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Fair Fight Launches 2023 District Attorney Program, Continuing Support of Pro-Democracy, Pro-Criminal Justice Reform District Attorneys
Now in its third year, Fair Fight is continuing their efforts to support reform-minded district attorneys amid escalating right-wing efforts to remove them from office.
ATLANTA — Fair Fight today launched its 2023 District Attorney (DA) Program to support reform-minded district attorneys in their efforts to create equity and justice within Georgia’s criminal legal system. This is the third year of the District Attorney Program, which first launched in 2021 in response to the coordinated and ongoing national effort by far-right extremists to remove reform-minded district attorneys from office.
As right-wing attacks on district attorneys continue to take place in Georgia and across the country, Fair Fight’s District Attorney Program is designed to provide pro-criminal justice reform district attorneys with the tools, support, and resources to aid them in their efforts to create equity and justice in Georgia’s criminal legal system. In addition to supporting DA’s across the state of Georgia, Fair Fight also plans to expand the program later this year to support district attorneys in surrounding Southern states.
“In states across the country, anti-voter Republican politicians are using every tool in their arsenal to try to overturn elections,” said Fair Fight Political Director Nicole Robinson. “Their latest efforts to remove duly-elected progressive district attorneys is yet another tactic as part of their broader strategy to subvert the will of voters and silence their voices. Another piece of the puzzle in the trend of anti-voter politicians to undo the will of voters when the politicians do not like the results of elections.”
District attorneys have significant decision-making power in the criminal legal system, which disproportionately impacts Black and brown people—the same communities who are targeted by right-wing efforts to suppress votes and push access to the ballot out of reach. Anti-voter politicians are engaging in unprecedented executive and legislative actions aimed at impeachment, suspension, and removal from office of reform-minded prosecutors – especially those who represent communities of color and were elected primarily by voters of color.
- In Georgia, anti-voter lawmakers passed Senate Bill 92, legislation to set up a highly partisan committee with the power to strip away the autonomy of elected District Attorneys to make prosecutorial decisions on a case by case basis.
- In Florida, Governor Ron Desantis suspended Andrew Warren, the duly-elected district attorney in Tampa, after Warren spoke out against laws criminalizing women and doctors who seek abortion care.
- In Texas, anti-voter lawmakers filed multiple bills to remove elected district attorneys from office and subject them to civil penalties for their pledges to not prosecute certain marijuana or abortion related cases.
- In Mississippi, a supermajority of white state legislators passed and the Governor signed legislation to remove the ability for parts of the majority-Black city of Jackson to elect its own judges and prosecutors. Under this measure, these positions will be appointed by a group of all white officials.
“After the historic elections of reform-minded district attorneys in Georgia and across the country over the last few years, anti-voter politicians are doubling down on their efforts to undo the will of voters and to impose their own will on voters,” said Robinson. “Voters elected these district attorneys because they know that our criminal legal system is irrevocably broken and want to be represented by leaders who will work to create equity and justice within the system. Fair Fight’s District Attorney Program and the support it provides to pro-criminal justice reform district attorneys is pivotal to the ongoing fight to protect democracy and ensure that all eligible Americans can register to vote, cast their ballot, and have it counted.”
Fair Fight Applauds Fulton County Board of Commissioners for Historic Appointment of Patrise Perkins-Hooker as Chair of Fulton Board of Elections
Distinguished attorney and community leader Patrise Perkins-Hooker is the first Black woman to serve as Chair of the Fulton County BOE in state history
ATLANTA — Fair Fight today released a statement commending the Fulton County Board of Commissioners (BOC) and Chair Robb Pitts for appointing former Fulton County Attorney Patrise Perkins-Hooker as Chair of the Fulton County Board of Registration and Elections (BOE). Perkins-Hooker is believed to be the first Black woman to serve as Chair of the Fulton BOE in state history. With her appointment, the four largest counties in Georgia—Fulton, DeKalb, Cobb, and Gwinnett—will have Black women serving as BOE Chair. During the 2020 election, none of the four county BOEs were chaired by a Black woman.
