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Progressive Democrats of America

Progressive Democrats of America
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Affiliations Democratic Party
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Formerly called
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The Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) is a progressive political organization and grassroots political action committee operating inside and outside the United States Democratic Party.


The Progressive Democrats of America formed out of the presidential campaigns of Howard Dean and Dennis Kucinich as well as with outside / independent involvement from peace and justice activists.

PDA was founded during the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Massachusetts by Tim Carpenter, Steve Cobble, Kevin Spidel, Mimi Kennedy, Laura Bonham, Joe Libertelli, Bruce Taub, and about two dozen other former staffers and supporters of the Dennis Kucinich for President Campaign—as well as Joel Segal, and other progressive activists who helped organize delegates and activists concerned with the centrist and right leaning trends in the Democratic Party. Currently PDA consists of "a large group of progressive grassroots activists from across the country who want to support progressive grassroots activities both locally and nationally."

Appearing at the first PDA meeting in Roxbury, Massachusetts were leaders, activists, and politicians including Dean and Kucinich, U.S. Representatives John Conyers, Jesse Jackson, Jr. and Barbara Lee, Rev. Jesse Jackson, James Zogby, Tom Hayden, Medea Benjamin, John Lauritsen, and Current PDA Executive Director Tim Carpenter.

PDA's mission is to strengthen the voice of progressive ideas inside and outside the Democratic Party by using "inside/outside" and "grassroots fusion" models of working both in the Democratic Party as well as working with other progressive organizations both inside and outside the Party.


Ending wars and occupation

The Progressive Democrats of America opposes wars and occupations. PDA believes that "Since 2001, terrorism and instability have increased wherever the U.S. has intervened militarily. We call on the President and Congress to rethink the false premises of an ever-expanding "global war on terror" in which Western-led alliances of absolute monarchs, corrupt governments and proxy forces fight endlessly proliferating enemies in more and more countries."

PDA supports, "political and diplomatic initiatives to genuinely promote peace, disarmament and the rule of international law, and to treat terrorism primarily as a crime, not as a pretext for war and global military expansion. Cut the US military budget to its 1998 level and beyond, and bring our troops home to their families. Redirect wasteful military spending to meet real human needs, create jobs and reinvest in America. From nuclear weapons to climate change, the challenges facing the world today are too serious to be sacrificed to the strategic ambitions of any one country, including our own."

The End Wars and Occupations Team is part of PDA's "Fund Human Needs / Cut Pentagon Waste platform" and works on the following issues: Complete US withdrawal from Afghanistan, Diplomacy to prevent war and end sanctions on Iran, End CIA/JSOC operations against Syria and recommit to June 2012 Geneva peace agreement, End drone strikes, and all other "targeted killing" operations, Recommit to peace and to the rule of constitutional and international law, Reduce the record US military budget, bring troops home and reinvest in America."

PDA launched the Healthcare Not Warfare campaign to emphasize these policy positions. Donna Smith currently serves as the Chair of the campaign. PDA supports the following legislation: H.R. 198 to Repeal of the Authorization for Use of Military Force, H.R. 200 the Responsible End to Afghanistan War Act, H.R. 783 the Prevent Iran from Acquiring Nuclear Weapons and Stop War Through Diplomacy Act, and H.R. 2494 the Protecting Americans from the Proliferation of Weapons to Terrorists in Syria Act.[1]

Health care is a human right

Progressive Democrats of America believes, "It is a moral outrage for a country as wealthy as ours to leave 60 million people with no reliable access to health care and tens of millions more with inadequate or overly expensive coverage. In addition, despite spending nearly twice as much as other developed nations on health care, our system performs poorly, because the private U.S. insurance bureaucracy soaks up as much as one-third of all the money and pharmaceutical interests overburden America by avoiding price competition."

PDA supports establishing an expanded, improved Medicare for All National Healthcare Program, moving toward a single-payer health care system. PDA advocates passage of H.R. 676 the United States National Health Care Act, which would provide enhanced Medicare for all by establishing a streamlined, nonprofit national health program under which care would be publicly financed and privately delivered. PDA also supports H.R. 1200 the American Health Security Act which would enable states to establish their own health care programs to move toward publicly financed systems.[2]

Economic and social justice

The Progressive Democrats of America believe "The enormous wealth disparity between the top 1% and the rest of America is an unsustainable economic and social injustice." They are committed to supporing "an economic recovery that employs all those willing and able, that houses all those needing shelter, and that imposes the cost based on the ability to pay." PDA supports an agenda of progressive taxation and fair trade. PDA advocates for "We the People NOT We the Corporations," and calls for "Taxing Wall Street to create jobs and fund human needs." PDA works to advance the following objectives: Living Wage Jobs, Taxing Wall Street (Financial Transaction Tax aka Robin Hood Tax), as well as Affordable Housing, Mortgage Relief and Homeowner Protection.

PDA has worked to get the United States Congress to roll back President George W. Bush's tax cuts, and to enact progressive taxation policies including H.R. 1579 the Inclusive Prosperity Act which would impose a micro tax on certain speculative securities transactions. PDA also supports full employment legislation including H.R. 1000 the Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment and Training Act which would establish the National Full Employment Trust Fund to create employment opportunities for the unemployed.

PDA supports fair trade, which it asserts would protect consumers' and workers' rights as well as the environment, while opposing free trade agreements that it believes tend to let multinational corporations exploit labor worldwide. PDA is opposing renewal of fast track authority that allows the White House to enact trade deals without Congressional amendment or full oversight. This especially as regards the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a sweeping agreement which PDA believes would "ave substantial negative impact on millions of people in the 12 nations holding talks, including the United States." [3]

PDA supports the Employee Free Choice Act, which would make it easier for workers to organize unions.[4]

Clean, fair and transparent elections

The Progressive Democrats of America support federal legislation including constitutional amendments that would increase fairness and transparency in U.S. elections. PDA asserts that "Big-money interests dominate U.S. politics in ways unknown in other industrialized countries, with social and environmental progress often blocked by officials who cater to big donors to insure re-election funds. Incumbents are unfairly insulated by district gerrymandering and rules, which obstruct independent candidates and parties. In recent years, voters themselves have faced political and even racial obstacles in casting votes and in getting their votes counted."

PDA seeks a nation-wide ban on "all-digital voting systems and internet voting [because] such systems are vulnerable to error and manipulation and defy public verification of results." PDA concludes, "An auditable paper ballot must protect our right to vote."

PDA supports comprehensive election reform at the state and national level, including: Voter Access/Voter Protection, Comprehensive Campaign Finance Reform, Elimination of Electronic Voting Machines/Return to Verifiable Paper Ballots, Mandatory Audits of Election Results, Restoration of Voting Rights to former convicts who've served their time, Public Finance of Elections with Free TV Time for Candidates, and Instant Runoff Elections.

PDA has endorsed and worked to gain support for the following legislation: H.R. 12 / S. 123 the Voter Empowerment Act, H.R. 280 the Same Day Registration Act, H.R. 281 the Voter Access Protection Act, H.R. 1537 the End Prison Gerrymandering Act i.e. For Census purposes, the place of residence is last address prior to incarceration, and H.J. Res. 44 to establish voting as a Constitutional Right.[5]

Stop global warming and environmental protection

The Progressive Democrats of America believes "No issue reveals more clearly the flaws of the U.S. political-economic system than global warming. Greed and corporate power dominate the public good, and impose nearsighted focus on short-term profits instead of serving our long-term needs and the welfare of future generations."

PDA explains, "Stop Global Warming is part of PDA's Protect the Earth platform. The team works on the following issues: Stopping Climate Change, Supporting a Carbon Tax and Green Energy (solar/wind), while Ending Fracking and Nuclear Power."

