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How state Democrats protect Americans from Trump’s policies

Greg Nash

Every day, it seems the Trump administration and congressional Republicans introduce a new and more dangerous policy than the day before. Many Americans are terrified they could lose their health insurance, witness the deportation of a loved one, or be stripped of their right to vote.

As speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives and chair of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC) board of directors, I have been leading the charge with other Democratic state legislators to be the firewall against these harmful policies.

{mosads}At the DLCC’s recent annual meeting, I heard from Democratic legislators from across the country whose constituents live with these fears every day. Together, we charted a course for how our state legislators must lead our party — and our nation — forward in the Trump era.


Since President Trump’s inauguration, state Democrats have overperformed in almost every legislative special election and successfully flipped four seats from red to blue. Democratic enthusiasm to fight the GOP’s out-of-touch policies is clear, and the DLCC is channeling that energy where it will have the most effect: in statehouses nationwide.

There’s more work to be done. Republican lawmakers nationwide are introducing legislation that practically mirrors Trump’s agenda. Democrats in North Carolina, Ohio, Texas and elsewhere are fighting bills meant to weaken voting rights, dismantle nondiscrimination protections and defund vital programs meant to improve people’s quality of life.

When Democrats in Oklahoma flipped two state legislative seats from red to blue, it was because our message of fighting for families, protecting core values and moving America forward in the face of Trumpism had broken through — even in the reddest parts of the country. Americans want to live in states where schools are serious about educating all children equitably, where healthcare is accessible and affordable, and where their rights are protected.

In our recent legislative session, Oregon worked hard to pass people-centered policies and once again set the standard for progress. We passed the strongest equal pay bill and the first fair work week law in the nation, made major strides in criminal justice reform, and prioritized funding for public education, from pre-K through college.

While Republicans in Congress continue to look for ways to repeal the Affordable Care Act and strip coverage from millions of Americans, we passed a critical funding package to ensure healthcare coverage for more than one million low-income Oregonians and protect access to reproductive healthcare.

Nationwide, Democrats are achieving progress at the state level. After attending the DLCC’s annual meeting, I am more encouraged than ever that Democratic state legislators are prepared to continue the fight to move America forward.

I heard from lawmakers in Nevada about their legislative successes passing critical policies to protect equal rights, healthcare and education. In New Mexico, Democrats succeeded in banning the dangerous practice of conversion therapy and enacting protections for LGBTQ youth.

Since Democrats took control of these chambers in 2016 — with help from the DLCC’s Grassroots Victory Program and significant investments from the DLCC’s Legislative Majority PAC — both states have become prime examples of what can be accomplished with more Democrats at the table.

The DLCC has created a hub of state legislative work that will secure electoral wins and drive the party’s redistricting efforts with a data-driven, multi-state campaign aimed at winning targeted legislative chambers ahead of 2020 redistricting.

This November, Oregon’s neighbors to the north in Washington state will have the opportunity to elect Manka Dhingra to the state senate in a crucial special election that will determine majority control of the Washington state senate. Ahead of 2017 and 2018 elections, the DLCC is partnering with state leaders to recruit, train and advance strong candidates who will champion Democratic priorities.

As DLCC chair, I have had the privilege to work alongside legislative leaders breaking new ground all over the country. After witnessing their enthusiasm and hearing their stories, I know that when more Democrats serve in statehouses, more Americans will benefit from progressive policies like the ones we enjoy here in Oregon.

As long as President Trump is in the White House and the Republican Congress is actively working against the best interests of millions of Americans, we need to lead our country forward from the ground up, one state at a time.

Tina Kotek is speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives and chair of the board of directors of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee.

The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.

Tags Donald Trump Government states

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