Retake Our Democracy is a 501-c-4 tax exempt organization that was formed after the Democratic Convention in 2016. Our purpose is to make it easier for you to effectively advocate for social, racial, economic, gender, and climate justice. A key part of this is to advocate for legislation, policies, and candidates who place people and the planet over profit.
We focus on state and local issues, where it is easiest to create meaningful change and to have an impact. To achieve our goals, we engage, educate, organize, and activate a growing base of progressive power. We have developed legislative and election strategies that operate at the state and local levels.
To engage and educate our community, we host a website with a wide range of information, resources and tools; we blog 3-4 days a week; and we host a weekly 30-minute radio show on KSFR at 8:30am every Saturday.
Our first project was Retake the Roundhouse, through which we endorsed and supported seven good Democrats running for the NM State House in 2016. We canvassed, called, staged house parties, and otherwise encouraged folks to support these candidates. Five of these candidates won and we Retook the Roundhouse. Certainly, many people and many other groups were involved in this success, but Retake played a role and we began to learn how to build a power base.
After the 2016 election, Retake advocated at a state and local level. At the local level, a team of advocates successfully lobbied at the City Council to support Somos Un Pueblo Unido in their effort to strengthen the City's sanctuary policies. We supported Fair Vote NM and lobbied successfully, forcing a very reluctant City Council to implement Ranked Choice Voting. We supported Common Cause in a successful lobbying effort to encourage the City Council to stand up Rio Grande Foundation legal threats and hold firm on the City's campaign disclosure laws. We supported New Energy Economy in their opposition to a sweetheart deal with PNM to build solar installations to support the City's transition to renewables at City-operated facilities, but at a much greater short and long-term cost than would occur by issuing a competitive RFP for the same installation. In each instance, we took our position from our ally and then galvanized Retake supporters to advocate at the City Council.
As a result of our advocacy experience at the Roundhouse in 2017 and 2018, we initiated an Election and Legislative Strategy. The Election Strategy involved providing strong support for challenges to Debbie Rodella and Carl Trujillo, members of the NM House who had been identified as persistently undermining good legislation. We organized canvassing, calls and house parties for Andrea Romero who challenged Trujillo and Susan Herrera who challenged Rodella, winning both primaries.
In the midterm elections, we worked with the NM House Coordinated Campaign to identify 11 Democratic candidates, eight of whom were facing off against GOP incumbents and three of whom were defending their seats from GOP challenges. Again, we provided canvassing, calling and house party support and all eleven of the Democrats won their races. We were one of many players in all these races, but in District 20 where Abbas Akhil unseated Jim Dine, we played a very prominent role in a race ultimately won by just 60 votes.
As part of our Legislative Strategy, in 2017 we formed a Roundhouse Advocacy Team (RAT Pack). To find out more about the RAT Pack, as it has come to be known, click this link and learn how it has worked with over two dozen non-profit advocacy groups to prepare for the 2019 Roundhouse session.
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