Progressive Democrats of America

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Progressive Democrats of America operates as an activist network inside the Democratic Party.

It has been described as the political arm of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and works closely with that body. PDA uses an Inside-Outside strategy enabling non Democratic Party members to influence party policy.

PDA Annual Leadership Conference

2021 PDA Annual Leadership Conference

People vs. Fossil Fuels

Jamie Henn's Fossil Free Media is organizing "civil disobedience" at the White House October 11-15, 2021 to convince Joe Biden to take executive action to stop fossil fuels through their People vs. Fossil Fuels coalition of far left environmental activists.[1] Progressive Democrats of America was named as a People vs. Fossil Fuels endorsing national organization.

Open Letter to the Biden Campaign on “Unprepared”

Open Letter to the Biden Campaign on “Unprepared” was released May 12 2020.

":Our demands: The country’s greatest priority at this moment is to beat the COVID-19 crisis, and this requires embracing principles of antiracist solidarity and international cooperation. The Biden campaign can and should beat Trump and the GOP with a message centered on our real public health needs and the progressive values that are required to meet those needs. The “Unprepared” ad must be taken down, and all campaign messaging that fuels anti-Asian racism and China-bashing must end. We refuse to allow the Biden campaign to sacrifice our dignity in the name of political expediency."

Signatories included Progressive Democrats of America

Strategic Partnership

Our Revolution and Progressive Democrats of America Announce Strategic Partnership

Our Revolution (OR) and the Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) are excited to announce a formal partnership established by both organizations’ national boards. OR and PDA will work together on advancing progressive issues like Medicare for All and restoration of voting rights for those who’ve paid their debt to society, as well as electing progressive candidates this November.

PDA and Our Revolution have cooperated on actions against Trumpcare and the Affordable Care Act repeal, and in support of the People’s Platform, a series of progressive and transformative core policies and issues.

“Our Revolution looks forward to our continued work and partnership with PDA,” said Our Revolution President Nina Turner. “Before Sen. Sanders’ historic presidential run, people thought ideas like Medicare for All, a $15 minimum wage, and tuition-free college were impossible to achieve. In only a few short years we’ve changed the narrative on what is possible in this country and now the American people are on our side.”

Turner added, “Our partnership with PDA will continue to change the narrative about what is possible, and result in many more newly elected progressive leaders who will work to implement our progressive vision for the country. Progressive Democrats of America was the first national group to endorse Senator Sanders for President, and since Our Revolution’s founding, has been our partner on issues, candidates, and reforming the Democratic Party.”

Incoming PDA Executive Director Alan Minsky said, “PDA’s relentless ‘Run Bernie Run’ campaign, launched in 2014, directly contributed to Sen. Bernie Sanders’ decision to run for president in the Democratic primaries. PDA and the nationwide grassroots effort that evolved into Our Revolution worked throughout the 2016 campaign to support Sen. Sanders’ out-of-nowhere challenge for the Democratic nomination. PDA and OR continue to empower the millions-strong movement that Bernie Sanders’ campaign energized.”

Minsky added, “Working together, OR led by President Nina Turner and incoming Executive Director Dr. Heather Gautney and PDA will continue to grow the progressive political revolution necessary to elect progressive candidates and build towards a progressive governing majority, and thereby enact widely popular reforms including: Medicare For All, a Living Wage, Free College and Vocational Training, Clean and Fair Elections, Inclusive Prosperity, Protecting the Climate, and Equality and Justice for All. Stunning upsets in this year’s Democratic primaries by progressive candidates— including Benjamin Jealous, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Andrew Gillum, and Ayanna Pressley—as well as consistent public polling results have shown that Americans support candidates and organizations that speak out and stand up for the 99%, even when that requires directly challenging the status quo and incumbents who are insufficiently dedicated to achieving needed progress.”

Our Revolution has over 600 local groups in 49 states and nine countries. Our Revolution’s Board includes former Ohio (state) Senator Nina Turner, Labor organizer Larry Cohen, Native American leader Deborah Parker, Jim Hightower, James Zogby, former Chief of Staff for Sen. Bernie Sanders Huck Gutman, , Our Revolution South - Carolina member Lucero E. Mesa, and Our Revolution - Illinois Chicago member Richard Rodriguez.

Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) is a grassroots political action committee. PDA’s Healthcare Not Warfare campaign brings together the need for a comprehensive universal health care system with our advocacy for scaled-down military spending and increased reliance on diplomatic foreign policy. The PDA National Advisory Board includes Barbara Lee, Keith Ellison, Raul Grijalva, and James McGovern; as well as progressive leaders such as Michael Moore, Mimi Kennedy, Lila Garrett, Thom Hartmann, Medea Benjamin, and Dr. Paul Song, M.D. [2]

Progressive Democrats of America Advisory Board

The Progressive Democrats of America National Advisory Board: Representatives Barbara Lee, Keith Ellison, Raul Grijalva, and James McGovern; as well as documentarian Michael Moore, Actress / Activist Mimi Kennedy, Rev. Dr. Rodney Sadler, Author Jim Hightower, and Radio Hosts / Authors Lila Garrett and Thom Hartmann. Activists Michael Lighty, Medea Benjamin, Steve Cobble, Kristin Cabral, Dr. Paul Song, M.D., Belen Sisa, and Professor Marjorie Cohn also serve on the PDA Advisory Board, which is chaired by Donna Smith.”[3]

PDA 2016 endorsements

In 2016 Progressive Democrats of America endorsed;


According to PDA's website[5];

Progressive Democrats of America was founded in 2004 to transform the Democratic Party and our country. We seek to build a party and government controlled by citizens, not corporate elites --with policies that serve the broad public interest, not just private interests. As a grassroots PAC operating inside the Democratic Party, and outside in movements for peace and justice, PDA played a key role in the stunning electoral victory of November 2006. Our inside/outside strategy is guided by the belief that a lasting majority will require a revitalized Democratic Party built on firm progressive principles.
For over two decades, the party declined as its leadership listened more to the voices of Wall Street than those of Main Street. PDA strives to rebuild the Democratic Party from the bottom up – from every Congressional District to statewide party structures to the corridors of power in Washington, where we work arm in arm with the Congressional Progressive Caucus. In just a couple of years, PDA and its allies have shaken up the political status quo – on issues from the Iraq war to voter rights to economic justice.

An article by PDA Executive Director Tim Carpenter[6]in Democratic Left Fall 2006 (official publication of Democratic Socialists of America) profiled the organization;

Progressive Democrats of America is a rapidly growing, two-year-old, 80,000-strong, 135-chapter organization operating in over 30 states. PDA’s board of advisers is a diverse group of committed progressive elected officials and activists.
Since its founding in Roxbury, Massachusetts, in July 2004, PDA has aggressively worked an “inside/outside” strategy, networking progressive Democratic elected officials inside the Beltway with grassroots Democrats and progressive movement activists across the country.


From the PDA website;[7]

We will reach our goal by working inside the Democratic Party to return it to its roots as the party that represents the workers and the less fortunate, and by building coalitions outside the Democratic Party on shared issues.
By establishing chapters in all 435 congressional districts, we are creating an information and action conduit that allows us to effectively organize in response to or in support of congressional actions.
We work with the Congressional Progressive Caucus to support and bring forward progressive legislation on the core issues identified by our PDA chapters.

Claimed successes

The late Tim Carpenter claimed that Progressive Democrats of America had chalked up several achievements in its short life, successfully promoting initiatives by PDA board members John Conyers and James McGovern.

PDA was the driving force in the passage of resolutions opposing the war in Iraq by eight state Democratic Party meetings. The organization also was instrumental in the passage of resolutions in 10 states calling for the impeachment of President Bush.
PDA is often referred to by Congressional Progressive Caucus Executive Director Bill Goold as the CPC’s field operation, because PDA has built relationships with members of Congress by delivering grassroots support for their initiatives – from Rep. John Conyers’ investigation of the 2004 Ohio voting fraud to Rep. Jim McGovern’s bill to cut off funding for the war in Iraq, a current priority effort.

