States rush to combat AI threat to elections

States rush to combat AI threat to elections

By Zachary Roth, Georgia Recorder


This year’s presidential election will be the first since generative AI — a form of artificial intelligence that can create new content, including images, audio, and video — became widely available. That’s raising fears that millions of voters could be deceived by a barrage of political deepfakes.

But, while Congress has done little to address the issue, states are moving aggressively to respond — though questions remain about how effective any new measures to combat AI-created disinformation will be.

Last year, a fake, AI-generated audio recording of a conversation between a liberal Slovakian politician and a journalist, in which they discussed how to rig the country’s upcoming election, offered a warning to democracies around the world.

Here in the United States, the urgency of the AI threat was driven home in February, when, in the days before the New Hampshire primary, thousands of voters in the state received a robocall with an AI-generated voice impersonating President Joe Biden, urging them not to vote. A Democratic operative working for a rival candidate has admitted to commissioning the calls.

In response to the call, the Federal Communications Commission issued a ruling restricting robocalls that contain AI-generated voices.

Some conservative groups even appear to be using AI tools to assist with mass voter registration challenges — raising concerns that the technology could be harnessed to help existing voter suppression schemes. 

“Instead of voters looking to trusted sources of information about elections, including their state or county board of elections, AI-generated content can grab the voters’ attention,” said Megan Bellamy, vice president for law and policy at the Voting Rights Lab, an advocacy group that tracks election-related state legislation. “And this can lead to chaos and confusion leading up to and even after Election Day.”

Disinformation worries

The AI threat has emerged at a time when democracy advocates already are deeply concerned about the potential for “ordinary” online disinformation to confuse voters, and when allies of former president Donald Trump appear to be having success in fighting off efforts to curb disinformation.
But states are responding to the AI threat. Since the start of last year, 101 bills addressing AI and election disinformation have been introduced, according to a March 26 analysis by the Voting Rights Lab.
On March 27, Oregon became the latest state — after Wisconsin, New Mexico, Indiana and Utah — to enact a law on AI-generated election disinformation. Florida and Idaho lawmakers have passed their own measures, which are currently on the desks of those states’ governors.
Arizona, Georgia, Iowa and Hawaii, meanwhile, have all passed at least one bill — in the case of Arizona, two — through one chamber.
As that list of states makes clear, red, blue, and purple states all have devoted attention to the issue.


States urged to act

Meanwhile, a new report on how to combat the AI threat to elections, drawing on input from four Democratic secretaries of state, was released March 25 by the NewDEAL Forum, a progressive advocacy group.

“(G)enerative AI has the ability to drastically increase the spread of election mis- and disinformation and cause confusion among voters,” the report warned. “For instance, ‘deepfakes’ (AI-generated images, voices, or videos) could be used to portray a candidate saying or doing things that never happened.”

The NewDEAL Forum report urges states to take several steps to respond to the threat, including requiring that certain kinds of AI-generated campaign material be clearly labeled; conducting role-playing exercises to help anticipate the problems that AI could cause; creating rapid-response systems for communicating with voters and the media, in order to knock down AI-generated disinformation; and educating the public ahead of time.

Secretaries of State Steve Simon of Minnesota, Jocelyn Benson of Michigan, Maggie Toulouse Oliver of New Mexico and Adrian Fontes of Arizona provided input for the report. All four are actively working to prepare their states on the issue.

Loopholes seen

Despite the flurry of activity by lawmakers, officials, and outside experts, several of the measures examined in the Voting Rights Lab analysis appear to have weaknesses or loopholes that may raise questions about their ability to effectively protect voters from AI.

Most of the bills require that creators add a disclaimer to any AI-generated content, noting the use of AI, as the NewDEAL Forum report recommends.

But the new Wisconsin law, for instance, requires the disclaimer only for content created by campaigns, meaning deepfakes produced by outside groups but intended to influence an election — hardly an unlikely scenario — would be unaffected.

In addition, the measure is limited to content produced by generative AI, even though experts say other types of synthetic content that don’t use AI, like Photoshop and CGI — sometimes referred to as “cheap fakes” — can be just as effective at fooling viewers or listeners, and can be more easily produced.

For that reason, the NewDEAL Forum report recommends that state laws cover all synthetic content, not just that which use AI.

The Wisconsin, Utah, and Indiana laws also contain no criminal penalties — violations are punishable by a $1000 fine — raising questions about whether they will work as a deterrent.

The Arizona and Florida bills do include criminal penalties. But Arizona’s two bills apply only to digital impersonation of a candidate, meaning plenty of other forms of AI-generated deception — impersonating a news anchor reporting a story, for instance — would remain legal.

And one of the Arizona bills, as well as New Mexico’s law, applied only in the 90 days before an election, even though AI-generated content that appears before that window could potentially still affect the vote.

Experts say the shortcomings exist in large part because, since the threat is so new, states don’t yet have a clear sense of exactly what form it will take.

“The legislative bodies are trying to figure out the best approach, and they’re working off of examples that they’ve already seen,” said Bellamy, pointing to the examples of the Slovakian audio and the Biden robocalls.

“They’re just not sure what direction this is coming from, but feeling the need to do something.”

“I think that we will see the solutions evolve,” Bellamy added. “The danger of that is that AI-generated content and what it can do is also likely to evolve at the same time. So hopefully we can keep up.”

How state lawmakers, election officials are fighting AI deepfakes

How state lawmakers, election officials are fighting AI deepfakes

By Sophia Fox-Sowell, State Scoop


States are racing to pass legislation that targets the production of AI-generated deepfakes in an effort to curb deceptive information practices ahead of the 2024 presidential election, new research shows.

Voting Rights Lab, a nonpartisan organization that analyzes election-related legislation, is tracking more than 100 bills in 40 state legislatures introduced or passed this year that intend to regulate artificial intelligence’s potential to produce election disinformation.

Megan Bellamy, vice president of law and policy at Voting Rights Lab, said some of these laws aim to provide transparency around AI-generated content, while others seek to penalize those that use AI to intentionally mislead voters.

“2024 is the first American presidential election year at the intersection of election-related myths and disinformation that have been on the rise and the rapid growth of AI-generated content,” Bellamy told StateScoop in a recent interview about Voting Rights Lab’s legislative analysis, which was released Tuesday.

Deepfakes, a portmanteau of “deep learning” and “fake,” are synthetic audio, images or videos created to replicate a person’s likeness, usually by AI.

In February, robocalls using an AI-generated voice impersonating President Joe Biden reached thousands of New Hampshire voters ahead of the state’s primary, falsely informing them that they would lose their ability to vote in the general election.

“It’s a very fast-paced, constantly changing landscape when it comes to AI-generated content,” Bellamy said. “So once legislators realized this could really be negatively impactful in a presidential election, they started taking action.”

‘Unknown area’ of AI legislation

Bellamy said legislation passed in three states – Arizona, Florida and Wisconsin – are good examples of the different types of regulatory trends Voting Rights Lab sees gaining momentum across state legislatures.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers last week signed a bill requiring groups affiliated with political campaigns to add disclaimers to any content made with generative AI. Failure to comply is punishable by a $1,000 fine for each violation.

Bellamy said Wisconsin’s law is less restrictive than others and that it doesn’t address misinformation threats from people or groups not affiliated with political campaigns.

“AI-generated content can grab the voter’s attention, reach them faster and spread in more of a viral way than state board of elections and county board of elections and all of these trusted sources can overcome,” Bellamy said. “So they really do have an opportunity to impact the election — plus, they’re persuasive.”

In Florida, a bill awaiting Gov. Ron DeSantis’ signature would also require disclaimers for AI-generated political ads and election-related materials, with penalties of up to one year of incarceration.

In Arizona, two bills that have gained traction would aim to balance government regulation of AI-generated election content with the First Amendment and other federal laws, such as Section 230 of the Federal Communications Decency Act, which allows exceptions for media, satire or parody, internet providers and public figures.

One of the Arizona bills would make the failure to label AI-generated political media a felony for repeat offenses or offenses committed with the intent to cause violence or bodily harm. The other legislation would allow an aggrieved party to file a civil suit against the content creator and sometimes receive financial restitution.

“The Arizona Legislature is essentially seeking to prevent a scenario like what happens in Slovakia,” said Bellamy, referring to an incident in 2023 when audio recordings using false AI-generated conversations about election rigging were released two days before the country’s election day.

Not every state has passed legislation on AI-generated content for political campaigns, but Bellamy said she expects to see more state legislatures taking the issue up.

“There’s a wide variety of approaches, even among the states that have started to grapple with the issue. There’s not a one-size-fits-all approach at this point,” she said. “It’s really an unknown area that legislators are trying to solve.”

Non-legislative tools

Debbie Cox Bultan, the chief executive of NewDeal, a nonprofit that works with government officials on democratic policies, said legislation addressing AI-generated deepfakes is just one tool states can use to combat election-related misinformation. The organization recently released a report that advises elections administrators how to mitigate disinformation campaigns in their states.

One such measure, Bultan said, is incident response preparation, or tabletop exercises, which can help educate and prepare election workers for real-world scenarios in which they’d need to quickly stop the spread of false information.

“What happens if there is any kind of deepfake or other AI-related thing that sows chaos or confusion to the election? Who’s responsible for what? What’s the communications that needs to happen with voters?” Bultan said. “ That’s happening in a lot of states and I think is a super important way that elected officials can be prepared.”

Bultan said several secretaries of state are using the months before the election to lead public information campaigns that educate voters about the threats deepfakes present. New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver has started a public awareness campaign to educate voters about deepfakes and provides information on trusted election resources.

“There’s always been efforts to suppress vote or to sow chaos in elections. These are just new tools to do that,” Bultan said. “So I think it’s really important we get on top of this now.”

Bultan said Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson is also trying to educate the public.

“Benson is engaging trusted community leaders, like faith-based leaders and others, to make sure that they have information that they can share with people in their communities as a trusted voice in those communities,” Bultan said. “We haven’t seen elections where [generative AI] has the potential to really cause some chaos, disinformation, misinformation. And that’s something our secretaries in particular are concerned about. This is an all hands on deck situation.”

The American Rescue Plan Is (Still) Worth Celebrating

The American Rescue Plan Is (Still) Worth Celebrating

By Debbie Cox Bultan, The Well News


Just three years ago, our economy was in the midst of an unprecedented crisis. Communities across the nation were reeling not only from the health implications of the COVID pandemic, but also from high unemployment, business closures and frightening economic uncertainty.

Bold and decisive action was needed.

In March 2021, President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act into law, setting the stage for local, state and federal cooperation to heal our nation. On the third anniversary of this landmark legislation, we should reflect on the lessons of the law for how we approach future economic crises, because even three years later, the impact continues to benefit people across the country.

On the national level, ARPA catalyzed a broad and equitable economic recovery. When signed into law, the nation’s unemployment rate was 6.1%. ARPA spurred historic job growth, with nearly 14 million jobs created since then, and an unemployment rate consistently below 4%. And the recovery saw historic drops in the Black and Hispanic unemployment rates, ensuring communities everywhere benefited from the law.

Furthermore, the law helped more than 8 million people stay in their homes, brought down the cost of health care, led to the lowest child poverty rates in American history and helped more than 200,000 child care centers remain open.

That alone was historic. Yet national data doesn’t show the whole picture. One of the key successes of ARPA was to make possible investments in durable progress. Elected officials — from city council members to mayors to state legislators — are still using ARPA funds to bring about long-lasting benefits to their communities.

As CEO of NewDEAL, I hear stories about this progress every day from our network of 200 state and local leaders.

In Phoenix, Arizona, Mayor Kate Gallego used ARPA funds to provide Wi-Fi access and digital literacy support to residents in public and affordable housing communities for the next three years, benefiting nearly 5,000 low-income households across the city.

In Boston, Massachusetts, Mayor Michelle Wu is extending a fare-free bus program designed to help residents along corridors with a high percentage of low-income riders to help those who need it most get to and from their jobs.

In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Mayor Cavalier Johnson is using ARPA funds to more quickly help families in homes with lead pipes and lead paint. Using $25 million from ARPA, the city is partnering with groups like Habitat for Humanity and others to increase the rate of lead abatement projects to protect children and families in vulnerable housing.

In Lincoln, Nebraska, Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird steered ARPA funds to partnerships with local hospitals and agencies to create pathways to train more nurses and child care professionals. These jobs will not only help residents today, but will ensure Lincoln has the workforce that will allow the city to thrive in the years to come.

ARPA is a testament to our nation’s resilience and capacity to come together in times of crisis. It shows the power of leadership at all levels that listens, understands and acts in the community’s best interest. The funding, which runs through the end of this year, will continue to be a driving force behind our nation’s economic recovery.

As voters head to the polls later this year, Democrats need to actively call attention to the widespread success of investments like ARPA, the Inflation Reduction Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. They must emphasize, over and over, that Democrats are the only ones serious about both governing and addressing the problems Americans care about. Across the country, these Democrat-led initiatives are fixing bridges, building affordable housing, creating manufacturing jobs and showing that government can expand economic opportunity for everyone.

At the same time, Republicans have shown repeatedly that they are not serious about governing, repeatedly prioritizing culture war politics at every level, from book bans in the states to their fact-free impeachment circuses in Washington, rather than seeking productive solutions to the real challenges facing Americans. Among other things, that approach has made this Congress “the most unproductive in decades.”

ARPA stands as a shining example of how, across all levels of governing, Democrats are delivering and solving problems. And this November, voters will have a clear choice of whether this kind of progress is possible moving forward.

Debbie Cox Bultan has 25 years of experience in center-left politics, public policy and nonprofit leadership. As CEO of NewDEAL, she oversees both strategy and day-to-day operations for the organization. She previously served as executive director for the Civic Leadership Foundation, a Chicago, Illinois-based nonprofit that prepares underserved youth for college, career and civic life. Prior to helping launch NewDEAL, she spent 15 years at the Democratic Leadership Council where she served in a number of capacities, including national political director and chief of staff. Among her accomplishments at the DLC was developing a network of, and policy tools for, state and local elected officials across the country. You can reach out on Twitter @debbiecoxbultan and @newdealleaders.

The American Rescue Plan is worth celebrating in Michigan

Opinion: The American Rescue Plan is worth celebrating in Michigan

By Winnie Brinks, The ‘Gander


In politics, a week can feel like a lifetime. So it is no surprise that the American Rescue Plan, signed into law three years ago, is not top of mind in our collective memories. However, it was not that long ago that our communities faced an unprecedented crisis.

From communities in Michigan, where I have the honor of serving as the state’s Senate majority leader, to cities and towns across the country, Americans were reeling not only from the health implications of the COVID pandemic, but with economic impacts as well. We all remember the high rate of unemployment, businesses on the brink of closing, and the cloud of uncertainty hanging over us. Americans were hurting, and we needed bold, decisive action.

In March 2021, Democrats in Congress and President Biden delivered the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), setting the stage for local, state, and federal cooperation to heal our nation. On the third anniversary of this landmark legislation, it is imperative to reflect on the positive impact this law continues to have here in Michigan and across the country.

In Michigan, we are investing the $6.5 billion from ARPA into programs that not only help residents in the midst of a crisis, but will help our communities grow and prosper for years to come.

During the height of COVID recovery, access to child care was one of the greatest threats to enabling parents to get back to work. That’s why Gov. Whitmer invested $365 million from ARPA to provide both bonuses to childcare professionals as well as operational grants directly to child care businesses. The funding helped more than 5,500 child care providers across the state so they could remain open during the hardest of times, and continue today to provide high-quality child care.

Federal funds from ARPA continue to flow into Michigan, and Governor Whitmer has since gained productive partners in Michigan’s new Democratic majorities in the Senate and House. In June, the Small Business Support Hubs program was announced, which will provide $75 million of investment for the state’s small business ecosystem. The goal is to both increase the number of businesses who have access to various support services, as well as cultivate a more inclusive and integrated system for small business entrepreneurs. We have been able to appropriate funds to increase our state’s environmental sustainability, workforce and economic development, public safety, and so much more.

And Michigan is not alone in making improvements with ARPA funds. In Phoenix, Mayor Kate Gallego approved the use of $3 million of ARPA funds to provide free Wi-Fi access in public and affordable housing communities for the next three years, benefitting nearly 5,000 low-income households across the city.

In Milwaukee, Mayor Cavalier Johnson is using $25 million of ARPA funds to provide faster help to families in homes with lead pipes and lead paint.

In Lincoln, Nebraska, Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird steered ARPA funds to partnerships with local hospitals and agencies to create pathways to train more nurses and childcare professionals. These jobs will not only help residents today, but will ensure Lincoln has the kind of workforce that will allow the city to thrive in the years to come.

Beyond these stories, national figures show the breadth and depth of ARPA’s success. When signed into law, the nation’s unemployment rate was 6.%1. Since then, nearly 14 million jobs have been created and the nation’s unemployment rate has been below 4% for 24 consecutive months, a feat not accomplished since 1967. And the recovery saw historic drops in the Black and Hispanic unemployment rates, ensuring communities everywhere benefited from the law.

Furthermore, the law helped more than 8 million people stay in their homes, brought down the cost of health care, and led to the lowest child poverty rates in American history, and helped more than 200,000 child care centers remain open.

