News pieces related to our 2024 Freedom Agenda

NewDEAL Heads to New Hampshire for Regional Forum

The Well News | NewDEAL Heads to New Hampshire for Regional Forum

By Dan McCue


The NewDEAL is heading to New Hampshire on Friday not to be part of any presidential contest, but rather to cast a spotlight on New England Democratic state and local policymakers and their shared vision of impactful policies.

Friday’s event at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College is being held under the auspices of the NewDEAL Forum.

Among the officials who will be in attendance are Manchester, New Hampshire’s, former Mayor Joyce Craig, who is currently running for governor, New Hampshire state Sen. Rebecca Perkins Kwoka, Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll, Massachusetts state Rep. Tram Nguyen, and Maine’s Assistant House Majority Leader Kristen Cloutier.

Also participating will be student members of the institute’s Young Democrats organization.

“In a way I think what we’re doing is going to be a nice contrast to some of the other things going on in the state,” NewDEAL Forum CEO Debbie Cox Bultan told The Well News on Thursday.

She was referring not only to the increasingly nasty GOP primary race between former President Donald Trump and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, but also to deep disagreement between the Democratic National Committee and New Hampshire on the timing of the state primary.

The DNC wanted South Carolina to come first in primary voting this year, but New Hampshire would have none of it, stating that its status as the first-in-the-nation to vote for president is written into the state constitution.

That’s why the Republicans are actively having a contest, while the Democratic vote is unsanctioned and therefore not likely to be counted.

“Our conversations are going to be about what’s happening in NewDEAL and about striving for well-crafted solutions to the issues and concerns people care about, like climate change, and how to save our democracy, and how to promote freedom,” Bultan said.

A great deal of the afternoon’s agenda will be driven by the NewDeal’s 2024 Freedom Agenda, a plan for the future published late last year in partnership with the New Democrat Coalition.

The event’s agenda features dedicated sessions spotlighting the efforts of two NewDEAL Forum policy groups — one addressing climate change solutions and another centered on strengthening democracy.

The NewDEAL Forum’s Climate Policy Group has been actively arming leaders with the necessary information and resources to leverage new funding opportunities and implement effective solutions in their communities.

Heading into an election year, the Democracy Working Group has been busy helping elected officials safeguard Democratic institutions and ensure universal access for eligible voters to exercise their fundamental rights.

The discussion on Friday is also expected to emphasize the group’s efforts to promote civic engagement and participation among diverse voter demographics while fostering connections within and across communities.

“When we were creating our agenda for this year we were very mindful of the fact that while Republicans have tried to own the word freedom for years, their actions have represented anything but that,” Bultan said.

“I mean, all you have to do is look at what they are doing in regard to women’s reproductive care, book bannings and so many other things that are anathema to the very concept of freedom,” she continued.

“What’s been amazing in the weeks since we released the agenda is how much it has resonated with Democratic state and local leaders across the country and with the communities they serve,” Bultan said. “I really think it has legs, and that Democrats are rightfully rallying around the concept of freedom, not as a political gimmick, but as a way of truly describing the differences that exist between the two political parties right now.

“Frankly, I think it’s why we’ve seen Democrats do as well as they have in the last couple of elections, and I think we need to make sure that our focus continues to stay squarely on that,” she added.

Freedom Is On The Ballot in 2024

Freedom is on the ballot in 2024

By Debbie Cox Bultan and Congresswoman Annie Kuster, The Hill


With another election year upon us, it is time for Americans to decide which candidates best represent their values.

As leaders of the nearly 100 member New Democrat Coalition, one of the largest blocs of House Democrats, and NewDEAL Leaders, a group of nearly 200 forward-looking state and locally elected Democrats, we recognize the stark differences between our pragmatic approach to politics and the chaotic, backward tenets of the GOP.

As we look to November 2024, we urge Democrats to unite around a core strategy: Focus on how Democrats are committed to protecting our fundamental freedoms while Republicans work to derail Americans’ most basic rights.

Our groups jointly released our 2024 Freedom Agenda, a comprehensive playbook laying out the guiding principles that will shape our policy priorities into the future. It calls for Democrats to avoid the distractions of the 24-hour news cycle and instead underscore how our Democratic values resonate with Americans in every state and ZIP code.

Our Freedom Agenda focuses on three core American values: freedom of opportunity, freedom in communities, and freedom through democracy.

First, freedom of opportunity refers to the ability of Americans to achieve their dreams, including making deeply personal choices about their health care, whom they love, and where they live. To achieve these goals, Americans must have access to strong local economies, good schools, affordable housing, transportation and high-quality health care.

In Congress, Democrats are fighting for these opportunities through legislation that New Dems helped usher into law, like the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the CHIPS and Science Act, and targeted funding for child care. State and local leaders are embracing this federal funding, coupling it with state funding to prioritize affordable housing, expand access to broadband, and invest in underserved communities.

