Progress Arizona

Tax-Exempt Status:



Left-of-center advocacy organization


Phoenix, Arizona

Executive Director:

Emily Kirkland


Less than $50,000

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Progress Arizona is a left-of-center advocacy and lobbying organization that promotes a variety of state- and federal-level left-of-center policy priorities in Arizona. The organization is heavily involved in efforts to pressure Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) to support elimination of the filibuster in the U.S. Senate to pass Democratic-led election administration legislation. The organization states that it began in 2013 by forming a pressure campaign against the right-leaning American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and currently supports a variety of left-leaning policies and issue campaigns across the state. The organization also operates an educational arm called the Progress Arizona Institute. 1 2


Progress Arizona’s website states that the organization was formed around 2013 when it began launching attacks against state lawmakers who were participating in meetings sponsored by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a membership group comprised of free market-oriented state legislators that is often targeted by left-of-center activist groups for public pressure campaigns. 3


Progress Arizona supports a left-leaning policies around election administration including opposing voter identification laws and other Republican-backed election integrity efforts, and has been vocal in its opposition to Arizona Governor Doug Ducey (R). Since the 2020 election the organization has been most active in its support of Democratic-backed federal election legislation and its support of eliminating the Senate’s filibuster rule to pass such measures. 4

Filibuster Elimination

Since the 2020 election, Progress Arizona has been solely focused on conducting public pressure campaigns urging Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) to end the filibuster, calling it an “arcane senate rule” and alleging that the filibuster stems from the Jim Crow era. The organization has led a coalition of over 40 left-of-center activist groups and labor unions urging Sinema to support the elimination of the filibuster. Such groups include the Arizona AFL-CIO, Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA), and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona. 5 6

The organization has also staged protests on behalf of the Arizona Coalition to End the Filibuster at Sinema’s Arizona office, including one where ten people, including Progress Arizona executive director Emily Kirkland, were cited for trespassing when they refused to leave at the request of the property manager. 7

The organization supports eliminating the filibuster to pass legislation that would make Washington, D.C. the 51st state, enact the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, and mandate a $15 minimum wage, along with other pieces of legislation friendly to labor unions and immigrant groups. 8


Progress Arizona is led by executive director Emily Kirkland. Kirkland has led the group since 2019. Previously she was co-director of Progress Now Arizona and a community organizer in Massachusetts for the 350 Massachusetts Climate Action Network, a project of the Better Future Project. 9


  1. “About.” Progress Arizona. Accessed January 13, 2022.
  2. “End the Filibuster.” Progress Arizona. Accessed January 13, 2022.
  3. “About.” Progress Arizona. Accessed January 13, 2022.
  4. “About.” Progress Arizona. Accessed January 13, 2022.
  5. MacDonals-Evoy, Jerod. “Liberal Groups Call on Sinema to end the Senate Filibuster.” AZ Mirror. February 18, 2021. Accessed January 14, 2021.
  6. “Progress Arizona.” Twitter Post. February 16, 2021. Accessed January 14, 2021.
  7. Curtis, Chelsea. “10 people cited for trespassing during demonstration outside Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s Phoenix office.” Arizona Republic. June 22, 2021. Accessed January 14, 2022.
  8. “End the Filibuster.” Progress Arizona. Accessed January 13, 2022.
  9. “Emily Kirkland.” LinkedIn Profile. Accessed January 13, 2022.
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