2017 in Review

Constitutional amendments aren’t easy. They require national consensus, and the overwhelming, strong, persistent push from the people. That’s what we’re building with American Promise. Our cross-partisan, 50-state campaign of local and state networks wins resolutions and drives support in Congress. It’s built on previously successful amendment campaigns, and it’s working now.

In 2017, our Citizen UpRising lit up more states.

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19 States now have formally called for the 28th Amendment. In 2017, we followed our leadership role in Washington State and California ballot initiatives with a big win in Nevada, which passed a strong legislative resolution to become the 19th state to endorse and call for the 28th Amendment. We launched a ballot campaign in Massachusetts for a first-in-the-nation non-partisan Citizen Commission for the 28th Amendment. 700 volunteers helped gather 95,000 signatures from Massachusetts citizens.

In Wyoming and Florida, hundreds of American Promise citizen leaders moved ballot initiatives forward to the signature collection phase, and will drive toward similar 28th Amendment ballot initiatives in 2018 and 2020.

American Promise members and senior American Promise staff testified, met with legislators, and drove grassroots support for 28th Amendment resolutions in more than 20 additional states.

To make sure our elected representatives follow these resolutions, American Promise members initiated and completed 100 meetings with members of Congress and state legislators in both major parties. And 4,177 American Promise citizen leaders sent 12,600 letters and emails to state legislators and members of Congress!

By year end, 42 Senators and 125 Representatives are co-sponsors of 28th Amendment bills. That’s good but we’re just warming up. We need 67 Senators and 290 House members to move the Amendment to the States for ratification, and we are right on track. We launched our 2018 Candidate Pledge program to drive these numbers even higher next year.

EXAMPLE: NEVADA BECOMES THE 19th STATE!

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In 2017, Nevada citizens used American Promise to succeed:

  • Our legal team worked with Senator Nicole Cannizzaro and legislative counsel to write the resolution that was introduced in the Nevada legislature;
  • With local and national partners, we organized and led a citizen empowerment training in Carson City, NV to prepare volunteers for a lobby day at the state legislature;
  • American Promise members in Nevada sent nearly a hundred letters to legislators and to local media;
  • American Promise leadership testified in the Nevada legislature twice;
  • We met with Nevada Senate and House leadership and a cross-partisan group of legislators;
  • American Promise executed a targeted digital media campaign;
  • We earned media attention in the Las Vegas Review Journal;
  • We followed up victory with our candidate pledge campaign to make the resolution stick.

 

AMERICAN PROMISE IN 2017: BY THE NUMBERS

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American Promise relies on the active participation of our members: volunteering, paying dues, pushing legislators, speaking up, organizing, serving and spreading the word. We are here to inspire, support, and empower our citizen leaders so they can get the job done.

At the beginning of 2017 (our second year), we had 5,000 committed citizen leaders ready to move the 28th Amendment forward. Today we have 143,000 citizen leaders in 50 states.

When 2017 began, we had 500 sustaining members (those who contribute dues monthly or annually). Today we have more than 4,000 sustaining members in 50 states. Click here to help these members support American Promise.

Our members range from 18 to 94 years old; we are from all 50 states; we live in urban, suburban and rural environments; and we represent a wide range of political beliefs including progressive, conservative, Republican and Democrat.

American Promise held more than 100 live public education events in 20 states and distributed educational videos with Pulitzer Prize-winning author and American Promise Advisory Council member Doris Kearns Goodwin and others so that thousands more Americans could learn about this movement. 

We started in 2016 with eight prototype American Promise Associations in local communities in five states. We now have 20 local American Promise Associations in 14 states. To start an American Promise Association, email our Citizen Empowerment Coordinators Azor Cole at azorc@americanpromise.net, or Wambui Gatheru at wambuig@americanpromise.net

Tampa.with_Jeff.JPGIn 2017, more than 5,000 American Promise citizen leaders signed up for our national training calls and received follow-up Action Sheets. Redistribution of the recorded national training calls reached thousands more.

We provided 60 citizen empowerment trainings to members of American Promise Associations, and more than 1,200 citizen leaders participated in monthly national training calls.

1,100 American Promise citizen leaders initiated more than 120,000 conversations about the 28th Amendment. Click here to sign up to be a Citizen Leader in your community.

7,000 citizen leaders watched American Promise-produced background videos.

 

ACTING LOCALLY, AND CONNECTING CONGRESS AND THE PEOPLE

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In 2017, we added to our cross-partisan Advisory Council, including Republicans Jack Doty and John Pudner, and progressives Ben Cohen and Nina Turner, as well as legal scholars such as Lawrence Lessig and Tamara Piety.

