Thursday, June 22, 2006

Democrats in Mississippi? GO 50 STATES!

From The Mississippi Democratic Party via

I was so excited when Chairman Dean asked me to write to you about the real success that we have had in Mississippi because of the 50-state strategy. I know that the plan is working because I've seen the success first-hand.

I joined the Mississippi Democratic Party as a field organizer because I am concerned about our future. I just don't see the Republicans taking any real action on issues people in every state face, like access to affordable health care, education and jobs.

Our state has the highest unemployment rate in the country and no minimum wage requirements for the few jobs that people do have. Federal minimum wage legislation affects us as much in Mississippi as it does in any other state - no matter how "red" the state may be.

After Republicans in Washington killed the first minimum wage increase in nearly a decade this week, it's clear that this is a place where people need to hear about our party's values and our party's plans to make the changes that will improve people's lives.

Until now, Mississippi Democrats haven't had the resources to do that. I took this job to be part of the solution.

Before the 50-state strategy, the Mississippi Democratic Party had only one staff member. And though he worked tirelessly, he just wasn't enough. Now, our office has five staff members all dedicated to communicating with and organizing Democrats here. We're finally reaching those people who want to help, and we're expanding our support by getting the word out to everyone else that Democrats are ready to lead.

I've often heard people say, "Democrats can't win in the South." That's plain wrong. We can win in the South, and we are winning in the South. Last year, there were four open seats in the Mississippi Legislature. By organizing on the ground the way Democrats in Mississippi haven't had the resources to do in a generation, we swept all four elections. Now Gov. Barbour has four more Democrats holding appointments in his administration and the same number of Democrats sitting in the legislature.

We could not have done that without the grassroots network that the 50-state strategy has already put in place. Our program recruits and trains the precinct captains who were crucial to those victories, and who will be the core of the victories to come.

When people say, "We can't win in the South," that's pessimism and surrender. And we sure won't win if we give up before we even try. But the South is exactly where we need to be. Shame on us if we don't stand up for those most in need in this part of the country.

The 50-state strategy is the opposite of that pessimistic approach -- and it is giving us the tools and the hope it takes to win.


Rita Royals
Field Organizer
Mississippi Democratic Party

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