Formed late last year after the November election looking to unite Knox County Democrats with other county political progressives, Progressive Action Committee was formed.
Allie Cohn, Knox PAC chair, and Michael Davis, vice chair, were featured speakers during 5th District Democrats’ monthly Thursday evening meeting July 20 in Rosarita’s Mexican Cantina off Lovell Road.
A self-described “slacktivist turned activist,” Cohn said following last November’s election there was “a need to bring people together. There was sort of this fracture within the Democrats and there were a lot of people who were identified as progressives who maybe didn’t feel as comfortable being identified as Democrats for whatever reason. … It took us a little while to get off the ground.”
Cohn, a Fifth District resident, said one key challenge of Knox PAC is, “How do we get all of these progressives to come to us? Because that’s kind of one of the complaints that we hear on a national level … and on a local level, too. … We are about actions that are in Knox [County]. And so we have worked on being that bridge to groups who maybe, sometimes, are non-partisans or who have members who consider themselves progressives who don’t feel they belong in the party.”
Davis, an attorney who also serves a 2nd District Democrats co-chair, gave the example of how local progressives and Democrats need to unite in protest: Knox County Sheriff’s Office recently obtained the legal authority to become “deputized with the Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency to do federal law enforcement at the local level using local agents.
“All of those [KCSO] officers would be doing federal work. And also doing a lot of things people would see as being extremely problematic,” he added.
Davis said this empowerment “generally drives a wedge between [law enforcement] and a good type of relationship with communities.” It becomes “a giant wedge because certain communities will not trust those agents. … It also leads to much more racial profiling. …”
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At the July meeting, Lisa Plawchan, 5DD co-chair, asked 5DD members to suggest goals and ways to improve the district’s messaging, in which members were encouraged to submit ideas online and discuss them at the upcoming 5DD meeting beginning at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 17, at Rosarita’s.