Support Erin Zwiener, Who’s Running For a State-Level House Rep Seat in Texas (Good Update November 2020)

Update, November 2020: Zwiener won re-election to her Texas state representative seat.

Update, March 2019: Zwiener won her 2018 state-level race with 51.6 percent of the vote to her Republican opponent’s 48.4 percent. She faces re-election in 2020.

This OTYCD entry originally posted in January 2018.

Update: Zwiener advanced to the Democratic primary runoff, which will take place on May 22, 2018. She came second to Rebecca Bell-Metereau, who pulled in 45.41 percent of the vote to Zwiener’s 30.66 percent.

Support Erin Zwiener, who’s running for a state representative seat in House District 45 in Texas. The Democratic primary election takes place on March 6, 2018. 

Zwiener might have the best campaign slogan of any Texas state-level candidate: “Let’s put the ALL back in Y’ALL!” She’s a fifth-generation Texan, a children’s book author, and a three-time Jeopardy! champion.

She favors expanding Medicaid in her state, as well as fully funding its public school system. She supports LGBTQ rights, immigrants, and taking sexual assault and domestic violence as seriously as other crimes. She would encourage investment in renewable energy sources, promote conservation, legalize and regulate marijuana, and fight gerrymandering and vote-suppressing tactics.

See Zwiener’s campaign site:


Donate to Zwiener:


Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!

Like her on Facebook:


Follow her on Twitter:


Run For Something is backing Zwiener. See her on its Candidates page:


See her Ballotpedia page:


Candidates · Elections · Vote with your Dollars

Support Democrat Zach Wahls’s Campaign to Become an Iowa State Senator (Good Update March 24, 2019)

Update March 24, 2019: YES YES YES! Zach Wahls won his race for Iowa’s Senate, representing District 37.

He drew 78 percent of the vote, beating his Libertarian opponent by almost four to one. Wahls’s term continues to 2023.


Support Zach Wahls, a Democrat who’s running for a seat in Iowa’s state senate.


Wahls, the son of lesbian parents, gained national prominence in 2011 when he defended gay marriage in a speech before the Judiciary Committee of the Iowa House of Representatives. Footage of his speech became the most-watched political video on YouTube that year.


He co-founded Scouts for Equality, a non-profit that successfully urged the Boy Scouts of America to reconsider its policies on gay scouts and volunteers. (Wahls is an Eagle Scout.)


Now 26, he’s running for to represent Iowa’s 37th in its state senate.


He won his early June primary and will face a Libertarian incumbent on November 6, 2018. If he wins, he’d be Iowa’s youngest state senator.


Wahls hopes to improve mental health services in his state and hopes to restore full funding to Planned Parenthood. He opposes the Trump-GOP attempts to destroy the Affordable Care Act in part because it would devastate rural hospitals. He’s a Moms Demand Action Gun Sense candidate.


He supports collective bargaining rights and a higher minimum wage. He decries the actions of Immigration, Customs, and Enforcement (ICE) and opposes its attempts to deputize Iowa police. He favors affordable college tuition and universal pre-K. He would boost efforts to improve Iowa’s water quality and maintain its role as a wind energy producer.


See Wahls’s campaign site:




See his Meet Zach page:




See his Issues page:




Donate to his campaign:



Buy his campaign merch:




Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!



Like Wahls on Facebook:




Follow him on Twitter:




Read a 2011 article about Wahls’s speech before the Iowa legislature:



Read a June 2018 piece about his primary win:



Candidates · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends · Vote with your Dollars

Support Juli Briskman’s Run for Algonkian District Supervisor in Loudoun County, Virginia

Support Juli Briskman’s Run for Algonkian District Supervisor in Loudoun County, Virginia.


If that name seems familiar, it should. Briskman outed herself as the cyclist who flipped the bird at Trump’s motorcade in that photo that went viral in 2017.


When she identified herself, her employer fired her. We at OTYCD wrote about the GoFundMe to raise money to help her out in the wake of losing her job. She ultimately collected $142,000 against a stated goal of $100,000.


Now she’s decided to run for something.


She’s demonstrated great sense and level-headedness by aiming for a local-regional office. She wants to serve as the Algonkian District Supervisor in Loudon County, Virginia. The election is in November 2019.


If you live in Loudon County, this is a perfect fit for your 2019 To-Do List. If you don’t live there, there’s nothing stopping you from donating to Briskman and spreading the word about her campaign.


See Juli Briskman’s campaign website:



See her “Meet Juli” page:



Donate to her campaign:



Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the blue button on the upper right or checking the About & Subscribe page. And tell your friends about the blog!