At the ballot box, Americans have consistently voted for candidates who prioritize freedom of opportunity while rejecting extremist Republicans. In 2022, we saw voters embrace candidates who are fighting to protect Americans’ ability to make deeply personal health care decisions, including access to abortion. For Democrats, that means fighting Republican efforts to curtail access to birth control and passing legislation like the Women’s Health Protection Act to ensure abortion care is legal and accessible in every state.

Second, Americans deserve the freedom to live in a safe and strong community. Gathering places — from malls to movie theaters to schools — should be free from discrimination and violence, especially gun violence. In Congress, New Dems successfully passed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the most significant gun violence prevention legislation in a generation. Our members will continue to support pragmatic gun safety policies at the state and federal levels.

Freedom in your community also includes access to clean air and drinking water while living without the fear of extreme weather devastating your home. House Democrats passed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) in 2022 to lower health care and energy costs, and now state and local officials are putting this legislation to work in their communities to strengthen our electric grid, grow the clean energy economy, and create high-quality jobs.

We’re seeing the impact of this legislation across the country. In Phoenix, Mayor Kate Gallego praised the law for bringing high-paying jobs to her city in clean energy industries. Residents are “excited about being able to reduce those energy bills, whether it is solar on your roof or getting a more efficient air conditioner or heat pump,” Gallego said on the law’s first anniversary.

Finally, New Dems and NewDEAL Leaders are deeply committed to protecting and preserving freedom through democracy. We saw in the 2022 midterms how clearly voters rejected anti-democratic, far-right Republican candidates who refused to acknowledge the results of the last presidential election. On the heels of the third anniversary of the Jan. 6 insurrection on our Capitol and as former President Trump continues to tout the “Big Lie” ahead of the 2024 election, it’s more important than ever that we speak out against anti-democratic rhetoric.

From federal legislation such as the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to state measures in MichiganMinnesota, and New Mexico, New Dems and NewDEAL Leaders are working to ensure elections are fair, voting is easy, and both parties respect the results — win or lose. We reject the use of violence, whether it is used to harass local election workers or in an attempted effort to prevent the peaceful transfer of power.

It’s clear that at every level of government, Democrats are the true defenders of Americans’ fundamental freedoms, while Republicans are working to take them away.

In 2024, just as we did in 2022, we must demonstrate the stark contrast between Democrats and Republicans. Let’s embrace the pragmatic, solutions-oriented candidates who preserve and strengthen our freedoms and reject those who abandon our values in pursuit of power. The decision couldn’t be clearer.

Annie Kuster represents New Hampshire’s 2nd District and is chair of the New Democrat Coalition. Debbie Cox Bultan is NewDEAL CEO.

Democratic Groups Embrace ‘Freedom’ for Their Policy Frameworks

GOVERNING | Democratic Groups Embrace ‘Freedom’ for Their Policy Frameworks

By Alan Greenblatt


Talking first about freedom will make voters more receptive to specific policy ideas, suggests Florida House Democratic leader Fentrice Driskell. (Alan Greenblatt/Governing)

Democrats are trying to reclaim the concept of freedom. More than 80 years after President Franklin D. Roosevelt outlined his “four freedoms,” contemporary Democrats have come to believe Americans will be more receptive when ideas are wrapped up within the core value of freedom than they are to discussions of specific policy proposals served up plain.

“We know that freedom is so fundamental as an American value that it cuts through a lot of the divisions,” says Fentrice Driskell, the Democratic leader of the Florida House. “The data show that if you can lead in communications with your values, you’re more likely to connect with a voter, even one that you may disagree with.”

Republicans, of course, also claim the freedom banner, including ultraconservative groups in Congress and legislatures known as Freedom Caucuses. In Driskell’s own state, the Florida Republican Party hosted a “freedom summit” earlier this month.

But Democrats around the country are now embracing the term ardently and strategically. Driskell has trained her caucus to talk about the “freedom to be,” a framework for talking about policies to promote prosperity, safety and health. In Pennsylvania, Democrat Josh Shapiro made “real freedom” a hallmark of his successful campaign for governor last year.

“Real freedom means ensuring every woman has the freedom to choose,” Shapiro posted this month on social media. “Real freedom means protecting every eligible voter’s right to make their voice heard in our democracy. Real freedom means giving every kid the freedom to chart their own course and the opportunity to succeed.”

The New Democrat Coalition in Congress and NewDEAL, a national network of state and local elected officials, released a joint “freedom agenda” last week. The key elements of their platform are creating opportunity, strengthening community and protecting democracy.

Throughout the document, the groups seek to cast Republicans as a threat, arguing that Democratic proposals offer Americans “freedom from” harmful GOP policies, notably restrictions on abortion. That’s become a political winner for the party.

“Abortion might not be your top issue, but some issues are deal-breakers for voters, even if it doesn’t show up in the polls,” says Kate deGruyter, senior director of communications for Third Way, a centrist Democratic think tank in Washington.

