Last year was challenging for progressives. In a lot of places — Capitol Hill, in particular — our country took a discouraging step back and to the right. But with the help of dedicated CREDO members like you, we grew our base of activists to more than 1.5 million people and went to work to win many critical victories for progressive causes. Here are a few.
California rejects Texas oil
Big Oil dislikes the progress California is making in the fight against climate change. So in last November's election, two Texas oil refiners mounted a crude effort with Proposition 23, which would have effectively killed California's landmark Global Warming Solutions Act. But CREDO members and activists helped mobilize an aggressive statewide campaign and crushed Prop. 23, proving that grassroots activism can beat back corporate money and lead a renewed movement to stop climate change.
Obama repeals Don't Ask, Don't Tell
For 17 years, the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy has forced gays, lesbians and bisexuals to hide their sexual orientation or face discharge. We fought long and hard for these soldiers, who serve with honor every day, and in December we were proud to watch as President Obama signed a law to start repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell and open the way for gay, lesbian and bisexual soldiers to perform their duty with integrity.
Elizabeth Warren wins key role
President Obama has often frustrated progressives with his political appointees, particularly his financial overseers, who spend most of their time tending to the whims of Wall Street. But after strong urging from CREDO members like you, Obama overruled Wall Street advocates within his Treasury department by appointing Main Street advocate Elizabeth Warren as a special assistant in charge of building our new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, setting aside objections from Republicans and right-leaning Democrats.
Senate cans "Dirty Air Act"
When the EPA announced that global-warming gases are a danger to public health and therefore subject to regulation by the agency under the Clean Air Act, climate-change denier Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) leapt to defend the fossil-fuel industry. She wrote a resolution to block the EPA's power to limit carbon emissions. But we moved quickly as well and, thanks to pressure from CREDO members, the Senate rejected her "Dirty Air Act."
Health care reform moves forward
We fought hard for the public option and, while it didn't make it into the final legislation, we did build support for other vital reforms. With help from CREDO members, we passed legislation that prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage to children with preexisting conditions and makes most preventative treatments free. And we continue our fight to achieve our long-term goal — a single-payer health care system.
BP agrees to stop burning turtles
One of the most wrenching stories to emerge from the horrific Gulf Coast oil spill was a report that BP was inadvertently corralling sea turtles in their oil "burn zones" and incinerating them alive. We were the first to organize widespread pressure to end this horrific practice and, thanks to the quick response of CREDO Action members, BP agreed to measures aimed at saving sea turtles.
Colorado stops anti-choice measure cold
Anti-choice conservatives will try almost any trick to prevent women from making their own health decisions. They placed a proposition on the Colorado ballot on November 2 that sought constitutional rights for fertilized eggs. Its real intent: ban abortion and many forms of birth control. We helped raise nearly $40,000 for the campaign against the measure, and voters rejected it by a 3-1 margin.
ABC blacks out Breitbart
Andrew Breitbart is among the most corrosive figures on the U.S. political scene. His race-baiting videos, edited to deceive, have resulted in the defunding of ACORN and the firing of Agriculture Department official Shirley Sherrod. When ABC News invited Breitbart to provide analysis on the November 2 election, we weren't having it. We pressed the network to dump him and it did, denying him a forum to spread his noxious propaganda.
EPA scuttles massive mountaintop mine
Mountaintop-removal coal mining is one of the world's most ecologically lethal industries. West Virginia's Spruce Mine was one of the largest such mines ever proposed. But thanks to a wave of opposition from CREDO members, the EPA declared the project a violation of the Clean Water Act and said it would veto the mine's permit.
Justice Department halts racial profiling
Arizona's anti-immigrant law, SB 1070, would legalize racial profiling, authorizing police to stop and detain people based purely on the color of their skin. It is aimed directly at a specific group — Hispanics — and it is unconstitutional. CREDO members joined many others to put pressure on Attorney General Eric Holder to challenge SB 1070 and he did, filing an injunction to block the law's worst provisions.
