Progressives are winning the argument for what politics and government should and could look like, says Misty Rebik, but their challenge is to “prove to working people that when Democrats are in power we work for them, not the powerful interests.”
As chief of staff to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Rebik is in the forefront of making happen the “big, bold ideas” progressives have been pushing for decades.
Misty Rebik walks with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders outside of a 2019 Iowa caucus campaign event in Des Moines. Rebik, who led his Iowa campaign, now is the senator’s chief of staff. She will be participating in a virtual program for Iowa progressives Saturday.
The ideas show up in the federal coronavirus pandemic relief measures and are ones progressives hope to include in a $3.5 trillion budget package.
The ideas, she said, are ones that groups like Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement “have been doing for decades,.“
Rebik will be among those participating in that grassroot advocacy group’s “Another World is Possible — It’s Up to Us” virtual conference Saturday.
“I cut my teeth in organizing at Iowa CCI back in my early 20s,” right after graduating from the University of Iowa, says Rebik, now 35, who grew up in Iowa.
Before working for Sanders’ 2020 campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, she worked with the populist advocacy group, managed union president Cathy Glasson’s gubernatorial campaign and worked on social justice and labor issues.
The ideals of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement and other progressive organizations are winning because the movement offers “a vision of restoring our government’s promise to be of and for the people, a government that actually delivers for working people,” Rebik says. “And we sort of counteract Trumpism with the notion of everybody in and nobody out.”
Change may not be happening as fast as some progressives would like, but Rebik believes the glass is definitely half-full.
President Joe Biden, she says, has listened to progressives “and is making moves in the direction to what folks have been demanding for a long time.”
“People across all walks of life are hurting, and he recognizes that and sees that the progressive movement offers a lot of solutions,” she says.
Sanders’ bid for the 2020 nomination may have fallen short, Rebik says, but in some ways, the democratic socialist and progressives won the election.
Sanders, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, has gained support for a $3.5 trillion spending plan that includes Medicare expansion. Ten years ago, Rebik says, Democrats were fighting to prevent $4 trillion in cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and other social programs.
“So I do feel like we’re gaining steam,” Rebik says. “We have to see this through. We can’t stop now. We’ve got to keep moving forward and deliver.”
Also, as part of the conference, Rebik will interview Heather McGhee, author of “The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together,” who also is on the program.
For more information about the conference and speakers, visit https://cciaction.org/uptous/.