Perkins-Hooker’s nomination and appointment followed a move by Republican Lee Morris to withdraw his name following vocal opposition from a coalition of Georgia civil and voting rights groups, who issued a joint letter expressing deep concerns with Morris’ rushed nomination and the lack of community input. Morris’ appointment would have also flipped control of the Fulton BOE from Democrats to Republicans, despite the fact that Fulton voters overwhelmingly vote Democrat. While Fulton County is just one of 159 counties in Georgia, the county accounts for approximately 10 percent of the state of Georgia’s population.
Perkins-Hooker is a distinguished Georgia attorney and community leader who graduated from Georgia Tech with honors and received her graduate degrees from Emory University Law and Business Schools. She previously served as Chair of the Atlanta Board of Zoning Adjustments and Chair of the Emory Business School Alumni Board, and has earned numerous honors for her service to Georgia’s legal profession and community, including being inducted to the Gate City Bar Association Hall of Fame and being presented the Leah Ward Sears Service to the Profession Award by the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys.
In response to Perkins-Hooker’s appointment, Fair Fight Executive Director Cianti Stewart-Reid released the following statement:
“Fair Fight applauds the Fulton County Board of Commissioners and Chair Robb Pitts for appointing Patrise Perkins-Hooker—an eminently-qualified Black woman, attorney, and community leader—as Chair of the Fulton County BOE. In a county where over 60% of residents are people of color, Fulton voters deserve to have a Chair that truly represents their values and the interests of their community. Fair Fight is proud to have worked alongside our allies to protect the Fulton BOE from falling into Republican control.
Fulton voters have long fought to secure fair and equitable representation in the halls of government, and today we celebrate the significance of Perkin-Hooker’s historic appointment. Perkins-Hooker will lead the Fulton BOE during a critical time for both the county and state, as all eyes will once again be on Georgia in 2024. In the coming months, we look forward to working with Chair Perkins-Hooker to ensure that all eligible Fulton voters are able to register to vote, cast their ballots, have their ballots counted, and make their voices heard.”
Coalition of Georgia Civil and Voting Rights Advocates Issue Joint Letter Opposing Nomination of Lee Morris for Fulton County BOE Chair
ATLANTA — A coalition of Georgia civil and voting rights advocates today issued the following joint letter to the Fulton County Board of Commissioners:
Dear Fulton County Board of Commissioners,
As civil and voting rights advocates committed to protecting voter access in Georgia, we write to express our deep concerns with the nomination of Lee Morris for Fulton Registration and Elections Board (“BOE”) Chair. The selection of a new BOE Chair in Fulton County, GA, is of critical importance and should not be rushed. We are troubled with the alacrity and manner in which his nomination and possible appointment have been advanced. Advocates and the public must be afforded the opportunity to have their voices heard on a decision that deeply affects Fulton County voters, and bears lasting ramifications for the 2024 election and voting access in Georgia for years to come. By rushing to make this selection, the Board of Commissioners is doing a disservice to those they purport to represent—and leaving out essential community input.
Lee Morris’ past behavior shows him not to be the representative or advocate that Fulton voters need or deserve. In April 2021, Morris—then a Fulton County Commissioner—voted against a pro-voter resolution that would have helped allow legal challenges to the extreme voter suppression law SB 202, despite the harmful impacts SB 202 would have on Fulton voters. Fulton voters deserve to be seen, deserve to be championed, and deserve to cast their votes without undue burden and fears of suppression. The chair of the Fulton Board of Elections should be a champion for voter access.
Further, any changes to the current makeup of the Fulton Board of Elections must undergo careful consideration and discussion – not a hasty nomination process with little room for public input or feedback. We know too well the critical importance of ensuring that our governing bodies and elected officials truly reflect the communities they represent. Fulton voters have long fought to secure fair and equitable representation.
It is imperative that the Fulton Commission appoints a new BOE Chair that understands the critical importance of ensuring that all eligible Fulton County voters can execute their freedom to vote by being able to register to vote, cast their votes, and have their votes counted. The new Chair must have the historical and institutional knowledge necessary for adhering to best practices for election administration in Georgia—which will be critical for ensuring smooth municipal elections in 2023 and minimizing disruptions in 2024.
Fulton County voters deserve representation that champions them and reflects them. We ask that you vote no on Lee Morris for BOE Chair. All eyes will be on Georgia– and on Fulton County— in 2024.
New Georgia Project Action Fund
Care in Action
All Voting is Local Action
Black Alliance for Just Immigration
GALEO Impact Fund
Faith in Public Life Action Fund
Black Voters Matter Fund
Black Male Initiative Fund
Fair Fight Action Releases Statement Disavowing Kemp Signing Senate Bill 92 Into Law
ATLANTA — Fair Fight Action today released a statement denouncing anti-voter Governor Brian Kemp’s signing of Senate Bill 92, a bill that attacks progressive prosecutors and robs voters of a voice in the criminal legal system.
The bill comes on the heels of record voter turnout in recent historic Georgia elections, which ushered in a diverse wave of progressive and pro-criminal justice reform prosecutors, and in turn spurred this hyper-partisan, national right-wing coordinated effort to undo the will of voters. The anti-voting and anti-criminal justice reform politicians behind Senate Bill 92 have fully embraced anti-democracy principles.
Fair Fight Action Deputy Executive Director Esosa Osa released the following statement:
“Georgia voters’ ability to provide critical input into the criminal legal system is now under threat following the signing of SB 92 into law—the latest effort in Governor Kemp’s harmful, anti-democratic agenda.
The signing of SB 92 adds to Kemp’s years-long track record of attempting to silence the voices of Georgians—particularly Black and brown Georgians who are already disproportionately criminalized by the state’s criminal legal system. Georgians deserve a voice in deciding how the criminal legal system works in their communities, and Senate Bill 92 seeks to take away the voice of Georgia voters.
Make no mistake: this is part of a larger trend we are seeing nationally, where some far-right politicians are using every tool available to overturn elections. From Florida, Texas, Mississippi, Iowa, Pennsylvania, to Georgia—this is a coordinated effort that will impact voters across the country.”
Fair Fight Action Condemns Vote Suppressor-in-Chief Brian Kemp for Predictable Signing of Latest Anti-Voter Bill
SB 222 criminalizes county workers and continues the Georgia right-wing legislature’s shameful legacy of enacting anti-voter bills over the objections of experts and elections officials
ATLANTA — Today, Brian Kemp continued his long-time legacy of voter suppression by signing SB 222, the Georgia Governor’s latest effort to undermine election administration by criminalizing county employees and taking away their ability to innovate to fund the growing cost of elections.
This signing comes as the Georgia legislature passed SB 222 over the objections of election experts, county officials, and election workers. SB 222 threatens county workers with felony charges, at least a $10,000 fine and no less than one year in jail in an environment where county election budgets are strained due to rising costs, new unfunded mandates from the State, and relentless legislative attacks from state officials.
The bill signing follows the enactment of anti-voter bill SB 202, which added new and costly burdens for election officials and voters and triggered a national trend of anti-voter legislation in states nationwide. Kemp’s signature on SB 222 adds to his long, unapologetic record of creating new expenses and burdens for counties while hampering voter access and election administration.
Fair Fight Action Executive Director Cianti Stewart-Reid released the following statement:
“It’s no surprise that Brian Kemp signed yet another anti-voter bill in the state of Georgia, further solidifying his position as the vote-suppressor-in-chief of modern elections. Instead of heeding the calls of elections workers, county officials, and experts, Kemp enacted a bill that criminalizes the public servants who run our elections and denies them desperately needed funds that keep our voting system functioning.
No one deserves jail time for doing their job. Fair Fight Action will continue to fiercely advocate for more support for election workers, county officials, and voters across the state of Georgia, and we will be there to help them navigate this harmful new law. It’s far past time the Georgia state legislature started protecting our elections rather than doing everything in their power to upend them.”
