Building Progressive Power: Lala Wu

“State legislatures are really where the rubber hits the road”

Lala Wu is a Co-Founder and Executive Director of Sister District, an organization that works to elect Democrats to state legislatures. We discuss building progressive power at the state level, various opportunities in upcoming elections, and supporting candidates to win and serve effectively.

Lala Wu is a Co-Founder and Executive Director of Sister District, an organization that works to elect Democrats to state legislatures. We discuss building progressive power at the state level, various opportunities in upcoming elections, and supporting candidates to win and serve effectively.

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The Power of State Legislatures

State legislatures pass the laws that affect our daily lives. When Democrats won the ‘trifecta’ in Virginia in 2019, they controlled both chambers of the House and the governor’s office. Immediately, they passed voting rights legislation, abolished the death penalty, improved the criminal justice system, abolished no-knock warrants, and more.

Purple District Network

Sister District identified a gap in resources for legislators from purple districts. The Purple District Network focuses on providing support by sharing best practices, governance techniques, and strategies for being effective. They also give lawmakers access to alumni of their program, allowing for mentorship, networking, and strategizing across state lines.

Redistricting

Flipping and holding districts is key to progressive strategies in 2021-22, especially because of the redistricting process after the 2020 census. Democrats were unable to take any state legislatures back from Republican control last year. However, several states do have bipartisan redistricting commissions, which will make redistricting fairer for Democrats; and there are several competitive upcoming state races.

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Lala Wu is a Co-Founder and the Executive Director of Sister District. Since its founding in 2016, Sister District has raised millions in small dollar donations directly for candidates and reached out to voters through doors, calls, texts, and postcards on behalf of over 100 state legislative candidates in key swing districts.

Lala has successfully led the expansion of the organization’s volunteer infrastructure to over 50,000 and has also led the development of strategic partnerships with local and national organizations such as the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, EMILY’s List, Human Rights Campaign, Vote Save America, and more.

Prior to Sister District, Lala clerked for federal judges in the Northern District of California and the District of Massachusetts. She was also an attorney at Morrison & Foerster LLP in San Francisco and Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell LLP in Denver where she counseled renewable energy and real estate clients on land use, regulatory, transactional, and litigation matters. Lala graduated from U.C. Berkeley, School of Law and Barnard College of Columbia University. While at Berkeley, she served as Co-President of the Berkeley Energy and Resources Collaborative and successfully represented a Chinese asylum-seeker through the California Asylum Representation Clinic.

You can follow her on Twitter @_lala_wu.

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