Follow her on Twitter:



Like her on Facebook:




Candidates · Community Activism · Elections

Find Out Which of Your State Legislators Are Up for Re-Election In 2018

Find out which of your state legislators might be up for re-election, and see whether you can support them in 2018.

2018 is a busy year, with elections happening on the federal, state, and local levels. You should check and see which of your state legislators might be up for re-election.

First, you need to find the names of your state senator and state house rep if you don’t know them already. Go to:


…plug in your address and zip code, and voila! The search engine will give you the names of your state senator and state house rep, plus their Wikipedia entries, email addresses, web sites, social media contacts, and the like.

Once you have their names (unlike Congress, you probably have just one state senator, not two), go to Ballotpedia:


…and search on “<Your State> State Senate” and then “<Your State> State House of Representatives”.

Locate the column on the right, look for the line about term limits, and see how long your state’s legislative terms last. State legislatures don’t necessarily mirror the patterns of Congress. For example, terms of office in the New York state legislature are two years for both state senators and state house reps.

If your state legislature holds elections every two years, chances are your state legislators are up for re-election in 2018.

Now go to the websites of your state senator and state house rep. Read about them. Google them. Look each person up on Ballotpedia. See what’s been written about them and about their votes in the state legislature. Are they doing what you want? Do they reflect your values?

As you do this work, remember that while liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats are extinct on the federal level, they still exist at the state level. A ‘D’ next to a name is not an indicator of quality, and an ‘R’ should not automatically turn you off. You have to spend some time digging into your state legislators’ platforms and voting records to figure out if they’re people you can back.

If they are people you can back, sit down and figure out how to slot them into your volunteering schedule and your political donation budget. If you’ve really got the political bug, you might want to prioritize helping a state legislator–they’re more accessible than Congressional incumbents and candidates.

If your state legislators aren’t people you can support, go back to the whoaremyrepresentatives.org results or look your legislators’ names up on Ballotpedia. Both sources will give you the names of the districts each represents.

Then Google “Candidates <Whatever District You Live In>” or “Candidates running against <incumbent you don’t like> for <name of your home district>”. That might yield names of others who are running against your state legislators in 2018.

Don’t be surprised if nothing comes up, however. It’s fairly common for state legislators to run unopposed.

If you don’t like the incumbent and you don’t like the challengers (or there aren’t any challengers), why not consider running? No, really? Why not?

But if that’s a bridge too far, you could contact Flippable and see if it’s on the case, or you could talk about what you learned at your next Indivisible meeting and try to recruit someone else to run.


The whoaremyrepresentatives.org search engine was created by Politiwatch, a nonprofit 501 (3) (C) organization. They accept donations, but only in Bitcoin; scroll down for the donation button:



See the Ballotpedia home page:



Donate to Ballotpedia ($18 corresponds to the cost of a single article):



Like Ballotpedia on Facebook:



Follow Ballotpedia on Twitter:


Common-sense Gun Laws · Community Activism · Elections · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms

Help Vote Out the Florida Legislators Who Refused to Open Debate on an Assault Weapons Ban in Their State

Help vote out the Florida legislators who voted against opening debate on a bill that would have banned assault weapons in their state.


Marjory Stoneman Douglas (MSD) High School is located in Parkland, Florida. The Valentine’s Day 2018 massacre killed 17 and injured at least 14.


The first relevant bill to come up in the Florida legislature following the MSD shooting was HB 219, an assault weapons ban sponsored by Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, a Democrat from Orlando, site of the Pulse nightclub attack in 2017, which killed 50. The killers in both the MSD attack and the Orlando incident used semi-automatic weapons, which are often called “assault weapons”.


The vote, conducted on February 20, 2018, was about moving the bill from the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee to the House floor, so the full legislative body could begin debate.


The vote split along party lines: 36 Democrats voted yes, and 71 Republicans voted no. (Ten others did not vote, and three seats in the Florida house are currently empty.)


Some students from MSD were present in the chamber for the vote.


They already knew that federal-level representatives were not the only thing standing in the way of saner gun laws, but this was cold, hard proof of the fact.


The day after the vote, MSD shooting survivor and senior David Hogg (@davidhogg111) tweeted, “Hope you guys enjoyed being Politicians! “, and included a screenshot showing the name of each Florida house member and how they voted on whether to move HB 219 ahead.


If you live in Florida, please check this list and see how your state House rep voted. Call them or email them to thank them if they voted yes or scorn them if they voted no. If you don’t live in Florida, watch for campaigns by Sister District, Flippable, and Postcards to Voters (Tony the Democrat’s effort) that target Florida House candidates.