PDA supports the following legislation: S. 1135 the FRAC Act aka Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act "To amend the Safe Drinking Water Act to repeal a certain exemption for hydraulic fracturing, and for other purposes.",[6] H.R. 1175 the FRESHER Act aka Focused Reduction of Effluence and Stormwater runoff through Hydrofracking Environmental Regulation Act "To amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act and direct the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a study with respect to stormwater runoff from oil and gas operations,",[7] H.R. 1154 the BREATHE Act aka Bringing Reductions to Energy's Airborne Toxic Health Effects Act "To amend the Clean Air Act to eliminate the exemption for aggregation of emissions from oil and gas sources,",[8] and H.R. 2825 the CLEANER Act aka Closing Loopholes and Ending Arbitrary and Needless Evasion of Regulations Act "To require regulation of wastes associated with the exploration, development, or production of crude oil, natural gas, or geothermal energy under the Solid Waste Disposal Act." [9]

PDA seeks to reduce America's dependence on oil and fossil fuels by raising auto fuel economy and imposing taxation on carbon dioxide while investing in public transportation, energy conservation technologies, and alternative energy development.[10]

Stop voter suppression/Democracy Restoration Act

The Progressive Democrats of America is "dedicated to passing the Democracy Restoration Act and ending Voter Suppression. The Democracy Restoration Act will restore voting rights in federal elections to nearly four million Americans who are out of prison and living in the community; ensure that people on probation never lose their right to vote in federal elections; and notify people about their right to vote in federal elections when they are leaving prison, sentenced to probation, or convicted of a misdemeanor. Ending voter suppression will guarantee that every citizen that wants to vote will have the opportunity to cast their ballot for the person of their choice. Voting will again be a right that is not abridged because of age, race, address or economic standing."

PDA supports legislation including constitutional amendments to protect voting rights, and opposes court decisions, legislation and other efforts to roll back the Voting Rights Act, to impose onerous, unfair burdens and costs on voters.[11]

End mass criminalization

The Progressive Democrats of America asserts, "In America one out of every 100 citizens is behind bars and most of them are minorities. The United States has 5 percent of the world's population but holds one-quarter of the world's prisoners. The prison industrial complex has a vested interest in keeping people locked up. A prison record affects the ability to find employment. In Virginia, Florida, Kentucky and Iowa, a felony conviction results in the permanent loss of voting privileges unless individually restored by the governor."

The End Mass Criminalization Issue Team works on the following related issues, including: Mass Incarceration, Prison Industrial Complex/Privatization of Prisons, School to Prison Pipeline, Restoration of Voting Rights, Voter Suppression by Incarceration, Stop and Frisk, Harm Reduction, Criminalization of Poverty, Mandatory Minimum Sentences, Criminal Justice System, War on Drugs, Solitary Confinement.[12]

Advisory board

Staff and consultants

  • Tim Carpenter, Co-Founder and National Director
  • Conor Boylan, Deputy Director and Field Director
  • Kimberly Buchan, Administrative Coordinator
  • Andrea Miller, IT Director and Deputy Field Director
  • Judy Hess, Field Coordinator
  • Mike Hersh, Communications Coordinator
  • Janis Kay, Social Media Coordinator
  • Mike Fox, National Fundraising/Phonebanking Coordinator
  • Kurt Bateman, Labor Coordinator
  • Jeanne Marie Dauray, National Issue Team Coordinator
  • Debra Schrishuhn, Chapter Organizer/Network Administrator


  1. ^ PDA End Wars and Occupations...Link
  2. ^ PDA Health Care Policy...Link
  3. ^ Link
  4. ^ PDA Economic Policy...Link
  5. ^ PDA Election Policy...Link
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  10. ^ PDA Environment Policy...Link
  11. ^ PDA Voter Protections Policy...Link
  12. ^ PDA End Mass Criminalization Policy...Link

External links