Netroots Nation

Netroots Nation
Netroots Nation logo

Netroots Nation is a political convention for American progressive political activists, originally organized by readers and writers of Daily Kos, a liberal political blog. It was previously called YearlyKos.[1] The 6th Annual Netroots Nation conference was held in Minneapolis from June 16–19.[2]

The origin of Netroots Nation is traced to a time when a tremendous and growing number of citizens gathered every day in the virtual world to raise their collective voice and proactively influence their government. That group is broadly called the Netroots and has since grown to include progressive organizations and politicians who use new media technologies to communicate with their constituents. The convention rebranded to Netroots Nation in 2007 in an effort to more accurately reflect the makeup of its audience and mission of implementing programs that teach and empower Netroots communities to affect change in the public sphere.

Although it is closely associated with Daily Kos, it is not produced by Markos Moulitsas or Kos Media. Netroots Nation is a project of, a non-profit non-partisan organization, with support from the Netroots Arts and Education Initiative (NAEI).


Past conferences


The first YearlyKos was held in Las Vegas, from June 8–11, 2006. There were 1,200 attendees, and featured prominent Democrats such as Harry Reid, Howard Dean, and Barbara Boxer, as well as three possible contenders in the 2008 Democratic primary: retired General Wesley Clark, New Mexico governor Bill Richardson, and former Virginia governor Mark Warner.

Laughing Liberally provided comedy entertainment at the convention, with stand-up comics Lee Camp and Baratunde Thurston, and George W. Bush impressionist James Adomian.

The convention also consisted of panels, roundtable discussion groups, and other gatherings of activists, members of the media and elected officials. Many of the panels were broadcast on C-SPAN. The convention was held at the Riviera Hotel and Casino.


The 2007 YearlyKos was held at the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago, Illinois from August 2–5.[3]

Seven of the eight major Democratic Presidential candidates attended the Convention in a debate moderated by bloggers. The candidates were Hillary Clinton, Chris Dodd, John Edwards, Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich, Barack Obama, Bill Richardson. The most memorable moment was when Hillary Clinton refused to join John Edwards and Barack Obama's pledge to stop taking money from Washington lobbyists.[4]

After the debate the candidates held their own break-out sessions.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid were expected to appear, but were held up in Washington due to various votes. On Saturday night of the Convention, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the controversial FISA legislation to expand George W. Bush's powers.


Now called Netroots Nation to better reflect the growing influence and membership of the netroots as a whole rather than just Daily Kos, the 2008 convention was held in Austin, Texas at the Austin Convention Center from July 17–20.[1] Prominent speakers in 2008 included Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi who was joined on stage by a surprise guest, former Vice President Al Gore.

Other prominent speakers included Gov. Howard Dean, Harold Ford, Lawrence Lessig, Rep. Donna Edwards and Van Jones.

On Saturday night, Gina Cooper announced the end of her tenure as Director of Netroots Nation.


In 2009, Netroots Nation was held at Pittsburgh's David L. Lawrence Convention Center, on August 13–16. Pittsburgh was chosen in part because it is a leader in LEED Certified green building technology; it has more square footage of green buildings than any other city in the country.[5] Another reason was Pittsburgh's rich labor union history.[6] Prominent speakers included President Bill Clinton, Valerie Jarrett, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, SEIU's Anna Burger, former New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine and Dean Baker. There was also a debate between Pennsylvania Senate candidates Rep. Joe Sestak and Sen. Arlen Specter.

The keynote speaker was former US President Bill Clinton.[7] The event captured international headlines when the Democratic Congressional leadership seemingly abandoned the "public option" during the Health Care debate and Howard Dean spoke forcefully that the party would reconsider this issue and not compromise on it. Former President Bill Clinton also made headlines in Pittsburgh when responding to a question shouted at him during his speech, concerning gay rights and the military.[8] Clinton quipped at a shouting audience member, "You know you should go to one of those Congressional health care meetings," and went on to say that the implementation of the policy was not what he envisioned or how it was originally defined and that it was ridiculous that $150,000 was spent "to get rid of an Arabic translator" and that 130 servicemen and -women known to be gay were allowed to serve in the first Gulf War until "they kicked them out." [9]


The 2010 Netroots Nation conference was held in Las Vegas metropolitan area at the Rio Suites Hotel & Casino. About 2200 attended the conference.

More than 200 media covered this year's conference including CNN,[10] Univision, AP,[11] Politico[12] and many others.