The organization worked hard for Marcy Winograd against Jane Harman and for other "progressive " Democrats including Donna Edwards, Christine Cegelis, Jerry McNerney, Tony Trupiano, John Hall, Jeff Latas, Gabby Giffords and Herb Paine.

While PDA is still only a progressive “pup” compared with big liberal dogs like MoveOn, PDA-backed candidates have taken some big bites out of conventional wisdom and centrist Democratic complacency. In Los Angeles, local PDA leader Marcy Winograd won 37 percent of the primary vote against entrenched pro-war Democrat Rep. Jane Harman with only two months of lead time. In Maryland, the dynamic Donna Edwards appears to have come only a few hundred votes short of toppling the multi-term Rep. Al Wynn in her first bid for public office, and she is seen as well-positioned to prevail in 2008. And in Illinois, with strong PDA support, Christine Cegelis, though outspent 8 to 1, nearly beat the candidate of the inside-the- Beltway Party leadership and Illinois party machine, Tammy Duckworth, to vie for the seat being vacated by Rep. Henry Hyde.
This fall, in the House, PDA is focusing attention and effort on several strong progressives worthy of note and support in hopes of flipping several seats from red to blue. In California, Jerry McNerney is running a strong race against an incumbent Republican. In Michigan, Tony Trupiano, with one of the nation’s strongest grassroots efforts, has his sights on an open seat in a Republican-leaning district. And in New York, anti-nuclear activist John Hall has won the Democratic nomination to challenge a four-term incumbent Republican. In Arizona, while the local PDA primary candidate, Jeff Latas, did not prevail, PDA will now enthusiastically join forces with PDA Board Member Rep. Raul Grijalva and support the nominee, the equally progressive Gabby Giffords, as well as PDA-backed Herb Paine, who won a razor-thin primary victory in a neighboring district.[8]

In the United States Senate primary races PDA unsuccessfully backed Jonathan Tasini against Hillary Clinton in New York, In Ohio, PDA backed successful candidate Sherrod Brown. In Connecticut, PDA campaigned to replace pro Iraq War Senator Joe Lieberman with Ned Lamont.

November wins by Brown, Lamont and Vermont’s Bernie Sanders could herald formation of a Senate Progressive Caucus.

Altering Congress/progressive strategy

Tim Carpenter went on to write that a Democratic victory would give "progressive " Democrats and members of the Congressional Black Caucus and Congressional Progressive Caucus control of many important Congressional positions.;

Finally, while PDA certainly understands the difference between a progressive Democrat and a DLC or centrist Democrat, the group urges vigorous work on behalf of all Democratic House candidates in November (2006).

This is because currently elected progressives and members of the Congressional Black Caucus are mostly in safe districts and so have held their seats for several terms, building seniority. Thus, election of a Democratic House majority this year would have absolutely huge ramifications for the progressive community when it comes to controlling committees: At least nine Congressional Progressive Caucus members would become committee chairs and an additional 35 CPC members would become subcommittee chairs! D

Carpenter went on to list those "progressives" he thought would secure chairmanships through a Democratic victory.

And subcommittee chairs:

Appropriations: Rosa DeLauro, Marcy Kaptur, John Olver, Jose Serrano and Ed Pastor

Armed Services: Neil Abercrombie

Education and Workforce: Lynn Woolsey and Dennis Kucinich

Energy and Commerce: Ed Markey, Jan Schakowsky, and Hilda Solis

Financial Services: Maxine Waters and Luis Gutierrez

Government Reform: Diane Watson, Dennis Kucinich, Elijah Cummings, Danny Davis and William Lacy Clay, Jr.

International Relations: Donald Payne

Judiciary: Sheila Jackson-Lee, Jerrold Nadler, and Mel Watt

Interior: Raul Grijalva, Tom Udall and Donna Christensen

Rules: James McGovern

Small Business: Madeleine Bordallo

Transportation and Infrastructure: Peter DeFazio, Bob Filner, Eleanor Holmes Norton and Corrine Brown

Ways and Means: Pete Stark, Jim McDermott and John Lewis

Carpenter finished by saying;

Read those names and committee assignments carefully. Imagine the investigative work that could be done on the Downing Street Memos and the Ohio voting irregularities andthe steps that could and would be taken toward the censure of President Bush with these members managing the committees.

