WASHINGTON—Today, People For the American Way (PFAW) launched the Next Up Victory Fund, a new program aimed at electing young progressives to state and local offices. Next Up will support young progressive candidates running for state and local office across the country by providing endorsements and direct contributions, as well as a platform and greater access to the broader progressive community. PFAW has focused on young people as a major part of its work for more than a decade through its c3 affiliate, PFAW Foundation, which runs Young People For (YP4), a training program for college-age activists and the Young Elected Officials Network. PFAW also has an extensive track record in electoral politics, and this program will be an extension of its state and local work.
In particular, Next Up will target critical races in states where Democrats are poised to regain control of state legislatures—including states where legislatures can impact 2020 redistricting—and in helping candidates win races that will allow them to make credible runs for higher office in years to come.
Michael Keegan, People For the American Way president:
“After years of devastating elections, we need to build progressive leadership across the country. And that’s exactly what this program is designed to do. By helping candidates win at the state and local level, we can lay the groundwork to take back our country. Next Up is the program we need to build the bench of progressive candidates and create a more diverse and representative government.”
Lizet Ocampo, People For the American Way political director:
“Young people have always been a central part of PFAW’s mission, so it’s only natural that in this new era we’d double down by helping young candidates run for office and win. We’re looking to make a deep investment in key races by making sure young candidates have the resources they need to get into elected office and position themselves for long careers as effective public officials at the local, state and federal level.”
Svante Myrick, People For the American Way director of youth candidate engagement and Mayor of Ithaca, New York:
“Next Up gives young candidates the resources they need to put their ideas into action and connects them to movers and shakers around the country—and most importantly it’s designed to help them win. Those of us in the progressive community are energized, but we need to turn that energy into electoral victories. This is what Next Up is all about.”
Crisanta Duran, Colorado Speaker of the House and member of the Next Up advisory board:
“In order to transform our political system, we need to be working on the local and state levels to elect progressive leaders nationwide. If we want strong, progressive candidates to run for Congress and the presidency in five, ten or fifteen years, we need to make sure they’re getting elected to city councils and the statehouse right now. We’re going to fight for change from the bottom up. This work is critical to building power in the progressive movement and I am proud to be a part of its launch.”
Ilhan Omar, Minnesota State Representative and member of the Next Up advisory board:
“If we want to elect the next generation of progressives to office, we have got to invest in young candidates. That’s what Next Up is designed to do. As someone who has just gone through a tough race, I can attest to the fact that meaningful support from progressive allies can make the difference between winning and losing—especially for young candidates. Next Up will provide much needed resources to those individuals who are hoping to help take our country back from the extreme Right Wing.”
A video of Svante Myrick explaining more about the program can be viewed here.
For photos, follow-up interviews, or questions, please email [email protected].
People For the American Way is a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and defend constitutional values including free expression, religious liberty, equal justice under the law, and the right to meaningfully participate in our democracy.