Every single member of Florida’s House will be up for re-election in November. Identify those who need to be voted out, and do what you can to make that happen.



Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!



See the full roll call for how the Florida House voted on the question of moving HB 219 forward on February 20, 2018:




Here’s another story on the same topic, but with contact info for each of the 71 Florida House reps who voted no:




And here’s a New York Times piece on how righteously pissed-off MSD students are pressuring the hell out of Florida Republicans. It includes a photo of MSD students watching the February 20, 2018 vote:


A note: We at OTYCD intend to nurture and encourage the movement sparked by the Margory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting by devoting one post at least every other week to gun safety-related issues.


The reason that the NRA has a death grip on Congress, and in particular, GOP Congressfolk, is that NRA members get off their asses and call if there’s a whisper of a muttering of a hint that a law might pass that could impose even the slightest imposition on ownership of guns in America.


That’s what the politicians are afraid of. It’s not just that some of them get metric buttloads of money for their campaigns from the NRA. Those who embrace the NRA’s outlook pounce on their phones and berate their representatives the instant they think their beloved guns are under threat.


So, yes, it’s on us to shout back.


We have to adopt the tactics of those who support the NRA.


We have to call our representatives often to make it damn clear that the status quo is unacceptable, and we want common-sense gun safety laws.


OTYCD will start out with one weekday post every two weeks, at minimum, that has to do with improving gun safety and pushing back against the NRA.


We do this in honor of the Parkland victims, and all victims of mass shootings in America, and everyone who has been fighting to change our laws on firearms all along.


If Trump finally bows to the will of Congress and imposes the sanctions against Russia for messing with the 2016 election, we will switch to devoting one post per week to these issues.


Honor the victims of the Parkland shooting, and all other shootings, by stepping up and calling your reps about common-sense gun safety laws, and by supporting politicians who have low grades from the NRA, and voting out those who do the NRA’s bidding.


#NeverAgain. For the love of all that is right and good, Never Again.



Action Alerts · Elections

Support Emily Ellsworth, Author of Call the Halls, Who’s Running for Utah State Senate as a Republican

Support Emily Ellsworth, author of Call the Halls, who’s running for Utah state senate as a Republican.


We at OTYCD devoted one of our earliest blog posts to Emily Ellsworth and her downloadable guide, Call the Halls. Soon after the 2016 election, Ellsworth compiled a reference with vital advice for contacting members of Congress.


Since then she has continued to dispense advice over her Twitter feed. Recently, she took a big step–she announced she’s running for Utah state senate, in district 15.


She’s facing a fight. The current incumbent, Republican Margaret Dayton, won the 2014 election with more than 80 percent of the vote. Ellsworth needs help nowrightnow because she needs to get her name out there before Utah holds its primary on June 26, 2018.


Obligatory warning, with apologies for bonking you all on the head about this fact: Ellsworth is running as a Republican, which means she probably holds at least some political beliefs that differ from your own. That means she might sometimes say things and do things that don’t match your beliefs, and which might piss you off well and thoroughly. That’s OK. Really, it’s OK. You’re being asked to look at what she’s doing and support what you like, not endorse every last little everything she does. She understands the danger of Trump–that’s the key thing. One of the reasons this country is so borked right now is we’re fiercely polarized and, in avoiding jerks who disagree with us, we end up avoiding decent people who happen to disagree with us. That’s got to stop if we want to make things better.



See Emily Ellsworth’s campaign website:




See her ‘About’ page (there’s a short version and a long version):




See her ‘Why I’m Running’ page:




Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!



Donate to her Crowdpac:




Volunteer for Ellsworth:




Follow her on Twitter:


Elections · GOOD UPDATE! · Support Immigrants and Refugees · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends · Vote with your Dollars

GOOD UPDATE! Democrat Kathy Tran WON A Seat In The Virginia State Legislature

This OTYCD entry originally posted in September 2017.

YES YES YES! Per Flippable, Democrat Kathy Tran won her race for a seat in the Virginia state senate. Hooray!

Original text of this post follows.

Support Kathy Tran, a Democrat running for the Virginia state legislature’s House of Delegates.

Flippable, the organization created after the 2016 elections to focus on state and local elections, has identified the state of Virginia as, well, flippable. All 100 seats in its House of Delegates are up for grabs on November 7, 2017.

We at OTYCD hope to prep and post items on the five Virginia candidates in the districts that Flippable has deemed most worthy of your time and money.

Tran and her family fled Vietnam when she was seven months old. She served the U.S. Department of Labor for 12 years before moving on to the National Immigration Forum, a leading immigration advocacy organization.

