Bernie Sanders Helps These Pro-Criminal Justice Reform Candidates Become District Attorneys

Received this e-mail today from former Presidential candidate, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I. VT), in support of these progressive candidates running to become District Attorneys and Prosecutors:

As you read this, tens of thousands of people are marching coast to coast for racial justice and to express their disgust at the torture and murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. And what people realize, more than ever before, is that we need real criminal justice and police department reform in this country. And that means that we need district attorneys and prosecutors who understand that their job is not throwing people in jail but that their job is fighting for justice.

So while we are all paying attention to the presidential campaign and congressional campaigns, in this moment — especially in this moment — we must fight against a criminal justice system that criminalizes poverty, perpetuates institutionalized racism, and continues a failed war on drugs that has devastated communities of color.

Now, no one person can change that system alone. But the public officials who are on the front lines of that struggle, and who on a day-to-day basis have a huge impact on criminal justice and police department reform, are district attorneys, state’s attorneys and prosecutors. And what happens in these offices across the country is critically important and will impact millions of lives.

So today, I am endorsing 10 great, progressive candidates for district attorney, state’s attorney and prosecutor, and they can use your help:

Can you split a $11 donation between 10 great progressive candidates running for district attorney, state’s attorney, prosecutor, and to our work to win progressive change? Your donation will go a VERY long way in these races, so please add it today.

We’ve had some success electing progressives in Philadelphia, San Francisco and other places. But we have a lot more to do.

Here are the 10 candidates I am asking you to help:

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Victoria Burton-Harris is challenging an incumbent prosecutor who has received repeated criticism for a failure to fully investigate crimes in the county, overseeing a backlog of over 10,000 unprocessed rape kits and more cases of wrongful convictions in Wayne County than the rest of Michigan combined.

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Jacquie Esser is the first Deputy Public Defender to run for Honolulu Prosecutor. For the last decade, Jacquie has represented over 1,000 clients and worked to reform the criminal justice system as a Deputy Public Defender, demanding fair treatment and justice for Honolulu citizens of all backgrounds. As Honolulu Prosecutor, Jacquie would create a Prosecutor's Office that encourages rehabilitation, stabilization, and reintegration in the community whenever possible.

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Kim Gardner is the current St. Louis City Attorney where she reduced the average daily jail population by 39 percent without increasing the crime rate in St. Louis. Kim has increased police accountability by prosecuting officers who break the law and refusing to rely on the testimony of officers accused of misconduct. She was among the first prosecutors nationwide to publish the department’s “exclusion list” of untrustworthy police officers whose cases would not be brought without strong evidence untainted by their involvement.

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José Garza is a former state and federal public defender, immigrant rights activist, attorney, and is currently the Co-Executive Director of Workers Defense Project in Austin, Texas. He is a long time community leader within the criminal justice, immigrant justice and civil justice community in Central Texas.

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George Gascón is running in a race the LA Times called the most important contest in the country outside of the presidency. Los Angeles is home to the largest criminal justice jurisdiction and jail in the nation. George is facing a two-term “tough on crime” incumbent who has been criticized by Black Lives Matter and the ACLU for failing to hold officers accountable for excessive use of force.

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Amy Padden is a true progressive, running on a Criminal Justice reform platform, including combating mass incarceration, prosecuting hate crimes and police misconduct, and protecting immigrant communities. She has received the backing of Democrats and progressives across Colorado, as well as national criminal justice reformers.

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Alonzo Payne is a criminal justice reformer, advocating for measures to reduce incarceration and stop the criminalization of poverty in Southern Colorado. He has advocated for economic justice measures, including raising the minimum wage and Medicare for All, and is committed to representing the proud people of San Luis Valley.

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Eli Savit led the city’s efforts to hold the pharmaceutical industry accountable for the opioid epidemic during his time with the City of Detroit. He sued banks, slumlords, and corporations whose housing policies were hurting Detroit residents. And he led the City’s landmark legal efforts to establish that all children have a constitutional right to learn how to read and write. He also spearheads the City’s efforts to make it easier for people to expunge criminal records.

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Matthew Toporowski is a former prosecutor who has repeatedly challenged the over-punishment approach of his opponent, which has driven Albany County’s incarceration rate to 50% higher than the New York state average. Matt is committed to addressing structural racism by having a DAs office that reflects Albany’s diverse community, acknowledging racial bias at decision-making points in the process, and declining to criminalize poverty.

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Monique Worrell is running for Orange-Osceola State Attorney in Florida and is particularly focused on criminal justice reform. She has taught and advocated a wide range of progressive criminal justice ideas throughout her career. She most recently served as the Chief Legal Officer of the Reform Alliance.

These candidates — if victorious — would have considerable power.

They can have a meaningful impact on issues like ending cash bail and mass incarceration. They can shift the focus from a failed war on drugs to issues like white collar crime in the financial sector, by pharmaceutical companies, and others.

Now $11 may not seem like the kind of money that can win these races, but when thousands of people each chip in their $11 today, these candidates will all have what it takes to win. So I am asking:

Can you split a $11 donation between 10 great progressive candidates running for district attorney, state’s attorney, prosecutor, and to our work to win progressive change? Your donation will send a powerful message while helping create change all across the country.

Thank you for making your voice heard.

In solidarity,

Bernie Sanders

Click here to donate to these 10 candidates.