Senate ratifies START
Almost lost in the aftermath of the November election was the renewal of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty — and Republicans' petulant and self-serving opposition to it. The treaty will reduce nuclear arsenals in the U.S. and Russia, stop the spread of nuclear weapons and make the world safer. CREDO members turned up the heat on the Senate to approve START and it did.
Congress passes Food Safety bill
Tainted foods kill 3,000 Americans a year and sicken 48 million. Much of the damage is a direct result of inadequate regulation of food producers: food-safety laws have not had a major upgrade since 1938. For months we pushed for the Food Safety Modernization Act, which places tougher rules on producers, and Congress finally listened, approving the law in December.
9/11 first responders get health care
Hypocrisy is a habit among Congressional Republicans. But rarely has it been so shameful as when the same GOP lawmakers who relentlessly laud the heroism of 9/11 blocked a bill to provide health care to 9/11 first responders who are still sick from their work in the toxic environment of Ground Zero. CREDO members made their outrage felt and Republicans relented, funding a program to provide health benefits and compensation to first responders.
New York blunts drilling in Catskills
Plans to drill for natural gas in upstate New York pose a serious threat to the state's drinking water. There are places where this sort of drilling has so contaminated aquifers that residents can light their tap water on fire. We pressed for strict regulation, and environmental officials established new rules that effectively block drilling for gas in the Catskills and Skaneateles Lake watersheds.
Washington protects kids from BPA
Baby bottles, sippy cups and other plastic products used by children commonly contain bisphenol A, or BPA, a toxic chemical linked to cancer, diabetes, neurological disorders and a range of other health problems. To keep kids safe, we strongly pushed for the Safe Baby Bottle Act in Washington and state legislators responded, passing the act and banning BPA in plastic products targeted at children.
Oregon blocks drilling off of coast
The BP Gulf Coast oil spill provided a sobering reminder of the catastrophic threat posed by offshore drilling. So when the oil and gas industry began drawing up plans to drill off of the Oregon coast, we joined with environmental and fishing groups in the state to actively protest. Lawmakers listened and last February approved a 10-year moratorium on drilling in coastal waters.
Oregon muzzles greenhouse gases
While Congress fiddles, states are leading the way in the fight against global warming. We have long pressed for Oregon to take action on climate change, and last year the state joined California at the forefront, passing a law directing state agencies to develop a comprehensive transportation strategy to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions from cars and trucks.
KBR drops fight against rape victim
In 2005, Jamie Leigh Jones, an administrative assistant for Halliburton/KBR in Iraq, was drugged and brutally raped by coworkers. KBR's response: deny, delay and fight her all the way to the Supreme Court. But CREDO members sent thousands of letters to CEO Bill Utt urging him to drop the opposition and he eventually reversed field, abandoning the appeal and giving Jones a chance at justice.
Massachusetts speeds wind power
Wind power is now cost-competitive with nonrenewable energy sources. Yet despite its abundant, free supply of wind, Massachusetts is almost entirely reliant on fossil fuels. So we asked CREDO members to press the feds for approval of the stalled Cape Wind Project, the nation's first offshore wind farm, and recently Cape Wind got its final federal permits.
New York halts conservative gerrymandering
Nine out of 10 New York prisoners are held upstate. And for years, conservative districts there have counted them as residents to grab a disproportionate share of power and tax money. This has unfairly drawn resources from New York City, where two-thirds of prisoners are from and will likely return. CREDO members urged legislators to fix this imbalance and they voted to count inmates as residents of their home districts.
USDA orders better lunch
You are what you eat — and this is especially true for growing kids. But for years, McDonald's and Jack in the Box have had higher standards for their meat than the National School Lunch Program. CREDO members called foul and the U.S. Department of Agriculture listened, requiring better quality from companies that supply meat to schools.
Obama extends hand to Haitians
The earthquake of January 2010 killed a quarter-million people and left the country in ruins. In the aftermath, many undocumented Haitian refugees in the U.S. faced deportation back to the devastation. We urged President Obama to grant Temporary Protected Status to these refugees and he quickly agreed, signing an order to protect them from deportation and let them start the process of healing.