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Podcast: It Starts in the States with PoliticsGirl

Need a shot of hope? This podcast episode is for you. Our Head of Giving Circles, Melissa Walker, sat down with Leigh McGowan, host of PoliticsGirl, to discuss how state legislatures drive every issue you care about — from abortion access, to democracy, and even preventing gun violence. Read a snippet of their conversation below and listen in to learn how you (yes, you!) can join a network of everyday people who are having a real impact in the states.


Leigh McGowan, Host of PoliticsGirl: People want to know that they are making a difference — that the effort and money they put in is actually going to go somewhere. You’re the Head of Giving Circles at The States Project. Talk to me a little bit about what a Giving Circle is.

Melissa Walker, The States Project: The States Project Giving Circles bring everyday people together to focus on state legislatures. They gather their friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues, choose a target state to support, and work together to raise a meaningful total that can help shift or defend the balance of power in their selected state.

And it is incredible to watch how quickly policies change when state legislative majorities change. 

 In 2018, we went into North Carolina to help break a supermajority, which was incredibly consequential for a Democratic Governor who got his veto power back. In Arizona, we helped flip four seats in the State House, leading to the closest balance of power since 1966. Now we are one seat away from a tie and two seats away from a flip in Arizona, a state we think about as one that passes some of the most restrictive policies in the country. And in Maine, we worked with two Giving Circles in 2018, and were able to change the balance of power in the State Senate. Over the next year we watched lawmakers in Augusta raise teacher pay, expand abortion access, pass automatic voter registration, pass environmental protection, and ban conversion therapy. 

Leading a Giving Circle is the most impactful thing I’ve ever done and the most powerful I have ever felt. 

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