For this reason, PDA is urging its members and all progressives to donate, organize, and vote Democratic in November. It may involve some holding of noses in some districts, but the stakes are high and the road ahead is long.
So the first step in moving the country toward a progressive consensus is restoring Democratic control of the House this year. The ground can be gained for progressives. PDA was founded to do just that. Join PDA and the growing movement to take back our party and our country!

Secretary of State races

PDA also worked to elect several "progressive" secretaries of state in 2006-a strategy identified by other groups such as the Secretary of State Project as a means of helping to ensure that elections were not 'stolen" from "progressive" candidates. Deborah Bowen, Mark Ritchie and John Bonifaz all received strong PDA backing.[9]

Given the importance of election integrity, PDA also has worked on secretary of state races around the nation, backing Deborah Bowen in California, Mark Ritchie in Minnesota, and PDA Board Member John Bonifaz in Massachusetts.

Support for Conyers Jobs Bill

In May 2010, Rep John Conyers introduced a bill entitled "The 21st Century Full Employment and Training Act." The bill was "little noticed at the time but, today, after another 7 months of dismal jobs reports -- we have actually lost ground during 2010, creating fewer jobs than the growth of the labor force -- there was renewed interest in this legislation by a range of progressive groups". The Democratic Socialists of America National Political Committee made mobilization around the Act a national priority; Progressive Democrats of America "is developing a similar effort, as are both the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism and the (DSA controlled) National Jobs for All Coalition".[10]

2012 election cycle, and beyond

Progressive Democrats of America , the self-described “grassroots PAC operating inside the Democratic Party, and outside in movements for peace and justice” held its third Progressive Central, a one-day gathering of politicians from the left wing of the Democratic Party and prominent activists from the labor, anti-war and environmental movements.

The “Progressive Central: The Peoples' Inauguration” in Washington, D.C., scheduled for January 19, two days in advance of Barack Obama's more prominent inauguration, a few miles across town on Capitol Hill, was intended to kick off PDA’s lobbying and organizing efforts for the next four years. In a national political context dominated by talk of austerity, PDA is aiming to keep popular progressive demands on the agenda in Congress—issues like universal single-payer healthcare, ending the wars while slashing the defense budget, and implementing a financial transactions tax. Emblematic of the group’s “inside-outside mission” of translating the demands of existing social movements into action from sympathetic members of Congress. The event featured a mix of Democratic representatives and leaders.

“When we say inside-outside, if it’s the peace issue, we’re working inside the Democratic Party to support Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) [who sponsored a bill last session calling for the swift removal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan]. The outside piece would be working with folks like Phyllis Bennis from the Institute for Policy Studies and Medea Benjamin of CODEPINK,” Tim Carpenter, PDA’s executive director, told In These Times. “We’ve got to organize demonstrations, we’ve got to put together candlelight vigils, civil disobedience, the street heat, that’s the outside piece. What PDA is trying to do is be that bridge. Every great social movement starts outside the halls of Congress, but if it’s successful at the end of the day, it’s going to pass legislation.”

Carpenter stressed that Saturday’s event will launch the group’s work for the next four years. That plan, he said, will include monthly letter drops to members of Congress, urging them to support legislation that PDA allies in Congress plan to introduce, such as bills for single-payer universal healthcare or a financial transactions tax. PDA will also organize monthly discussions in Washington with its allies in Congress and the public interest community about the state of progressive legislation, in order to better co-ordinate support for those legislative efforts from PDA’s supporters and allies on the local level.

The organization, which does not have a dues-paying structure, has a mailing list of roughly 78,000 people who are concentrated in California, Arizona, Massachusetts, Illinois, Florida and Wisconsin, according to Carpenter. Meanwhile, in the halls of Congress, PDA can count on a small handful of allies, most of whom hail from the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

The organization was coming off a moderately successful election cycle, with all of its incumbent allies—Reps. John Conyers (D-Mich.), Donna Edwards (D-Md.), Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), James McGovern (D-Mass.) and Barbara Lee—holding on to their seats.

