Progressive Summit Sells Out

Keystone Progress held its sixth annual Progressive Summit Friday and Saturday and this year they sold it out.  800 people gathered at the Harrisburg Hilton for two days of speakers, workshops and parties.   The highlight on Friday was a speech by Cecile Richards of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.  She brought down the house by reminding the audience that although the Koch Brothers want to spend close to a billion dollars in the 2016 elections progressives can counter that with millions of people.

Cecile Richards:

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The Koch Brothers were also the object of a speech Saturday morning by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.  The Independent socialist empowered the full house in a talk about the dangers of income inequality, how we got into the mess and how the Koch Brothers want to make things far worse.  Jim Dean of Democracy For America, based in Vermont, introduced the Senator.

Cecile Richards with Kate Michelman:

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Michael Morrill, Executive Director of Keystone Progress, reminded the progressives that we have to be the conscience of the Commonwealth and hold our elected officials accountable for their corruption even when they are on our side (or so we thought).  That comment only got sparse applause but I salute Mike’s courage in saying it.  It was something, in light of the Rob McCord case, which needed to be said.

44 workshops filled much of Saturday and topics ranged the entire spectrum of progressive issues.  Sen. Daylin Leach hosted a party Friday evening and Manan Trivedi hosted a karaoke party into the wee hours.

Jim Dean’s introduction of Sen. Bernie Sanders:

Sen. Bernie Sanders:

The Progressive Summit 2014 Style

Keystone Progress, with its partners, put on the fifth annual Pennsylvania Progressive Summit (not affiliated with this blog) Friday and Saturday in Harrisburg.  This is the final year of the organization’s Board Chair Eileen Connelly who is relocating to our eastern suburbs of New Jersey for family reasons.  Mike Morrill continues as Executive Director and Berks County’s own Jane Palmer organized the event once again.

Friday the Progressive Change Campaign Committee held a day long field training for candidates, campaign workers and interested parties.  PSEA kindly provided the space and President Mike Crossley made an appearance to talk with the 25 or so participants.  Kayla Wingbermuehle did the training which consisted of a pretty thorough (for one day) run through of determining win numbers, targeting precincts and voters, analyzing how many voter contacts to do to win and calculating the number of volunteers needed to do that.  She then went into a session about recruiting and training volunteers and how best to use them and keep them happy.  The final segment was about training the group in actual voter contact.  There were a lot of “do’s and don’ts” and considerable role playing mixed with exercises.

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Kayla Wingbermuehle

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State Rep. Erin Molchany, Keystone Progress PAC’s first ever endorsement, held an event Friday before the Gubernatorial debate.  Following the debate Keystone Progress held its annual event fund raiser.  Only two f the candidates for Governor attended that and I heard quite a few people in attendance wonder why the others weren’t there.

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Rep. Erin Mulchany

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Jim Hightower

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Jim Dean of Democracy For America

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John Hanger

More pictures are under the fold…

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Manan Trivedi

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Treasurer Rob McCord and Rep. Dan Frankel

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Jim Dean, Adams County Chair Roger Lund and Rob McCord

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Sen. Daylin Leach

Pennsylvania Progressive Summit 2012

This year’s Summit was another successful weekend of debates, workshops, reconnecting with old friends, making new friends and networking.  Held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia it departed from the former format of being in a large hotel.  The expense of using the Convention Center precluded having meals and speakers which detracted from much of the networking aspect.  The consensus was definitely to return to the style of Summit from 2010 in Harrisburg and 2011 in Pittsburgh.

The weekend kicked off with a debate between Attorney General candidates Kathleen Kane and Patrick Murphy at the Arch Street United Methodist Church.  Murphy won the straw poll following the debate with 56%.

Saturday morning I arrived at the registration desk and spoke with DFA’s Jim Dean for a bit, Jonathon Saidel (who coordinated much of the planning from Philly) and others.  A general meeting began at 9AM with Eileen Connolly, Chair of the Board of Keystone Progress and Mike Morrill its Executive Director.  The guest speaker was Wisconsin Sen. John Erpenbach one of the Wisconsin 14.  

Tables set up along the meeting concourse represented Summit sponsors and many progressive organizations, some local some national.  Workshops went for 75 minutes and ran the gamut.  In between I ran into old friends I hadn’t seen in years to those I see fairly regularly.  I sat in many workshops and learned a lot.  I also took pictures along the way.  Saturday evening began with a comedy show hosted by Sen. Daylin Leach and featuring comics Katie Halper, Lee Camp and Jeffrey Kreisler.  Lee Camp was absolutely hysterical.  Manan Trivedi hosted an after party at a karaoke bar in nearby Chinatown and Daylin Leach took everyone deep into the night with yet another party.

I got the killer time slot of Sunday at 9 AM for Video 101:  Media for Mobilizing.  Susie Madrak was down ill so the intrepid Beth Becker pinch hit and was wonderful assisting me.  Thanks to everyone who arose early to attend and the techies (Brett Banditelli) who got us going.

If you haven’t attended a Progressive Summit you’re missing a valuable tool for honing your skills, learning about tons of stuff useful in organizing and a golden opportunity to network with progressive leaders from across the state.  I had lunch Saturday with Josh Cook of the Obama campaign and Jesse Lee and Jon Carson, both fresh in from the White House.  Lee has been the blogger contact for President Obama so it was great to meet him personally even if only for  a few minutes.

The pictures from the weekend:

Jim Dean (Howard’s brother):

Eileen Connolly:

Mike Morrill:

The women’s health panel:

Panel on fracking:

The White House panel:

There was a great panel on dealing with activist burnout:

This panel was about lobbying from the legislator’s point of view:

Sen. Leach delivering a few zingers:

Katie Halper:

Lee Camp:

Jeff Kreisler: