CA25 United for Progress chair reflects on group’s first year

CA25 United for Progress in conjunction with the SoCal Healthcare Coalition hold a rally outside of Congressman Steve Knight's Santa Clarita office on Carl Boyer Drive on Wednesday, Nov 1, 2017. Nikolas Samuels/The Signal

It’s been a year since Donald Trump was elected president and it’s been nearly as long since Santa Clarita progressives started CA25 United for Progress.

The day after the 2016 election, Philip Germain wanted spur those around him to action instead of feeling defeated.

“I was seeing people who were lost and wanted to do something but didn’t know how,” Germain, chair of 25UP said.

He was not sure how to emotionally process the results of the election. He was certain it was going to be the opposite outcome.

When he went back to the local Democratic headquarters, a woman approached him and thanked him for trying.

He did not want this to be the end of his battle and decided to keep trying to get the election result he wanted in the next cycle.

“I wanted to give people a place to have a positive experience trying to get their emotions out in a good way,” he said.

With the encouragement of his dad, Germain decided to rally Santa Clarita residents together, bringing out 30 people who wanted to enact political reform in the valley.

Later, at an initial meeting, nearly 70 people attended and Germain was reassured that he might be onto something.

Fast forward to February, officially deeming themselves CA25 UP after the 25th Congressional District, the group brought over 250 attendees to discuss what they wanted the group’s purpose to be.

Consensus showed that the group, comprised of people across the political spectrum, wanted to better inform the community about who and what they are voting for.

Through phone calls, canvassing and events, Germain has sought to let Santa Clarita locals know about elected officials’ voting records and platforms.

While the group is primarily comprised of Democrats, there are also nonpartisan and Republican members.

To date, 25UP has about 150 regularly-attending members, Germain cited. The group also has 782 followers on Facebook and 232 followers on Twitter.

The chair is proud of the diversity of his board of directors, who is comprised of just as many women as it is men and ranges in age and race.

“We needed a board that reflects our community,” Germain said.

Hoping to get more people to the polls next election day, Germain estimates he has registered over 50 voters of various political parties by setting up tables at COC and the weekend swap meet and by going door-to-door.

CA25 UP has been the driving force behind many protests outside of Congressman Steve Knight’s local office, speaking out for health care and immigration reform, ranging from a few to dozens of attendees.

The group also hosted a walkout at California Institute of the Arts on Inauguration Day, recruiting 150 students to demonstrate their frustrations.

Germain organized an Adopt a District town hall, inviting Congresswoman Judy Chu to speak to locals about national issues from a Democratic perspective.

Of all his efforts, Germain said he is most proud of the ad campaign the group started to bring awareness to Knight’s health care stance.

Looking ahead, Germain hopes to keep with the group’s mission of informing voters, especially college students.

A College of the Canyons student himself, Germain said his key goal is to mobilize young people.

“I want to actually make politics relatable,” he said. “A lot of the time, it’s not.”

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