By Josephine Hearn - 12/05/06 12:00 AM EST
Change America Now, a coalition of 40 liberal groups set to push the House Democrats’ economic agenda, is targeting 86 districts around the country for press events and possibly television advertising, according to a list obtained by The Hill.
The groups will focus their efforts on 54 Republican and 32 Democratic districts, most represented by moderates, hoping to build support for four parts of the Democrats’ “100 Hours” agenda: raising the minimum wage, allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies, cutting student-loan interest rates and repealing tax breaks for oil companies.
“It is basically about branding a progressive agenda,” said Brad Woodhouse, a spokesman for Americans United, a liberal group that led the 2005 campaign against adding private accounts to Social Security. Other groups taking a lead role in the effort include the Campaign for America’s Future, USAction, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the Sierra Club and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).
Woodhouse said the groups would start as early as next week meeting with members in the targeted districts, then holding press events to talk about their findings.
The coalition will hold a series of “high-intensity press events” in January when Democrats take formal control of the House, Woodhouse said, and could venture into paid advertising later.
The groups have no central budget but their individual expenditures on press events, websites, phone and e-mail campaigns would rate in the “low seven figures,” Woodhouse said.
The groups first met last Tuesday and adopted the name Change America Now earlier this week.