There were 70 panels, screening series and a Campaign Academy with 30 hands-on training sessions. These trainings, organized with the help of Democracy for America, featured professionals from dozens of organizations and publications in the progressive movement. Along with the panels and trainings there were seven keynote sessions. Two of the keynotes were question-and-answer sessions: Ask the Speaker with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Ask the Leader with Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Prominent speakers included Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Harry Reid, Sen.Al Franken, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, Elizabeth Warren, Gov. Brian Schweitzer, Ed Schultz, Sen. Jeff Merkley, Sen. Ben Cardin, Sen. Tom Udall, Rep.Alan Grayson, Rep. Raul Grijalva, Rep. Jared Polis, Rep. Donna Edwards, Rep.Jerrold Nadler, Van Jones, Rich Trumka, Jennifer O’Malley Dillion, Jon Vogel, J.B. Poersch, Tim Wise, Lizz Winstead, Majora Carter, Markos Moulitsas, Tarryl Clark, Bill Halter, George Goehl, Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, Deepak Bhargava, Gerald McEntee and Eliseo Medina.

During his speech, Sen. Franken argued against media consolidation and for net neutrality laws. He said, in part, "If we don't protect Net Neutrality now, how long do you think it will take before Comcast-NBC Universal, or Verizon-CBS Viacom or AT&T-ABC-DirecTV or BP-Haliburton-Walmart-Fox-Domino's-Pizza start favoring its content over everyone else's?"[13]


The 2011 Netroots Nation was held June 16-19 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with prominent featured speakers including Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, former Senator Russ Feingold, Minneapolis mayor R. T. Rybak, former Vermont governor Howard Dean, Van Jones, John Aravosis, Shannon Augare, Nevada State Assemblyman Elliot Anderson, Senator Mark Begich, Senator Ben Cardin, Rep. Judy Chu, Lt. Dan Choi, Rep. Keith Ellison, Tarryl Clark, Dr. Heidi Cullen, Davey D, Rep. Donna Edwards, Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, Laura Flanders, Matthew Filipowicz, Sen. Al Franken, Rep. John Garamendi, Rep. Luis Gutierrez, Jane Hamsher and Montana State Rep. Ellie Hill.

The event featured a number of incidents, including a confrontation between Andrew Breitbart (who was in attendance at RightOnline, which took place nearby and had unsuccessfully attempted to obtain a media pass to Netroots Nation) and Netroots attendees who heckled him, as well as storm of criticism by LGBT-oriented news sources against President Obama's Communications Director Daniel Pfeiffer, who stated that Obama's signature to a 1996 pledge for same-sex marriage legalization had been signed by a member of then-Illinois State Senator Obama's electoral staff instead.


It was announced during the 2011 conference on June 18, 2011 that Netroots Nation 2012 will take place in Providence, Rhode Island from June 7-10, 2012.


  1. ^ a b Brooks, Karen (2007-11-17). "Netroots Nation chooses Austin for political huddle". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 2008-07-24. [dead link]
  2. ^ "Netroots Nation 2011: June 16–19 in Minneapolis!". Netroots Nation website. 2010-08-18. Retrieved 2010-10-10. 
  3. ^ "And the YearlyKos 2007 location is....". Daily Kos. 2006-10-03. Retrieved 2008-07-24. 
  4. ^ Melber, Ari (2007-08-06). "At YearlyKos, Netroots Come of Age". The Nation. Retrieved 2008-07-24. 
  5. ^ Sheppard, Kate (2008-07-20). "Netroots to go green in '09". Grist Magazine, Inc. Retrieved 2008-07-24. 
  6. ^ "Netroots Nation 2009: Pittsburgh, Aug. 13-16". BloggerPower. Retrieved 2008-08-09. 
  7. ^ "Bill Clinton's Keynote at Netroots Nation". 
  8. ^ Hudson, Lane (August 2009). "Why I interrupted Bill Clinton". 
  9. ^ "Don't mask, do yell". 
  10. ^ Bohn, Kevin (2010-07-24). "Elizabeth Warren warmly embraced at Netroots". CNN Political Ticker. Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  11. ^ "Obama Urges Liberals To 'Keep Up The Fight'". AP/NPR. 2010-07-24. Retrieved 2010-07-24. [dead link]
  12. ^ Mahtesian, Charles (2010-07-24). "The rise of Netroots Nation". Politico. Retrieved 2010-07-24. 
  13. ^ Matt Schafer (July 29, 2010). "Help Me Fight the Takeover of Our Media, Franken Says Over the Weekend". Retrieved 2010-10-17. "Without vital Net Neutrality protections, and tough but fair regulation for corporations like Comcast, Franken sees a dark future where the flow of information in the United States will be controlled by just a few multinational corporations." 

External links

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