Anna Langthorn: The 24-Year-Old Elected to Run the Democratic Party in Oklahoma

From The 24-Year-Old Elected to Run the Democratic Party in Oklahoma

By Mattie Kahn

In the beginning, Anna Langthorn was just another Democrat with a broken heart. True, like most progressives, she’s spent the last six months in emotional turmoil. But this—the very beginning of her political career—was before all that. Langthorn, who at 24 was recently elected to be the youngest ever Oklahoma State Democratic Chair, hadn’t lost an election or seen her candidate concede. She’d never even voted.

That was almost a decade ago, and she was only 17—still in school and recently dumped. “This isn’t a very feminist story,” she cautions, laughing. But, she explains, she’d been broken up with and was “incredibly distraught.” In desperate need of a distraction, Langthorn picked a new hobby almost at random. Sure, she figured, why not politics. “I already read the news and was politically aware—probably more than the average 17-year-old,” she says. “But I wasn’t very involved or proactive.” She immersed herself in local campaigns, places where passion, even obsession, were not only considered normal, but rewarded. Langthorn got involved with the local Democrats and volunteered, landing internships during her last two years of high school with candidates and the state party apparatus itself. She skipped most of the pomp and circumstance of her own high school graduation to attend the Oklahoma State Democratic Convention (“I couldn’t miss it!”) and worked on campaigns throughout college.

I believe, deeply, that we have to be leading on women’s issues and LGBT issues and the issues that are affecting communities of color while we drill down on that economic populist message. We need to fight for fairness, but we need people to know that we’re fighting, which isn’t happening in the state now.

But I don’t think we have to temper our message or water down progressivism to appeal to older voters. Voters want good health care and they want good housing and good education. They may say, in rural Oklahoma, that they’re less concerned with black lives, but there are black rural voters that need to be reached and engaged too. They may say they don’t care about abortion, but plenty of women are getting abortions and even more are getting access to birth control under our current laws.

Elle

Republican Congressional Candidate Touts Progressive Minimum Wage Fix

GOP nominee in FL-13 David Jolly CREDIT: AP

An unlikely advocate for one of the most progressive minimum wage proposals emerged last week: Republican congressional candidate David Jolly.

Democratic nominee Alex Sink supports raising the minimum wage to $10.10, as is currently being considered in Congress, while Jolly opposes it. However, in explaining his position to the Tribune, Jolly actually advocated another progressive proposal: indexing the minimum wage so it automatically increases every year.

“Minimum wage should be indexed to inflation or subject to a cost-of-living adjustment like any other federal income program,” Jolly said. “That means some years it may go up, other years it may stay static. Barack Obama is not an economist, neither is the Congress.”

The purchasing power of the minimum wage has significantly lagged the rate of inflation over the past four decades. In 1968, the federal minimum wage was $1.60 per hour. Had it kept up with inflation since then, it would currently be set at $10.50, 45 percent higher than its current rate of $7.25.

In addition, if Jolly preferred tying the minimum wage to increases in worker productivity, it would currently be $18.30 per hour, according to a study from the Economic Policy Institute.

Indexing the minimum wage is a strongly progressive proposal because it would give low-income workers a raise every year without having to rely on Congress, which has only voted for an increase once in the last decade.

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