Winning Public Policies that put People and the Planet First
The People’s Lobby’s top priority is winning public policies that put the needs of people and our planet before the interests of corporations and the super-rich and that challenge structural economic, racial and gender inequality.
The People’s Lobby has partnered with legislators to pass statewide legislation:
- Decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana, and
- Initiating a review process for any police shooting in Illinois.
The People’s Lobby has introduced local legislation that reclaims power from corporations:
- The Chicago Fair Elections municipal ordinance (in partnership with Common Cause and Reclaim Chicago) will create a public financing system for municipal elections; We have introduced an ordinance into committee, secured four co-sponsors and identified 9 additional aldermen in support, putting us half-way toward the goal of 26 votes needed for passage.
- The Responsible Business Act will hold big corporations like Wal-Mart and McDonald’s accountable for padding their profits by paying poverty wages and forcing workers to rely on the social safety net in order to survive. The act will require the corporations who choose to pay less than $15 an hour to pay a fee to Cook County to help cover the cost of vital services poverty wage workers need. We have introduced this bill with 6 co-sponsors and are within 3 votes of a majority to pass it.
Our members are key leaders in coalitions to:
- End the local war on drugs and mass incarceration machine,
- Repair Illinois’ budget by closing corporate tax loopholes and raising taxes on the rich,
- Win a clean jobs bill that would move Clean Power Plan implementation forward in Illinois, and
- Organize our congressional delegation to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Building Progressive Political Power to Reclaim Government from Corporate Interests
Because the majority of elected representatives are beholden to small numbers of big money donors and their corporate interests, there are real limits to the people and planet first policies we can win. So The People’s Lobby is committed to electing people from our communities who share our values.
This requires us to do politics differently. Instead of putting candidates front and center in our conversations with voters, we lead with our values and the policies we plan to win when we reclaim government. Then we introduce voters to the candidates we’ve endorsed who have committed to fight for our values. We also recruit and train leaders from our communities to run for office. And instead of closing up shop on election night, as the mainstream political parties do, we engage our growing base of leaders in fights for public policies that will increase investment in our communities and create the radical change we need in society.
During the 2015 Chicago Municipal Elections, The People’s Lobby leaders, through our Reclaim Chicago partnership with National Nurses United, spent almost 10,000 hours reaching out to voters about our values and endorsed candidates. We were instrumental protecting Chicago’s progressive caucus from big money attacks by Rahm Emanuel. Every single sitting progressive was re-elected, and we elected three new progressives to city council.
During the 2016 Democratic Primary, The People’s Lobby had more than 18,000 conversations to persuade voters in south suburban Cook County to vote for Kim Foxx for Cook County State’s Attorney based on her commitment to end the local war on drugs that fuels mass incarceration and to hold police accountable to following the law. Via Reclaim Chicago, The People’s Lobby endorsed an entire slate of progressive candidates — headed by Bernie Sanders for President and Kim Foxx and rounded out by five candidates for state legislature. Reclaim Chicago played a huge role in bringing Sanders from a 30 point deficit to within 2 points of winning Illinois. Reclaim Chicago’s slate of state legislature candidates, including three progressive challengers, won their primaries.