Image of Virginia state flag: Roman goddess Virtue defeating a tyrant
Image of Virginia state flag: Roman goddess Virtue defeating a tyrant
Image: IAmEricasFlags

Have you been following the progressive news coming out of Virginia? You know, Virginia — in 2016, ranked the nation’s 49th most difficult state in which to vote, second only to Mississippi? Named by the USC Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy in 2018 as the state with the worst partisan (GOP) state-legislative gerrymandering in the country? The state with such an egregious history of racial discrimination, it was one of the nine states singled out for “preclearance” in the 1965 Voting Rights Act, meaning it had to obtain federal approval for any proposed changes to voting laws?


Aubrey Odom for Unsplash

Thank you, Bay State legislators! By overriding Governor Baker’s veto of the ROE Act, you’ve protected women’s health (and, by extension, the wellbeing of women’s families and partners). Co-sponsored by State Senator Cynthia Creem, the Act protects abortion access in Massachusetts, and is a critical bulwark against potential restrictions and rollbacks by SCOTUS.

But we can learn something from Baker’s veto. He objected specifically to one provision in the Act: the lowering of the age at which women can seek abortion without parental or judicial consent, from 18 to 16. It’s a common objection — that teenagers’ undeveloped and un-myelinated…


Tingey Injury Law Firm for Unsplash

It’s been said, by New York State’s former Chief Judge, no less, that a grand jury would “indict a ham sandwich.” So why not Breonna Taylor’s killers?

Forgive me if you’re a lawyer type and this is Legal 101. But for English majors like me — woefully uneducated about the grand jury process — I’ve gleaned the following from a lawyer friend. I found it helpful in understanding how, procedurally speaking, this utterly counterintuitive, inhumane result came about. …


Morning Brew for UnSplash

Over the past three years, I’ve been proselytizing for Sister District Project to anyone who will listen (and quite a few who won’t). Why? Because SDP understands a truth long grasped by the right: state elections matter.

Our elected state Representatives and state Senators pass laws that wield immense power over our daily lives. State laws largely govern policing, for example. State laws determine district maps, and ensure election protection (or suppression). State laws guarantee access to healthcare, reproductive and otherwise. State laws allocate funding to protect the environment, finance public education, and safeguard small businesses. …


Arto Marttinen for Unsplash

There’s a reason we here at Sister District Project MA-RI are working like busy bees to get three candidates elected to the Florida House in November. With the exception of one year, the GOP has maintained trifecta control of the state House, Senate, and Governorship since 1999… and look where that’s gotten us:

COVID-19 Pick a day, any day: when it comes to coronavirus cases, Florida has been breaking records all summer. 15,300 — the highest number of new virus cases reported by any US state in a single day (July 12). 1,230 — a state record for COVID-related deaths…


Elyssa Fahndrich for UnSplash

TIME FOR SOME GOOD NEWS. Am I right?!

Just a few years ago, the commonwealth of Virginia was in a sorry state. The Old Dominion had cemented its status as one of the worst-gerrymandered states in the nation, with several illegal-racial-gerrymandering cases on the books to prove it. Despite the fact that Hillary Clinton won over Virginia voters in 2016 by more than 5 percentage points, an entrenched Republican majority prevailed in the state’s General Assembly, systematically diluting the votes of citizens of color and stonewalling everything from Medicaid expansion to gun-safety legislation.

No longer.

Backed by the hard work…


The U.S. Constitution mandates a complete count of all persons living in the United States every ten years — a process known as the decennial Census.

— House Committee on the Budget, 2019

[Note: This is a long post. The good news is, with the exception of this sentence, it WILL NOT MENTION Covid-19. There, done. Now, back to scheduled programming.]

Welcome to 2020: A leap year! The one-hundredth anniversary of women’s suffrage! The ouster of Donald Trump from office (a girl can dream)! And… the US Census!

If you’re like me, over the years you probably haven’t given the…


PA Post 11–23–18

gerrymander: to divide or arrange (a territorial unit) into election districts in a way that gives one political party an unfair advantage — Merriam-Webster

Here at Sister District Project MA-RI, we [heart] Pennsylvania. The Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, the Philly Cheesesteak — what’s not to love?

Well, here’s something: gerrymandering. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, Pennsylvania is one of the top three worst-gerrymandered states in the country (North Carolina is number one).

As in all US states, current Pennsylvania district maps stem from 2010, the year of the most recent US Census (after every decennial Census, states use…


Source: OurWeekly LA

Fantastic Saturday morning canvassing for Harold Hayes in Pennsylvania. We launched out of Bensalem, PA — an easy 30 minute drive from Philadelphia, where I was staying, or 20 minutes from Trenton. Our large group, comprising volunteers from the district as well as imports like me, squeezed into headquarters, where we received an enthusiastic welcome and helpful instructions.

Harold was there to rally the troops along with two other candidates looking to flip state legislature seats in the November regular election in nearby districts. I ended up knocking doors in a small residential neighborhood where the houses were close together…


Patrick Fore for Unsplash

Virginia’s having a great run!

In 2017, a Blue Wave crashed over the state Congress, eroding a 66 Republican-34 Democrat imbalance into a more accurately representative 51R-49D configuration (Sister District volunteers know this, because we supported several winning candidates!). In 2018, the newly realigned state legislature overrode five years of Republican stonewalling and voted to expand Medicaid to 400,000+ Virginians. And in 2019, Democrats finished the job and flipped both state Chambers of Congress, turning the state into a blue trifecta.

Not a month into 2020, Democratic state legislators have wasted no time rocking it. …

Juliet Eastland

Writer with many strong opinions.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store