In our national calls, we featured US Senator Jon Tester; US Senator Tom Udall’s senior counsel;  US Representatives Jamie Raskin and Jim McGovern; food and democracy visionary Frances Moore Lappe; former Alabama-based GOP political consultant and Director of Take Back Our Republic, John Pudner; Ohio State Senator and Our Revolution president Nina Turner, and experienced American Promise members such as Laura Knipmeyer in New Jersey, George Penn in Wisconsin, and Vicki Barnes in Minnesota to help citizen leaders pass local resolutions, prepare for meetings with members of Congress from both parties, and learn new citizen action skills.

IMG_5764.jpgIn St. Petersburg, Florida, our Tampa Bay American Promise Association helped lead passage of a first-in-the-nation law to end Super PACs and restrict foreign money in local elections.

With 800 cities and towns having passed local 28th Amendment resolutions, we produced and distributed our “how-to” guide to local resolutions, and connected experienced local leaders with hundreds of other citizen leaders for training and tips on passing local resolutions. We also launched prototype cross-partisan American Promise Business Councils in San Francisco and Boston which provide structured business leadership to these efforts.

We launched the Writing the 28th Amendment program with a working group of legal scholars such as Lawrence Lessig and John Coates (Harvard Law), Tamara Piety (University of Tulsa Law), Adam Winkler (UCLA), Yael Bromberg (Georgetown); judges such as Delaware Supreme Court Chief Justice Leo Strine and Montana Supreme Court (ret.) James Nelson; current and former members of Congress and state legislators from across the political spectrum, including Tom Udall, Al Simpson, Jim McGovern, Jamie Raskin, Nina Turner, and citizen and organization leaders. More than 500 American Promise members have weighed in and we are preparing to launch the more public phase in 2018.

IMG_9462.jpgWe confirmed our second National Citizen Leadership Conference for June 22-25, 2018 in Washington DC, including a first annual American Promise Lobby Day on Capitol Hill on the 25th, and expect 500 attendees from 50 states.

We strengthened our board with Alicia Cleary joining us as Finance Chair, and launched the 28 Founders Fund campaign to sustain our educational initiatives.

 

REACHING MORE AMERICANS

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In addition to the New York Times, American Promise appeared in the Boston Herald, the Des Moines Register, the Tulsa World, USA Today, National Public Radio (NPR), NECN, Las Vegas Review Journal, the Charlotte Observer, the Daily Caller, Reuters and dozens of other local newspapers and media in Nevada, Montana, New Hampshire. Wyoming, Massachusetts, Virginia and throughout the nation.

On Facebook, we went from 1,700 followers at the beginning of the year to 10,500 in December, with an average daily reach of 27,000. Please follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

 

EXAMPLES: HUMANS OF AMERICAN PROMISE

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Our Naperville, IL American Promise Association (APA) has been firing on all cylinders. Dan Coy and his team have led by example, meeting with elected officials on both sides of the aisle to discuss the 28th Amendment to get big money out of politics. They've connected with other citizen groups in and around Illinois. APA member Sharon Gander produced an effective PowerPoint presentation, which Dan has been delivering to local groups, detailing how money's damning political influence afflicts all facets of American life. The presentation is available on the Naperville, Illinois APA Facebook group's page.

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IMG_3470.jpgVicki Barnes, leader of the St. Paul, MN APA, has built on the momentum harnessed from her meeting with Republican member of Congress Erik Paulsen. In her local community, Vicki is known as an expert on the 28th Amendment, and has appeared on public radio and other media to discuss our work.

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Marie Henselder-Kimmel and Joan Divor launched the Tri-County APA in New Jersey this year. Their growing APA have made presentations and built support in their communities, met with their Congressman and staff, and are meeting their monthly goals for local letters to the editor.

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Shoshana Osofsky and the newly launched South Jersey APA took on the task of meeting with Republican member of Congress Frank LoBiando. They've had one meeting together so far in 2017 and plan to continue developing this relationship as Congressman LoBiando winds down his congressional tenure, while simultaneously reaching out to the candidates vying to replace him in 2018.

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Ishwari Sollohud and John House, working with New Mexico Money Out of Politics and American Promise, have spearheaded the candidate pledge project, widely distributing the pledge to declared congressional candidates. They're doing this with the same spirit and execution as they conduct their congressional meetings - they've met with all five of New Mexico's members of Congress about the 28th Amendment!

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The recently launched Montclair, NJ group has skillfully handled the challenge of having 5 members of Congress represented in their APA region. In December, they had their first congressional meeting with Republican Leonard Lance. Insights gained from this action will be instrumental as this group continues to rise to the challenge.

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In Winston-Salem, NC Robin Lynne and the APA have worked closely with their City Council to further local resolutions, developing a relationship with their supporting Mayor in the process. 

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We are proud of and inspired by all these citizen leaders and more as we finish this year of growth and impact at American Promise. We are grateful for your support and for the hard work of so many who are making the historic goal of the 28th Amendment to the Constitution so people not money govern America a reality.