Editor’s Note: a guest post by James Lee of Louisiana Swamp Watch.
Tuesday, the Senate & Governmental Affairs Committee began hearings on proposals to redraw Louisiana’s political boundaries for the next decade. Since the fall, members of the House & Senate Governmental Affairs Committee have been on a roadshow across the state, gaining public input. Many groups organized activists to show up and testify at those meetings in favor of “fair” districts, and we expect those same organizations to show up this week as the proposals are debated.
Many of these groups will advocate for “fair” or “equitable” districts, but legislators and the public should not be fooled by those words. Today, we will take a look at several of the organizations engaged in redistricting, and their partisan, left-wing ties.
Fair Districts Louisiana
With an innocuous name, Fair Districts Louisiana has been one of the loudest advocacy organizations at the legislature, and on the roadshow, advocating for “fair and equitable” districts. The organization was founded in 2017 by three liberal activists, Stephen Kearny, Brandon Faske, and Matthew Bailey. Kearny and Bailey are both affiliated with the New Leaders Council, a far-left progressive organization dedicated to recruiting and training new progressive leaders. Combined, the three have made over $4,000 in political donations, all to Democratic candidates and causes, according to state and federal records.
While the organization calls itself “Fair Districts Louisiana”, they have engaged in policy debates beyond redistricting, taking extreme stances on other electoral issues, including advocating for “unrestricted voting by mail” and for doubling the amount of time a voter can remain inactive before being removed from the voting rolls, to 8 years.
Fair Districts Louisiana is currently running ads across the state with their rankings of the “fairness” of proposed plans – both of those from legislators as well as citizens.
They have been joined in their “fair districts” advocacy by another group we have covered in the past, The Power Coalition for Equity and Justice.
Power Coalition for Equity and Justice
The Power Coalition for Equity and Justice, a far-left organization that advocates for higher taxes, a $15 minimum wage, against Voter ID, and a whole host of liberal priorities, has been actively recruiting and training left-wing activists for over a year to attend the redistricting roadshow meetings, as well as bussing them to the Capitol, to advocate for “fair” and “equitable” districts. They’ve also funded other local organizations to train and recruit activists to attend local redistricting meetings.
We already covered The Power Coalition last fall, after filing an ethics complaint against them for their failure to comply with state law by not disclosing their contributions and expenditures against tax-reform measures on the November ballot. They also had their non-profit status revoked by the IRS for failing to file tax returns. We later uncovered that The Power Coalition is actually an affiliate of the Wisconsin-based Public Allies, another left-wing organization that is funded by taxpayer dollars through the scandal-ridden AmeriCorps Program. You read that right- federal taxpayer dollars are likely funding an organization engaged in gaming Louisiana’s redistricting process.
Louisiana Progress Action
Louisiana Progress Action is yet another far-left group who has been actively engaged in the redistricting process. Led by former state legislator Melissa Fluornoy, who is also a former State Director for Planned Parenthood, they have presented at several of the redistricting roadshow meetings and put together guides for liberal activists. More than any other group, they have provided a definition for “fair and equitable” districts as meeting two criteria: “competitive” and “racial proportionality.”
Similar to The Louisiana Power Coalition, Louisiana Progress Action has long been at the forefront of far-left policy advocacy in Louisiana. Among the many issues they’ve been engaged on include opposing the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, opposition to Constitutional Carry, opposition to election integrity measures, and supporting a higher minimum wage.
Progress Action partners with many of the other most progressive, far-left groups in Louisiana, including The Louisiana Budget Project, LA Trans Advocates, Progressive Social Network, and Together Louisiana.
Like the groups mentioned above, Louisiana Progress Action has been and will continue to be active in the redistricting process. Legislators and the public should not be fooled by these organizations using vague language around “fairness”, “equity”, and “proportionality”. They are far-left organizations with agendas antithetical to Louisiana values, and they have worked systematically to organize activists to game the redistricting input process in pursuit of advancing their own power and left-wing agendas.
Thanks, James Lee Executive Director, Louisiana Swamp Watch