Georgia state Rep. Phil Olaleye was a winner of NewDEAL’s ideas challenge with a bill that would provide state funding to school districts that serve low-income students. (Alan Greenblatt/Governing)

Reframing Democratic Ideas

At NewDEAL’s annual leadership conference, elected officials talked about the sort of issues you’d expect to hear from Democrats – education, the economy, climate and health care, along with buzzier concerns such as artificial intelligence and misinformation.

Talking about those issues under the broad umbrella of freedom is the right way to go, argues Mark Riddle, president of Future Majority, a Democratic group that has been promoting this rubric. “Protecting individual freedoms moves voters more than anything else,” he told NewDEAL attendees.

Governing serves as a media partner to promote the NewDEAL’s biennial policy challenge, for which we receive no compensation.

Once you’ve established that you’re arguing in favor of freedom, it makes citizens more receptive to hearing you out on the specifics of how you intend to address a particular topic, says Driskell, the Florida House Democrat.

“You can have a conversation around policies that, frankly, are not even really partisan, like property insurance,” she says. “If you’re a Republican or Democrat or independent, you know rates are going higher and higher, but in order to engage in that conversation, in a trustworthy way, you’ve got to lead with values.”

NewDEAL and New Dems Launch ‘2024 Freedom Agenda’




Emma Weir, (New Dems)

Jonathan Dworkin, (NewDEAL)

DATE: November 15th, 2023

NewDEAL and New Dems Launch

‘2024 Freedom Agenda’

Leading Democratic organizations unveil framework for 2024 elections focusing on Freedom of Opportunity; Freedom in Communities; and Freedom through Democracy

Washington, DC ––  Today, NewDEAL and the New Democrat Coalition launched their joint 2024 Freedom Agenda, which shows how Democrats from city councils to state legislators to Congress are fighting to protect Americans’ fundamental freedoms and expand opportunities, while Republicans continue to sow chaos, extremism, and division at every level of government.

The agenda emphasizes that everyone should have “the chance to achieve the American Dream and the ability to make deeply personal decisions without government interference, while feeling safe, secure, and welcomed in every corner of our country.”

“At every level of government, Democrats are demonstrating that we are the true defenders of Americans’ fundamental freedoms,” said New Democrat Coalition Chair Annie Kuster (NH-02). “I’m excited to announce this freedom agenda alongside NewDEAL Leaders, which will guide our policy agenda and help Democrats take back the House majority in 2024. While far-right Republicans continue to attack freedom, our Members are working to expand it––from the freedom to vote in free and fair elections to the freedom to make personal reproductive decisions and the freedom to live safely in your community.”

“Freedom is at the foundation of what it means to be a Democrat and is a core value of NewDEAL and New Dems,” said Debbie Cox Bultan, CEO of NewDEAL. “Republican extremists insist on the government restricting all aspects of life, from what books people can read to women’s health care decisions. The Freedom Agenda shows why Americans are increasingly rejecting extremism and embracing the pragmatic, solutions-oriented ideas of NewDEAL Leaders and New Dems.”

The 2024 Freedom Agenda has three primary components: Freedom of Opportunity; Freedom in Communities; and Freedom through Democracy.

The agenda states: “While Republicans work to roll back essential freedoms, New Dems and NewDEAL Leaders are fighting tooth and nail to fortify Americans’ rights and create economic opportunities, while working in a bipartisan way at every opportunity.”

Read the full 2024 Freedom Agenda here.


POLITICO Exclusive: Democrats Want to Reclaim ‘Freedom’ In 2024


By Zach Montellaro


A group of moderate Democrats — the New Democrat Coalition in Congress and the NewDEAL, a group focused on state and local officials — are rolling out their “2024 Freedom Agenda.” It wraps several planks of the Democratic Party — protecting abortion and LGBTQ rights, advocating for gun control, defending democracy — under a broader message looking to recapture a word Republicans have tried to monopolize.

“We’re calling it a ‘freedom agenda’ and really leaning in on freedom,” said Kuster, the chair of the New Dems, “so that it’s the Democratic brand that’s carrying freedom, because people have been losing their freedoms to an extreme ideology across the board.”

Their message, shared first with Huddle, gives you a good idea of what the party wants to run on in 2024. A sizable chunk of frontline Democrats are New Dems and will make or break a potential Democratic majority next year.

The organizations say their new agenda can help the party attract the voters they need for the party to be successful in 2024 — not just the Democratic base, but the swingy suburban voters who have decided presidential races and the fight for control of Congress in recent years.

“This election in 2024, we’re going to need to build a broad coalition that is not just Democrats, but … center and center-right, even. People who are appalled by the rising chaos and extremism and even political violence on the right,” said Debbie Cox Bultan, NewDEAL’s chief executive officer.

Kuster said that she hoped the agenda would serve as a guidepost for her members’ messaging heading into next year. The agenda “makes it easier to share with people, it makes it easier for our members to use it,” she said. “With two wars, and democracy being threatened around the globe and right here at home, and 91 indictments, it’s hard to get through to our constituency.”

Read the 2024 Freedom Agenda here.