Person

Laura Williamson

Nationality:

American

Occupation:

Think Tank Staffer

Employer:

Demos

Laura Williamson, a left-of-center activist, is the associate director for policy and research in the area of democracy reform for Demos, a think tank with close ties to the self-described “progressive” wing of the Democratic Party.

Background

Prior to joining Demos, Williamson participated in voting rights-related advocacy, organizing, and research with the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, a left-of-center public interest law group based in Durham, North Carolina, and consulted on policy issues and civic engagement with the Princeton Gerrymandering Project. Later, Williamson worked as an education outreach coordinator at Puentes New Orleans, a local Latino-interest nonprofit based in New Orleans, Louisiana. [1] [2]

Later Williamson became the fellowship program manager at People for the American Way Foundation, a left-of-center advocacy group formed in 1981 by liberal Hollywood television producer Norman Lear to oppose the conservative principles espoused by Christian conservative televangelists, in the institution’s Young People For (also known as “YP4”) program, a professional development program for left-progressive activists. [3] [4]

Demos

In 2018, Williamson joined the left-wing think tank Demos (formally known as “Demos: A Network for Ideas and Action”) as a senior policy analyst. Roughly three years later in 2021, she was promoted to the institution’s associate director of policy research in the area of “democracy reform” (governance policy), in which role the focus of her research and advocacy is oriented around racial issues with regard to voting. Notably, Demos, which is based in New York City and was founded in 2000, advocates in favor of staunchly liberal policies and has close ties to the wing of the Democratic Party associated with U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and more broadly the left-wing progressive movement. In that vein, a substantial amount of the organization’s funding originates from labor unions and left-progressive foundations. [5] [6] [7] [8]

Activity

On May 3, 2019, Williamson, along with Demos colleagues Mark Huelsman and Emmanuel Caicedo, coauthored a piece on the organization’s blog in favor of “Democracy Dollars,” a proposed legislative initiative spearheaded by U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), which would entitle eligible voters to “donate” $200 of federal money to campaigns for the House of Representatives, Senate, and Presidency wherein the given candidate agrees not to accept any donations above $200. [9]

On September 16, 2021, Williamson published a Demos blog post in favor of the Freedom to Vote Act proposed by Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) on the 14th of that month, which would, if passed, advance same-day voter registration initiatives and create new burdens of judicial scrutiny on states’ abilities to reinstate or further strengthen applicable election integrity laws. [10] [11]

On December 17, 2021, Demos published a policy brief by Williamson, beginning with the statement, “The American political system, though claiming the mantle of equality and human dignity at its founding, was designed to protect the power and privilege of wealthy, white men,” and continued on to claim that the United States Supreme Court (among other institutions) has been “stolen” and that it is necessary to add four more associate justices to it in order to “save it,” a practice that has been called court packing historically and by critics. [12]

References

  1. Teacher Activists Groups.” The National Network of Teacher Activists Groups. Accessed March 21, 2022. https://teacheractivists.org/no-history-is-illegal/participants/ ^
  2. “Laura Williamson.” Demos. Accessed March 21, 2022. https://www.demos.org/laura-williamson ^
  3. “Laura Williamson 848.” HuffPost. Accessed March 21, 2022. https://www.huffpost.com/author/laura-williamson ^
  4. Oster, Sharon. “Strategic Management for Nonprofit Organizations: Theory and Cases.” Page 161. Oxford University Press. New York. May 11, 1995. Accessed March 21, 2022. https://books.google.com/books?id=yJ9txWojyRQC&pg=PA161&lpg=PA161&dq=%22people+for+the+american+way%22+and+televangelist+and+%22norman+lear%22&source=bl&ots=TW502zWXEs&sig=eDOjRy9pgdIj-TufAUZjRLhgI-g&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiv_Oript_YAhUPNKwKHWoNCVwQ6AEIazAL#v=onepage&q=%22people%20for%20the%20american%20way%22%20and%20televangelist%20and%20%22norman%20lear%22&f=false ^
  5. “Demos.” Discover the Networks. Accessed March 21, 2022. https://www.discoverthenetworks.org/organizations/demos ^
  6. Howley, Patrick. “The Warren Tribe.” Washington Free Beacon. May 16, 2012. Accessed March 21, 2022.  http://freebeacon.com/national-security/the-warren-tribe/ ^
  7. “Demos Supports “Green New Deal” Plan.” Demos. February 7, 2019. Accessed March 21, 2022. https://www.demos.org/press-release/demos-supports-green-new-deal-plan ^
  8. “Laura Williamson.” Demos. Accessed March 21, 2022. https://www.demos.org/laura-williamson ^
  9. Williamson, Laura; Huelsman, Mark; Caicedo, Emmanuel. “With Democracy Dollars, Everyone Can Give – And Our Democracy Can Thrive.” Demos. May 3, 2019. Accessed March 21, 2022. https://www.demos.org/blog/democracy-dollars-everyone-can-give-and-our-democracy-can-thrive ^
  10.  “S.2747 – Freedom to Vote Act.” Congress.gov. September 14, 2021. Accessed March 21, 2022. https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/senate-bill/2747#:~:text=This%20bill%20addresses%20voter%20registration,%2Dmail%20and%20early%20voting). ^
  11. Williamson, Laura. “Why Congress Must Pass The Freedom To Vote Act.” Demos. September 16, 2021. Accessed March 21, 2021. https://www.demos.org/blog/why-congress-must-pass-freedom-vote-act ^
  12. Williamson, Laura. “How the Stolen Supreme Court is Defeating Democracy and Why Expanding the Court Can Save it.” Demos. December 17, 2021. Accessed March 21, 2022. https://www.demos.org/policy-briefs/how-stolen-supreme-court-defeating-democracy-and-why-expanding-court-can-save-it ^
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