California's 49th Congressional District is one of the most contested swing seats in the nation, with the Democratic challenger losing by less than 1630 votes in 2016, and the Democratic presidential candidate winning the district for the first time in recent history.
After November’s disastrous election results, groups locally and throughout the country were mounting a defense against the Trump agenda. In the 49th Congressional District, three actions at three different times were planned outside the office of Darrell Issa on the same day. These confluences of chaotic and spontaneous mobilizations inspired the establishment of the 49th District Action Council to improve collaboration among different groups across the district.
With the support of the Action Council, a broad coalition of activists has been relentless in efforts to hold Darrell Issa accountable and build progressive community power: turning out over 2000 people to an “empty chair” Healthcare Town Hall meeting, organizing weekly ‘Tuesdays with Issa’ protests regularly attended by 300-800 constituents, driving Issa up on the roof!, and coordinating call-in, letter-writing and advocacy efforts across the district.
The Community Organizing Program was then created to direct this outpouring of grassroots energy towards voter registration and voter engagement. Building on groundwork laid by Vista Neighbors in Action and the Democratic Party GO-Team, the district-wide Neighborhood and Community Leaders Project is knocking on doors, hosting house parties, and building long-term relationships with our neighbors. At the same time, weekly Strike Teams of occasional volunteers and organizers are canvassing, phonebanking, and tabling in key strategic areas. Dozens of local partners are working together in a coordinated effort across all these voter outreach activities through the Flip the 49th! Neighbors in Action umbrella, so we can amplify rather than duplicate efforts.
Flip the 49th! Neighbors in Action is the backbone of this multi-pronged integrated effort: coordinating field staff, community leaders, and institutional participation from Labor (led by SEIU 221) and Indivisible and other grassroots progressive groups -- so we can amplify our shared efforts instead of competing.