Note- Angie Buhl is a fantastic candidate and strong LGBT ally I've come to know.
PFAW Action Fund is sponsoring OpenLeft through the election with a series on young progressive candidates around the country.
For the progressive movement to succeed we need to put young progressives in the leadership pipeline, and People For the American Way is doing just that by promoting dedicated activists who are running for public office for the first time. Young advocates for social and economic justice, women’s rights, LGBT equality, and environmental protection are doing tremendous jobs as community organizers, non-profit leaders, bloggers, and campaign workers. For the activists running for elected positions, People For the American Way Action Fund hopes to provide them with the support and resources to manage a successful campaign and advance progressive public policy.
In Maryland and South Dakota, two young progressive champions are waging their first campaigns for elected office, and will bring their years of experience in the progressive movement to their state capitals.
Meet Ariana Kelly of Maryland and Angie Buhl of South Dakota, two dynamic activists who are fighting for change in their communities.
|Ariana Kelly is running for an open seat in the Maryland House of Delegates, and won one of the three spots on the Democratic Party slate in last September’s primary. For eleven years Kelly has worked in non-profits dedicated to social services and civil rights. She served as Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland and also worked in the National Organization for Women Legal Defense and Education Fund.
Currently, she is the campaign director for the progressive group MomsRising, where she focuses on promoting equal pay for equal work, guaranteeing a living wage, and protecting families, workers, and communities from environmental hazards. This summer Kelly helped build an alliance of environmental, labor, and women’s groups to successfully pass Maryland’s “BPA Bill,” which would phase out the use of the toxic bisphenol-A chemical in baby bottles and cups.
If elected to the State House, Kelly will work to pass the marriage equality bill, ensure funding to programs that sponsor environmental protection and green jobs, crack down on predatory lending, and invest in public transportation and sustainable development. Kelly’s tireless work in the progressive community has provided her a wealth of experience in building coalitions, pushing reforms, and advocating for change.
Like Kelly, Angie Buhl of South Dakota is a first-time candidate who at a young age already has substantial experience in progressive politics.
Running for the South Dakota State Senate, Buhl became a Young People For fellow while a student at the University of South Dakota. She worked to defeat an anti-gay marriage Constitutional Amendment as a field organizer for the group South Dakotans Against Discrimination, and later worked with civil rights organizations like Stonewall Democrats, Equality South Dakota, and NARAL Pro-Choice South Dakota. Although the ban on same-sex marriage passed by a small margin, the state’s two consecutive referenda that would criminalize abortion both failed.
While campaigning, the Argus Leader reports that Buhl “didn’t hide her progressive beliefs” and “made a point of knocking on the door of every registered Democrat at least once,” sharing with voters her plans to make housing more affordable, spur investment in wind energy, and pass an anti-discrimination bill in the State Senate.
She successfully challenged a conservative incumbent in the Democratic primary who opposed abortion rights, hate crimes laws, and stem-cell research, and she is now the Party’s nominee. She told The Volante that “politics isn't about big money, it’s about improving lives. I think a lot of people lose sight of that concept. I just want to do a good job in Pierre in 2011.” Buhl, 25, will become the youngest female state legislator in the state’s history.
The People For the American Way Action Fund is helping young leaders from first-time candidates like Ariana Kelly and Angie Buhl to incumbent elected officials who are seeking re-election or higher office, all of whom are working to introduce and fight for progressive ideas and policies in their states and communities. Please visit the PFAW Action Fund website along with Ariana Kelly and Angie Buhl’s campaign websites today to see how you can help put these committed progressive activists into elected office on November 2nd.