PDA also benefited from some sympathetic newcomers in the 113th Congress. Out of the eight non-incumbent Democratic candidates the group endorsed in the 2012 election cycle, three picked up seats. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) won the election to fill incoming Senator Tammy Baldwin’s former congressional seat in Wisconsin. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.), the vocal anti-war critic and champion of financial reform hailing from Central Florida, is making his return to Congress after being swept away in the 2010 Tea Party wave. And arguably the most prominent of PDA-supported candidates, Elizabeth Warren, would represent Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate.

The remaining five PDA-endorsed candidates fell short in their efforts. Norman Solomon, a longtime environmental activist and the co-founder of the media watchdog group Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting, lost a close primary race in a very liberal district in northern California. Rob Zerban lost by more than 10 points to Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). PDA-backed candidates also lost in Illinois, Georgia and Virginia.

“We’re realistic,” says Carpenter, who suggests that recent fiscal policy debates present an opportunity to push for cuts in military spending and a financial transactions tax. “We’re going to be playing a lot of defense, but we need to be playing defense with an eye toward moving these questions [forward] and taking the offensive again.”[11]

Progressive Round Table

On April 18, 2013, Progressive Democrats of America held a Progressive Round Table in D.C. with staffers Joseph Wender from Rep Ed Markey's office, Jenny Perrino from Rep. John Conyers' office, and Jamie Long from Rep. Keith Ellison's office who reported on key legislation and joined us discussing austerity pressure, budget priorities and more.

We also welcomed Ethan Rosenkranz from the Project on Defense Alternatives, Stephen Miles from Win Without War, Miriam Pemberton from the Institute for Policy Studies, Joan Stallard from CODEPINK, and Michael Lighty as well as several NNU nurses who were holding their lobby day on the Hill. [12]

10th Anniversary Party

To celebrate our birthday we have gathered members of PDA's Advisory Board and other leading progressive activists and journalists from around the country to help us review our past, celebrate our accomplishments and discuss our future.

Date: Saturday, May 10th

Time: 9:30 to 4:30 pm

Place: First Churches of Northampton 129 Main Street,Northampton, MA

Senator Bernie Sanders was guest of honor.

P.S. Sign the petition to tell Senator Sanders to run as a Democrat in 2016. Your signature might just be the one that makes the difference.

Host Committee

Katharine Baker and Peter Titelman, Kurt Bateman, Lisa Baskin, Bill Bianchi, Sherry Bohlen & Thom Bohlen, Pat Church, John Bonifaz, Steve Cobble, Jo Comerford, Frances Crowe (honorary), Allen Davis & Judith Davis, Marcy Eisenberg, State Senator Jamie Eldridge, John J. Fitzgerald, Bev Fitzpatrick, Lisa Franzen & George Franzen, Russell Freedman & Martha Freedman, Michael Gilbreath, Michael Gordy, Bob Greenberg & Maggie Greenberg, Russell Greene, Patty Healey, Bill Hess, Dr. Bill Honigman, Thomas Hutcheson, Rev. Peter Ives, Kelley Johnson, Walter Kloefkorn, City Councilor Marianne LaBarge, Marc Levin, Michael Lighty, Suzanne Lyon, Leo Maley, Sarah McKee, State Representative Paul Mark, Sharon Moulton, Mayor David Narkewicz (honorary), Michele Marantz & Steve Marantz, Martha Nathan, MD, Jeff Napolitano, Wendy Newton & David Newton, Barb Njos, Peggy Lucey & Bill Noel, Mary Olberding, Dan O'Neal, Rudy Perkins, Roberto Reveles, Jeff Rich & Karen Rich, Michelle Serra, Becky Shannon, Randy Shannon & Tina Shannon, Elizabeth Silver, J.M. Sorrell, Paul Stokes & Laura Stokes, State Representative Ellen Story, District Attorney David E. Sullivan, Alice Swift, William Turomsha, Diane Valentine and Rev. Todd Weir (honorary).[13]

Advisory Board


PDA Advisory Board members, 2012:[14]


PDA Advisory Board members, 2009:

PDA Emeritus Board

The following Emeritus Board members were active members of the PDA Advisory Board who served either during or from 2005-2009.[15]

Local affiliates