She wants to strengthen public schools, protect our environment, and prevent gun violence. She supports comprehensive immigration reform and expanding Medicaid. She defends reproductive rights, and has earned the endorsement of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia.

And as this quote from her Civil Rights and Democracy entry in her Issues section shows, she will defend both in a loud voice and at the slightest provocation:

“Kathy will use her voice to stand against those who seek to undermine a welcoming and inclusive Virginia.

At a time when the most fundamental elements of a well-functioning democracy are being challenged across the country, Kathy will fight against laws and practices that keep Virginians from exercising their right to vote or seek to weaken our vote through gerrymandering or the influence of big money in politics.”


See Tran’s campaign website:



See her ‘Meet Kathy’ page:




Like her on Facebook:



Follow her on Twitter:



Donate to Tran’s campaign:



See her Crowdpac page:



See Flippable’s page on Tran:



See Ballotpedia’s page on Tran:



See Flippable’s ‘Why Virginia’ page (you can find info on the other four races here):



Volunteer to help Tran and the other four Virginia state legislature candidates:

Community Activism · Elections · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends · Vote with your Dollars

Look Into the Voting Records of Your State-Level Reps

This OTYCD entry originally posted in June 2017.


Set aside some time to look into the voting records of your state house rep and your state senator, and figure out if they’re people who you can support.


Can you name your state-level house rep and senator? Could you do so before November 8, 2016? No worries, none of us at OTYCD could either.


If you don’t know who your state house rep and state senator are, go to the link below and plug in your address and zip code to get their names:



Once you have their names, google them. See what they’ve voted for, and what bills they’ve sponsored. Also pull up their state legislative biography pages and see what committees they’re on.


Do they represent you well? Dig deep into what you find, and give yourself time to think about it all. State-level politics allows for less ideological rigidity. It doesn’t guarantee it, but it allows it. Conservative Democrats and liberal Republicans are extinct on the federal level, but there are some at the state level. Stay alert. The folks who call themselves Democrats may not match your values, and those who call themselves Republicans could well be the better choice.


You need to get acquainted with the voting records and overall performance of your state-level reps so you’re better informed when it comes time to vote.


If you’re like us, you followed this procedure when you found yourself in the voting booth and faced with the need to pick a state-level rep:


Is this person a Democrat?


Has this person done anything embarrassing, awful, or glaringly incompetent?


If the answers are “yes” and “no” respectively, they get the black check. If not, no.


That strategy is no longer good enough. Schedule some time to really learn who your state-level reps are, and learn if they’re people who you can get behind.


If they are, think about what you can do to support them when they run again, be it donating, door-knocking, putting a sign on your lawn, whatever.


If they’re not, start scouting for candidates who you can support.


Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the blue button on the upper right or checking the About & Subscribe page. And tell your friends about the blog!


Support Democrat Sara Campbell-Szymanski, Who is Running for State Representative In Pennsylvania’s 150th House District

Support Democrat Sara Campbell-Szymanski, who is running for State Representative in Pennsylvania’s 150th House District.


Campbell-Szymanski is a 2007 graduate of Ursinus College who worked in a biology lab until pain in her hands forced her to quit. She was ultimately diagnosed with fibromyalgia. The results of the 2016 election convinced her she had to do more than just show up and faithfully vote.


Her number one issue is fighting gerrymandering, which dilutes votes in Montgomery County, where she lives. As someone with a pre-existing condition, Campbell-Szymanski understands the importance of defending Pennsylvania’s Medicaid expansion. She would fight any attempts to allow development in Pennsylvania state parks.


Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!



See Campbell-Szymanski’s campaign website:




See her “About Sara” page:




See her “Issues” page:




Donate to her campaign:




Like her on Facebook:




Follow her on Twitter:




Campbell-Szymanski earned the endorsement of Run For Something. See its Candidates page:



Community Activism · Elections

Join Flippable and See Which State-Level Races Need Your Help

This OTYCD entry originally posted in December 2017.


Join Flippable, which alerts you to state-level house and senate races with Democratic candidates who could use your help.


Flippable is one of many civic-minded organizations founded in the wake of the 2016 election. It points itself at state legislative elections, an aspect of the political scene that does not get the attention that it deserves.


In particular, Flippable exists to rebuild our country by electing Democrats at the state level. Democrats control too few state legislatures, and it’s the states that tend to serve as a farm team for future political talent–remember that Barack Obama was an Illinois state senator before he won a special election to serve as a senator from Illinois, and moved upward and onward from there.



Visit the Flippable home page:




Read the Flippable blog:




Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!



Learn about other upcoming elections that could use your help:




Like Flippable on Facebook:




Follow Flippable on Twitter: