Who We are – Silver Spring Progressive Action (SSPA)

Who We Are

We are neighbors, centered in the Silver Spring, MD area and nearby, who came together in June 2019 over our shared outrage about the abuses of the Trump Administration and those in Congress who enabled it. Our area is reliably blue, and so we aim to help like-minded folks around the country flip and keep districts and states blue. We welcome all who would like to pursue these goals with us.

In 2019, we came close to flipping NC-09, and we helped flip both chambers of the Virginia legislature and the Kentucky governorship. In 2020, we and many others succeeded in ousting Trump and taking the Senate. And in 2022, we expanded the Senate majority, and flipped 3 key state legislatures, but lost the House.  With Trumpism still alive, our goals of maintaining and strengthening Senate and House majorities, as well as state legislatures, are still urgent.

Our Goals

Our overall goals are to:

  • Achieve and keep Democratic control of the House, Senate, and Presidency
  • Flip and keep selected state legislatures blue, especially those meaningful in national elections
  • Build a robust, diverse, and progressive Democratic bench by supporting promising candidates
  • Achieve and maintain fair elections, full voting rights and access, and fairly-drawn districts
  • Reinforce emerging Democrats in Western Maryland and the Eastern Shore
  • Get to know our neighbors and other like-minded people in the Silver Spring area and beyond

Our goals for 2023 are to:

  • Put plans and actions in place to strengthen the US Senate majority and regain the House majority, including voter registration in key areas
  • Get a progressive majority on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, to reverse gerrymandering and voter suppression
  • Expand/regain majorities in the Virginia statehouse
  • Build the Democratic bench and protect our democracy by:
    • Building strength in State legislatures to protect/maintain majorities and D super-majorities, and break R super-majorities
    • Electing progressive governors, mayors, and other future progressive champs
    • Electing Democratic attorneys general, secretaries of state, and other key offices to protect election integrity
    • Promoting fair elections, voting rights and access, and fair redistricting

More About These Goals…

We want to change the country’s political power framework away from hatred and fear, and towards justice, equity, and compassion. At this time in our country’s history, we must strengthen Democratic representation and disempower the remaining Trumpism that enabled the Trump presidency and weakens our democracy. We work in partnership with local, and sometimes other, groups focused on the same goals. We are focused solely on elections. Many of us are also involved, elsewhere, in the important work of policy advocacy, direct action, and ensuring the safety of the most vulnerable. We’ll publicize those issues, but our actions are focused on changing who’s in power. If we opt to engage on issues, it is in support of (and generally at the request of) trusted partners, and intended to lead to eventual electoral outcomes, as well as the issue itself. We target our work so that our time is spent on things with the greatest chance of moving the needle.
  • We engage in general elections only, not primaries, because the local people know their local politics best – who’s best on the issues and who has the best chance of winning.
    • In Maryland, we consider engagement in primaries for key national and statewide elections, as well as against particularly dreadful primary candidates
  • We target candidates in elections that are toss-ups and near toss-ups – candidates who need a boost (not a miracle) to get over the top.
  • Where possible, we focus on states with multiple races, where there will be synergy in strengthening the Democratic ticket.
  • We don’t focus on sure bets or hopeless causes, no matter how much we personally love or are inspired by a particular candidate.
  • For fundraising targets, we take an even closer look, focusing on those contests where additional money can make a significant difference. We don’t raise funds for candidates who are the most or least likely to win, or who already have, or are likely to get, sufficient funding from others.

What We Do

We know it’s easy to get overwhelmed – to feel like there’s a never-ending to-do list, or to wonder what one person can do. We are 100% guilt-free! We want to welcome people and to mutually support and inspire, but not to overburden. We’re all busy, and we all may gravitate to things we like to do and avoid those we don’t – but we can all do something! And we’ll get to know each other better in the process.

We come together to take meaningful action, not solely to educate and discuss. We’re an energetic bunch! We engage in a range of actions, depending on what candidates need and where our energies and abilities lie, including:

  • Voter registration – on-location and remote
  • Postcard and letter campaigns to encourage voting
  • Textbanking for candidates and for GOTV
  • Phonebanking for candidates and for GOTV
  • Canvassing
  • Fundraising
  • Social media in support of all of the above
  • All of the above for voting rights and against voter suppression
Our onsite activities are often within a day’s drive of Silver Spring, MD – which means PA, VA, and, when needed, MD itself. But we also take longer overnight trips, such as to North Carolina and further. We also work remotely on more distant campaigns.

We’re an all-volunteer group, with many opportunities to learn and contribute!  The members of the leadership team are:

  • Dori Paster, Leader – Email: dcp AT ssprogressiveaction.org
  • Abbi Lichtenstein, Social Media Leader – socialmedia AT ssprogressiveaction.org
  • Beth Bierman, Campaign Coordination Leader
  • Janet Firshein, Canvassing Leader – Email: canvassing AT ssprogressiveaction.org
  • Lauren Kotkin and Betsy Devlin-Foltz, Texting Leaders – Email: texting AT ssprogressiveaction.org
  • Lee Goldberg, Targeting Leader
  • Lisa Hack, Phonebank Leader – Email: phonebanking AT ssprogressiveaction.org
  • Mark Paster, Technology Leader – Email: tech AT ssprogressiveaction.org
  • Michael Bodaken, Fundraising Leader – Email: fundraising AT ssprogressiveaction.org
  • Paula Lewis, Treasurer

Please join us!
Click here for a video orientation to SSPA – why and how we operate.
Check out our calendar and sign up for something!
Click here to join our mailing list!