You Make the Difference

This is a message from Michael Poppa, Executive Director of the Mainstream Coalition.

It has now been eight weeks since I joined the Mainstream team. As expected, it has been a roller coaster ride with the Kansas Legislature… and I am enjoying every minute, drinking straight from the firehose that is Kansas politics this year. I am also thankful to be surrounded by you—our dedicated members, volunteers, partners, and staff—who are the heart and soul of Mainstream. Together we’ve made headway on issues that directly impact Kansans through increased advocacy, education, and engagement. Thank you.

On the legislative front we’ve helped to kill (for now) a dangerous Kansas Constitutional amendment aimed at stripping health and reproductive freedoms from every woman in our state, pass the bipartisan Medicaid expansion bill through the House, stayed at least three anti-public education bills, and championed a voting rights bill, among others. In voter education, the Mainstream Education Foundation has continued reaching and engaging underrepresented populations across the state through Voter to Voter, Kansas’ first and only nonpartisan peer-to-peer get out the vote tool of its kind. (PS. I don’t want to give anything away, but stay tuned for some really exciting news from the Foundation!)

Now you may be thinking, “Sure, the Kansas Constitutional amendment passed the House, but Senate President Susan Wagle hijacked the democratic process and continues to hold Medicaid expansion hostage in the Senate. And, those anti-public education bills are gaining traction in the Legislature.”

Those concerns are valid. We definitely have some heavy lifting ahead of us in 2020, and we must stay vigilant to our mission. But in addition to advocating for good legislation at home we also have Presidential and US House and Senate races this year. And as you know, every seat in the Kansas House and Senate is up for election this year, too. But, don’t get overwhelmed or dwell on setbacks. Sometimes we forget to celebrate our victories, however small they may seem. So let’s do that now!

Our Members

Your support is everything. You give your time, talent and treasure to rally, contact your legislators, and donate financially to Mainstream. It is because of you that we are able to continue to drown out extremist voices and move forward with commonsense, compassionate policy to increase quality of life for all Kansans. In fact, Mainstream’s Action Alert to oppose the reproductive rights Constitutional amendment saw record-high levels of advocacy and engagement! We are grateful that our membership and support is on the rise this year. If you haven’t yet renewed your membership, or would like to join our efforts, please visit today.

Our Volunteers

Engaged supporters are crucial to furthering the mission of any nonprofit organization. From our talented Board of Directors and committee members to our field advocates and Voter to Voter Ambassadors, our volunteers are by far some of the most dedicated I’ve had the pleasure of working with. Seasoned Mainstream volunteers Becky Gunn and Paffi Flood, among others, are already hard at work on Walk the Vote 2020. This year we’ll be walking the walk on the morning of Saturday, June 13, more details on the way. We are expecting this to be our largest walk, yet. If you’d like to be a part of the core planning team, please reach out and we’ll put you in contact with our events committee.

MainPAC, led by volunteer Co-chairs Shel Roufa and Ward Katz, is also gearing up for their first fundraising event of the year. On Tuesday, May 26, MainPAC will host an evening reception and lecture with Jonathan Metzl, psychiatrist and acclaimed author of Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment is Killing America’s Heartland. Funds raised will go to supporting candidates in many crucial elections this year. Save the date now, and stay tuned for the details.

Our Partners

We are lucky to have such engaged community partner organizations. This year we’ve already worked with the League of Women Voters of Johnson County, Equality Kansas, Game on for Kansas Schools, and ACLU Kansas, among others. Our efforts have included co-hosting and promoting educational forums and state lobby days. Mainstream is also a partner in the Kansas Coalition for Citizen Participation as well as Safe and Welcoming Kansas. These groups are broad coalitions of community partners working to extend voting rights protections to the most vulnerable populations in our state.

Our Team

And, last but certainly not least, let’s celebrate the Mainstream team! Our staff are passionate about politics, revved-up about voter engagement, and dedicated to making a meaningful difference in your life and the lives of all Kansans. I am honored to work beside them every day. Thank you to Danny Novo, Lindsay Behgam, Julie Passett and John Pauldine for allowing me to stand on your shoulders.

As you can see, it takes a lot of time, treasure, and talent from many different individuals  to make a meaningful impact in Kansas. Please continue to support our common goals and Do More Than Vote. And, let’s not forget to celebrate every victory along the way!

- Michael Poppa
  Executive Director

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