An Icon of Progressive Courage
Senator Marty has been an outspoken champion of progressive causes long before they became popular.
John was an early and outspoken supporter of LGBTQ rights. In the early 1990s, he stood against widespread fear and open hatred of the LGBTQ community, courageously helping lead the fight for an amendment to the state human rights act to end discrimination against LGBTQ people in housing and employment. They overcame strong opposition to pass the much-needed protection.
Senator Marty was a consistent leader in the fight against DOMA (the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act”) in the late 1990s and early 2000s. To understand how unpopular LGBTQ rights were at the time, the federal DOMA legislation, to deny these rights, passed by an 80% margin in Congress and was signed into law by President Bill Clinton.
John was a champion of marriage equality when practically all politicians were running away from the issue. In 2008, John introduced the first Marriage Equality bill that eventually received a hearing, kicking off the fight the led to passage of equality in 2013.
Senator Marty continues the fight for fair treatment of all people, pushing for legislation to ban the outrageous practice of “conversion therapy” for LGBTQ youth.
A Vision for a Better Future
Senator Marty had the vision to speak out and work for a clean energy economy years before Climate Change became a hot button issue. John introduced and fought for Clean Car Legislation, Renewable Energy Standards, a carbon tax, and other legislation to protect our planet from the catastrophic impacts of global warming. In 2013, he carried the legislation that jump-started Minnesota’s solar energy economy and included a provision that would have Minnesota develop a strategy and framework to become the first state to become 100% fossil-fuel free economy.
A Fighter for Social, Economic, Gender and Racial Justice
Senator Marty is, at his core, a fighter for justice. He has led the battle to address economic injustice and poverty, pushing for a progressive tax code, and living wages for workers. John has been fighting to change our criminal justice system and end its outrageous racial discrimination, which has been described as “the new Jim Crow,” because it maintains a racial caste system in American society. He speaks out for environmental justice and the need to end our disparities in health, employment, education, and housing. John knows that we must never stop fighting until there is an end to all injustice.
The Conscience of the Senate
Senator Marty’s leadership on government ethics and campaign finance reform has led some reporters to describe him as the conscience of the Senate. He has long fought to take all special interest money out of politics so that government policies are decided on the merits of the issues, not the size of the bankroll of interest groups. And John walks the talk – his campaign has consistently rejected all special interest money, from PACs, lobbyists, and wealthy donors. Senator Marty wants to make the first Tuesday in November an election, not an auction, because government should never be for sale to the highest bidder.
Many years ago, when John was running for Governor, the Star Tribune described him as “an uncompromising advocate of abortion rights, strong environmental regulations, labor union causes, gay rights, a single-payer health care plan
and universal coverage, feminist causes and civil rights protections for minorities.”
John says that although one may need to compromise on policy in the legislative process, one should never compromise one’s values and goals.
A Courageous, Ethical Leader
Senator Marty stands up to powerful interests, even when it means standing alone. In 1998, Governor Jesse Ventura passed the biggest tax cut in Minnesota history. The legislation provided rebate checks to people – with the state literally borrowing money to increase the size of the rebates – as well as large, permanent tax cuts that were heavily tilted in favor of the wealthiest Minnesotans, despite urgent housing, health, education, transportation, and other needs in the state. The political pressure was so great that even though the Senate was controlled by DFLers at the time, the legislation passed overwhelmingly – 65 to 1.
Senator Marty was the only member of the entire Senate who had the courage to speak out and fight against the short-sighted tax cuts, arguing against both the unfairness of regressive tax cuts, and the state’s failure to meet social and economic needs. John has had the courage we need to stand up to for fairness, even when it means standing alone.
The Pioneer Press did a profile of Senator Marty a number of years ago headlined, Marty not afraid to fight the big guns, describing how he has had the courage to stand up to the NRA, the anti-abortion lobby and other powerful interest groups at the capitol. The article described John as “one of the gutsiest members of the legislature.”
A Wellspring of Creative Ideas for Social Change – with a Record of Success
Senator Marty has repeatedly developed creative ideas, introduced legislation that pundits claimed could never pass, and gradually built support for those ideas, until they ultimately passed into law. For example:
John introduced legislation to enable corporations to look beyond the interest of shareholders, and work for the interests of all stakeholders, including employees, customers, the environment, and the local community. John persistently pushed his legislation at a time when no state allowed for public benefit corporations, finally passing a law in Minnesota in 2014 to enable businesses to explicitly work for the good of the community.
Senator Marty pushed for a legal driving standard of .08 to reduce drunk driving, which was, at the time, responsible for half of all driving fatalities in Minnesota. When he first introduced the measure, no state had adopted it, but after several years of persistent work, Minnesota and every other state finally adopted this important safety measure.
Although some claim that universal healthcare isn’t politically feasible, it is wrong to have people dying for a lack of healthcare, so John is committed to passing the Minnesota Health Plan, giving everyone comprehensive, affordable health care, with no exceptions
Prepared and Paid for by the Senator John Marty Volunteer Committee