As voters head to the polls later this year, Democratic candidates cannot rely on a media focused on horse-race politics and the scandal-of-the-day to remind voters about these accomplishments. We need to actively call attention to the widespread success of game-changing investments like ARPA, the Inflation Reduction Act, and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Across the country, these initiatives are fixing bridges, increasing manufacturing jobs, and rebuilding an economy that the last president left in shambles.

And we’re not done. NewDEAL Leaders, a group of 200 forward-thinking, pragmatic state and local elected officials of which I am a part, continues to push forward on issues such as access to broadband, equitable education, and preserving our American commitment to free and fair elections.

The future we see is one of possibilities and an even better quality of life. Our opponents paint a future full of fear and chaos. As Democrats deliver on policy after policy to improve Americans’ daily lives, Republicans are actively working to strip away basic freedoms from residents. From banning books to banning reproductive care, Republicans are obsessed with the government controlling people, rather than providing the tools necessary for families to thrive.

ARPA is a testament to our nation’s resilience in times of crisis, and the possibilities we have before us when we work in good faith on behalf of the American people.

American Rescue Plan ‘Keeps Delivering Positive Results’: NewDEAL Highlights ARPA’s Continued Success on Law’s Third Anniversary

For Immediate Release:

DATE:  March 11, 2024

Contact: Jared DeWese (NewDEAL), 202-660-1340 x 5,

American Rescue Plan ‘Keeps Delivering Positive Results’: NewDEAL 

Highlights ARPA’s Continued Success on Law’s Third Anniversary

NewDEAL CEO Debbie Cox Bultan touts a new report showing how the American Rescue Plan continues to strengthen communities.

Washington, D.C. – In March of 2021, with the nation still reeling from the COVID pandemic’s catastrophic economic and health impacts, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan (ARPA) into law. On today’s third anniversary of its enactment, NewDEAL has released a report highlighting the continued positive impact of the law, featuring case studies from ten cities and towns across the nation and recapping three years of progress driven by ARPA’s state and local recovery funds..

“Three years ago, the nation needed bold, decisive action in the face of a once-in-a-century pandemic, and President Biden and Congressional Democrats delivered,” NewDEAL CEO Debbie Cox Bultan said on Monday. “The American Rescue Plan trusted state and local leaders to implement programs tailored to address the specific needs of their communities on issues ranging from housing to childcare to keeping small businesses open. And three years later, ARPA keeps delivering positive results.”

In the midst of the pandemic, ARPA helped more than eight million people stay in their homes, brought down the cost of health care, led to the lowest child poverty rates in American history, and helped more than 200,000 childcare centers remain open. In addition, America has created nearly 14 million new jobs and experienced historically low unemployment.

“National data shows that ARPA has worked, and there are stories from across the country about how it has allowed leaders like Providence Mayor Brett Smiley, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego, and Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas to deliver tangible results for their residents,” Bultan added. “Three years later, it is clear that ARPA is a model for how to respond to an economic crisis. This new report highlights how government works best when federal, state, and local officials work hand-in-hand with the same goal of building a better America for today and tomorrow.”

NewDEAL’s report on ARPA’s third anniversary highlights ten projects that started or were significantly expanded over the past year. These projects include:

  • Phoenix, AZ: Mayor Kate Gallego used American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to expand free Wi-Fi coverage in Phoenix, reaching 1.18 square miles around key public facilities. She also provided free broadband access in affordable housing developments, benefiting 5,000 low-income households.
  • Boston, MA: Leveraging American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, Mayor Michelle Wu is investing in sustainable career pathways in Boston. These include PowerCorps, which trains underemployed individuals for careers in the green industry, and the Boston Sciences Workforce Initiative, which will provide training and support for workers to enter the biotech and life sciences industry.
  • New Bedford, MA: Made possible through American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Funds, Mayor Jon Mitchell celebrated the groundbreaking for the new NorthStar Early Learning Academy, which will accommodate over 130 preschoolers and also serve as a community gathering place.
  • Kansas City, MO: Mayor Quinton Lucas allocated over $15 million from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to a city Housing Trust Fund, financing 26 projects to create hundreds of affordable units for vulnerable residents.
  • Lincoln, NE: Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird leveraged funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to make tangible progress on the “Water 2.0: Securing Lincoln’s Second Source” project, which aims to ensure the city’s long-term water sustainability.
  • Manchester, NH: Building on earlier investments in affordable housing construction, former Mayor Joyce Craig approved $3.8 million of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and HOME funds for Affordable and Supportive Housing Initiatives, aimed at creating 188 units of affordable housing, reopening a women’s shelter, and sustaining a housing voucher program.
  • Cleveland, OH: Mayor Justin Bibb used American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds as seed funding to enact a pioneering initiative, the Neighborhood Safety Fund, to promote community-driven programs to reduce violence in the city.
  • Scranton, PA: Following a flash flood in September 2023, Mayor Paige Gebhardt Cognetti leveraged American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to establish a disaster relief fund to provide up to $5,000 for eligible households and businesses for recovery efforts.
  • Providence, RI: Mayor Brett Smiley has strategically deployed $4.3 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding over the past year to address housing issues in the city, creating or extending 444 emergency shelter beds and earmarking an additional $1.7 million to aid over 600 households with emergency housing support.
  • Newport News, VA: Mayor Phillip Jones used American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to invest in a new early childhood center to alleviate the city’s lack of affordable childcare. The center will provide sliding-scale tuition to serve up to 200 children and will prepare the next generation of childcare professionals through an on-site training program.

