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The Progress Texas Monthly

Today is our organization's first anniversary and we want to thank you for a terrific first year! 

In 2011, we set ambitious goals to hire staff, mobilize Texans and lay the foundation for a progressive movement in our communities. We beat all our expectations because of you and a won a few impressive victories along the way. In just a few short months, Progress Texas went from no members, no website, no social networking site, no campaign and no victories to now over 30,000 active members from across the state, with thousands continuing to join each month. You all have contributed to stopping the state from endorsing a racist relic, holding state and local elected officials accountable and telling Washington to stop the obstructionism. We have won every campaign we have launched, hired 3 full-time staff members and have plans to expand even more in 2012 in order to keep up with our growing community. 
And we are just getting started!

As we move into a critical year for our organization and our state, we want to launch a new monthly update. We will do this once a month to show you all the things you have accomplished and share with you all the whole scope of our Progress Texas team. Of course, if you haven't taken part in these campaigns yet, please take a few seconds and take action and make sure your elected officials hear your voice.

Actions and Victories

Texans For A Fair Judiciary


Progress Texas launched a campaign to create public outcry to fill the 6 judicial emergencies in Texas. In 36 hours, Progress Texas members put pressure on the Senate to confirm Judge Gilstrap and fill one of the 6 emergency districts in Texas. Our courts are overburdened. There are still 2 nominees stuck in the bureaucratic gridlock. We are now working with a coalition that includes Texans for Public Justice, Texas Watch, La Fe, Texas Freedom Network, Texans Together, National Council of Jewish Women and more to confirm Gregg Costa and David Guaderrama as judges and fill two more emergency districts before June 1.  TAKE ACTION



Better Care, Not Bottom Lines

Working with Texas Well and Healthy and Texas Table members, Progress Texas assisted a campaign to tell Kathleen Sebelius and the U.S. Health and Human Services agency that insurance companies in Texas should spend the legally required amount on actual health care and not pad corporations' bottom lines. We won this campaign - just last week, HHS announced Texas' waiver request from these common sense changes was denied, ensuring Texas consumers will have their premium dollars go to better care, not bottom lines. TAKE ACTION


Texans Value a Balanced Approach


Conservative leaders in the Texas House and Senate forced a cuts-only approach that slashed funding for education, health care and essential community services. Texans can't afford another cuts-only approach to our budget. Texas has a structural deficit problem and our state budget shortfalls are not going to just disappear. When the Texas Legislature returns for the 83rd session, Texas will face another budget shortfall. We are building a micro-targeted list to help build pressure district by district on budget issues and promoting social services for the 2013 session. TAKE ACTION

Payback Texas Taxpayers


In January, Progress Texas launched a campaign calling on Governor Perry to return the $2.7 million in taxpayer expenses he used for travel -related security costs during his failed presidential campaign. Using existing news reports, we estimated these figures ourselves and moved the numbers to the media and supporters. In less than a week, over 4,500 people have signed our petition calling on Perry to return the money, and our findings and our narrative are generating stories across Texas. TAKE ACTION


ALEC Exposed


In late 2011, Progress Texas began developing our report, ALEC Exposed in Texas. Using a combination of original research and existing research from the Center for Media and Democracy, as well as research done by the National Institute on Money and Politics and People for the American Way, we detailed the influence of ALEC on Texas laws and lawmakers. Our report explains ALEC's corporate agenda, outlines the money trail from ALEC corporate members to Texas lawmakers, and highlights how legislators take ALEC's corporate-approved "model" bills and implements them in Texas. The report is our opening salvo in a multi-year effort on ALEC in Texas. Going forward, we are going to determine how many taxpayer dollars have been spent on travel to ALEC, comb the campaign finance reports of candidates to track ALEC money coming into Texas, and engage with issue partners in Texas to create micro-reports on specific issues topics with ALEC.


The Future and Next Steps

While we are still unsure about who is running, where incumbents and challengers will be running for office and when those elections will be held, we want to ensure you that we are watching and already preparing. In 2012 we will shine a light on corporate money infiltrating the electoral process and overshadowing real Texans who are working for real solutions. We will be releasing new reports on ALEC and making sure conservative special interests are being tracked and exposed. We will release polling and research for every person to see and use. Progress Texas will make sure you know about opportunities to engage disenfranchised voters and mobilize folks in your community to help make a difference. We will hire more staff to hold conservatives accountable, not just in Austin or Washington but in every city and every neighborhood. We will continue to win and together we will build a larger progressive community because you will speak up and continue to show your support.

We have big plans this year and are excited to be there with you to make 2012 even more successful than 2011.

P.S. Help us make 2012 even more successful by joining the Rapid Response list. It is free and simple. As a Rapid Responder you will receive a few extra emails a month about events in your area and sneak speaks of our upcoming actions and campaigns.