Fair Fight Announces 2023 National Fellowship Program, Expands to Nine Additional States
After launching the inaugural National Fellowship Program in 2021 and graduating over 45 State Legislators across the country, Fair Fight kicks off 2023 program with nine additional states, including Virginia, Nevada, and Arkansas
ATLANTA— Now in its third year, Fair Fight has launched its premier Fair Fight National Fellowship Program for 2023. The highly-selective program for state legislatures has been expanded to include nine additional states.
Fair Fight’s National Fellowship Program was first launched in 2021 to foster and cultivate the next generation of pro-democracy elected officials. The inaugural program included legislators from Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Tennessee. The program added five additional states: Florida, Kansas, Michigan, North Carolina, and Wisconsin in 2022. This year, the fellowship program has once again expanded to include leaders from nine additional states: Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, and Ohio.
Fair Fight has focused on developing a cohort of elected officials representing a variety of diverse communities across the country. The program has graduated over 45 majority minority elected officials across 10 states since it began in 2021. This year, the program will train a diverse set of 43 state legislators and local elected officials representing 19 states, with most participants having less than five years of experience in elected office and representing states in the South.
This fellowship program is devoted to expanding knowledge of the issues and values important to Fair Fight—particularly the freedom to vote and grassroots advocacy. Through this program, Fair Fight National Fellows have a unique opportunity to hone their expertise on various topics ranging from fundraising, grassroots organizing, combatting disinformation, voter protection, and more—all in an effort to expand the quality of pro-voter leadership within the progressive ecosystem. The program will last for ten months.
“In 2021, Fair Fight was proud to launch our National Fellowship Program with a focus on supporting elected leaders in the South. Today, the National Fellowship program has grown to nineteen states where pro-democracy leaders have made and are making great strides in the fight for free and fair elections.” said Fair Fight Political Director Nicole Robinson. “This year, we look forward to working with our largest and most diverse cohort of elected officials to spread awareness about the work of Fair Fight and to protect the freedom to vote.Through the Fair Fight National Fellowship Program, we will continue to support and develop the next generation of pro-democracy and pro-voter leaders across the country.”
Marche Johnson – Montgomery City Council, District 3 Christopher John England – State House, District 70
Laura Terech – State House, District 4
Ashley Hudson – State House, District 75
Lori Berman – State Senate, District 26
Anna V. Eskamani – State House, District 42
Mari-Lynn Poskin – State House, District 20
Brandon Woodard – State House, District 108
Carole Cadue-Blackwood – Lawrence School Board, District USD 497
Amber Sellers – Lawrence City Commission, At-Large
Valdenia Winn – State House, District 34
Josie Raymond – State House, District 41
Keturah Herron – State House, District 42
Lesli Harris – New Orleans City Council, District B
Mandie Landry – State House, District 91
Jonathan Kinloch – Wayne County Commission District 2
Monique Baker McCormick – Wayne County Commission, District 6
Mary Kunesh – State Senate, District 39
Rod Hickman – State Senate, District 32
Angelique Lee – Jackson City Council, Ward 2
Angela Turner Ford – State Senate, District 16
Daryl L. Porter Jr. – State House, District 98
Hillman Terome Frazier – State Senate, District 27
Nevada Cecelia González – State Assembly, District 16 Duy Nguyen – State Assembly, District 8 Brittney Miller – State Assembly, District 5 Dallas Harris – State Senate, District 11
New Hampshire Becky Whitley – State Senate, District 15 Angela Brennan – State House, District 9
New York Steven Raga – State Assembly, District 30
North Carolina Dr. Amber Baker – State House, District 72
Meredith M. Turner – Cuyahoga County Council, District 9
Stephanie Howse – Cleveland City Council, Ward 7
Jessica E. Miranda – State House, District 28
Shenise Turner-Sloss – Dayton City Commission, At-Large
Heather Bauer – State House, District 75
Demetrus Coonrod – Chattanooga City Council, District 9
Martavius D Jones – Memphis City Council, Super District 8-3
Charlane Oliver – State Senate, District 19
Jackie Hope Glass – State Delegate, District 89
Samba Baldeh – State Assembly, District 48
Melissa Ratcliff – State Assembly, District 46
Darrin B. Madison Jr. – State Assembly, District 10