“When families and the economy were hurting in the aftermath of the pandemic, Democrats delivered,” Bultan said. “And those investments are still delivering to this day.”

About NewDEAL

The NewDEAL supports a network of about 200 state and local officials—statewide officials, legislators, mayors, council members, and other local leaders across the country—who are pro-growth progressives. The organization brings together leaders focused on expanding opportunity, helping them develop and spread innovative ideas to spur broadly earned and sustainable economic growth.

NewDEAL Statement on State of the Union Address

For Immediate Release:                                                                

March 7, 2024                                                                         

Contact: Jonathon Dworkin (NewDEAL), 202-660-1340 x5,

NewDEAL Statement on
2024 State of the Union Address

Washington, D.C. (March 7, 2024) – NewDEAL CEO Debbie Cox Bultan released the following statement responding to President Biden’s State of the Union address delivered tonight:

“Tonight’s State of the Union address was a clear demonstration that Democrats continue to deliver on behalf of the American people.

“Over a historic first term, President Biden and his congressional allies have secured major wins for the American people – with once-in-a-generation investments including the American Rescue Plan Act, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Inflation Reduction Act, and the CHIPS and Science Act.

“These laws have accelerated economic growth, led to record unemployment, and created millions of jobs while strengthening the American economy and our communities from the ground up.

“Democratic elected officials at the state and local levels, including NewDEAL Leaders, are committed partners of this Administration, leveraging these critical federal dollars to solve problems and make a huge impact in their communities by delivering more affordable housing, better roads, access to high-speed broadband, expanded childcare and more.

“I was also heartened to see President Biden highlighting the ways he is fighting for a freedom agenda. These essential freedoms – the freedom to make deeply personal decisions about one’s health, the freedom that comes with economic opportunity, and the freedom to vote safely and securely – cannot be taken for granted.

“With President Biden’s call to uphold these American values, he is painting a compelling and coherent vision and agenda for the future. Now, in this election year, Democrats at every level of government must join with the President and stand up to defend our democracy and advocate for the freedoms we hold dear.”

About NewDEAL

NewDEAL supports a network of about 200 state and local officials — statewide officials, legislators, mayors, council members, and other local leaders across the country — who are pro-growth progressives. The organization brings together leaders focused on expanding opportunity, helping them develop and spread innovative ideas to spur economic growth that is broadly-earned and sustainable. NewDEAL facilitates the exchange of ideas among its members and connects them with other pro-growth progressive political, policy, and private sector leaders.


Debbie Cox Bultan on Girl and The Gov, The Podcast

Good Governance with Debbie Cox Bultan, CEO at The NewDEAL

From Girl and the Gov, the Podcast


What do legislators talk about behind closed doors? What happens when they get together? What ideas do they share? How do they collaborate? For leaders and legislators a part of The NewDEAL, they convene, they collaborate, and they bring ideas to the table that help their communities. They also, looking at this election year, are focused on protecting democracy. It’s central to conversations happening right now according to our guest, the amazing Debbie Cox Bultan, the CEO at The NewDEAL. In this episode she gives us the scoop on the behind the scenes, what was accomplished by leaders together in 2023, and what’s ahead this year – buckle up, buttercups!

The NewDEAL:

An Honorable Profession Podcast:

Debbie Cox Bultan:

Snapshot: Policy Roundtable Shines Spotlight on Climate & Democracy

Snapshot: Ten Key Moments from NewDEAL’s 2024 Legislative Preview

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.