unrepentantly noted that at one time, elected officials used to settle scores by fighting duels. I have to admit, Sarah's right. She reminded me once...

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Don't Blame the Tea Party (at Least Not for This... )

(18) Comments | Posted January 11, 2011 | 10:22 AM

As politicians of both parties fall all over themselves denying blame for the shooting of Congresswomen Giffords and decrying the toxic political environment, one denial rings louder than any other. From Tea Party leader Sarah Palin's insistent "I hate violence" to Tea Party cheerleader Glenn Beck's "peace is always the...

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On Millionaires; Bolsheviks; Greedy, Selfish Bastards; and the President of the United States

(5) Comments | Posted December 22, 2010 | 11:49 AM

As pundits argue over President Obama's first two years in office (compromise or capitulation?) and House and Senate members prepare for a new distribution of political power, one issue more than any other offered a window into the American political landscape - the extension of the Bush era tax cut....

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