Good things are happening! Anti-establishment Democrats scored victories in major local and state elections. What’s more, Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and Sen. Bernie Sanders (Ind.-Vt.) are taking on the disastrously corrupt airline industry, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is going after bank fees, and new research highlights the benefits of Los Angeles’ school construction boom that started in the late 1990s.
All this and more in this week’s You Love to See It, exclusively for supporting subscribers below.
Corporate Candidates Lose Out
It was a banner week for anti-establishment candidates. In Colorado, Elisabeth Epps, a Denver Democratic Socialists of America (DSA)-backed criminal justice organizer and a friend of The Lever, overcame establishment opposition and hundreds of thousands of dollars in spending against her to win a Democratic primary for state legislature.
Meanwhile, in Illinois, state Rep. Delia Ramirez trounced her right-wing opponent Gil Villegas in Illinois’ newly created Hispanic-majority 3rd Congressional District. Ramirez was backed by Sanders and the Working Families Party.
Also in Illinois, DSA member Rachel Ventura won in a suburban Chicago district for state Senate, along with DSA member Anthony Quezada in a Cook County commissioner race.
Finally, upstate New York elected its first-ever socialist to the state Assembly, with the victory of Nepali-American organizer Sarahana Shrestha over 13-term incumbent Kevin Cahill. This Twitter thread by a Shrestha staffer shows how they pulled it off.
Fetterman And Bernie Take On Mayor Pete
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg spent his 2020 presidential campaign being feted by the corporate media as a candidate who wanted to “make governing great again.” Yet under his leadership at the Department of Transportation, there’s been an extraordinary supply chain crisis, and now, thousands of canceled flights. In response, Sanders and Pennsylvania Democratic Senate nominee John Fetterman have called on Buttigieg to take action by heavily fining airlines for canceled flights due to staffing shortages.
Buttigieg has not responded to their demands, offering these vague comments instead on Thursday: “We have a number of tools and authorities and we’re prepared to use them. I’d rather not have it come to that, but when those issues happen we will act.”
Chopra Chops Down On Bank Fees
The Washington Post profiled Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Chair Rohit Chopra, who is in the midst of a 9-month-old investigation into hidden fees charged by banks and credit card companies. While the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has launched an aggressive ad campaign against the consumer advocate, the Post noted that Chopra isn’t backing down from his pledge “that the days of slap-on-the-wrist fines are over, and that repeat offenders will face serious financial consequences.”
Chopra is also clear-eyed about the hurdles he faces. “I think the largest firms are much more accustomed to having a relationship with their regulators that is more akin to friendship than to a traditional relationship between a regulator and a regulated entity,” he told the Post.
Big Surprise: Building Safe New Schools Helped L.A. Kids
In a new study published in the American Economic Journal, Julien Lafortune and David Schönholzer found that between 1997 and 2008, Los Angeles students saw substantial test score gains following voters’ approval of $20 billion in new school bonds. While the average age of school buildings nationwide increased during that time, L.A. was building safe new schools — many of them in low-income neighborhoods. Turns out that investing in kids pays off.
UPenn Teamsters Win Big
Housekeepers, custodians, and transportation workers at the University of Pennsylvania haven’t waged a real fight for a new contract in decades — largely thanks to the reluctance of their local union leadership to wage an aggressive campaign. So the workers did it themselves, with a little help from Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU), a pressure group that helps Teamsters make their union member-run.
Workers got their colleagues involved, made clear to their leaders they were ready to fight, and were able to eliminate the two-tier wage structure that made it so younger workers could never catch up in pay with their more senior colleagues. Now every housekeeper, TDU reports, will have the same top rate of $28.68 per hour by the end of the contract in 2026.