This is what Newton Dems are saying....

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Wednesday
Apr222015

2015 Caucus: Q&A and why you should attend!

At 3:00 pm on Sunday, June 7 at Newton South High School, Newton Democrats - meaning any person who lives in Newton and is registered to vote here as a Democrat - will caucus to elect delegates to the 2015 State Democratic Convention on September 19 in Springfield.

The caucus is a fun event involving Dems from all across the city, scores of candidates for statewide office, local elected officials and most of all and appeals for support from all corners from people who apsire to represent you in State Government. 

The NDCC encourages all registered Democrats to participate as voters, candidates for delegate or just curious onlookers. This Q&A will give you more information about how and why you can be involved.

What is a caucus?

Basically, it's a political gathering where something is decided by a vote of eligible participants.

What is the purpose of THIS caucus?

The purpose is to elect Democratic delegates to the 2015 Democratic State Convention. 

What do delegates do at the State Convention?

During campaign years, they decide who gets on the Democratic primary ballot, and who doesn't. They vote to place candidates for statewide office on the primary ballot. During non-campaign years, delegates speak out on issues and participate in great trainings. In all cases, there are always lots of great political speaches by inspiring leaders and fun networking with Democratic friends.

What happens at the caucus - how are delegates elected?

Voting at the caucus takes place by anonymous, paper ballot. Candidates are nominated and seconded. Each ward has a specific number of delegate spots and each attendee may cast that specific number of votes. So for example, if a ward has five slots for men, then a caucus voter may vote for five men. If there are five or fewer candidates who are men, then everyone gets elected. If there are more, then the top five vote getters get elected. Same for women - there are equal numbers of slots for men and women.

I'm interested in running but never have before - am I eligibe to run?

If you are registered to vote in Newton as a Democrat by January 31, 2015, yes!

Also, do I have a chance of getting elected?

Absolutely. Many voters at the caucus are open to being inspired by and voting for a candidate for delegate be it a veteran or a first-timer. This is particularly true during non campaign year conventions. If you're interested in running, you should run! Bring friends (who are Dems) and don't be afraid to ask people at the caucus for help. You'll likely be welcomed and fed lots of information by dedicated activists who love to talk politics. 

How many delegate slots are there?

Each of Newton's 8 wards is allocated a certain number of slots. It varies slightly from ward to ward, but basically there are about 8 to 10 slots in each ward split 50/50 between men and women.

When is the convention? Do I have to be able to go to the convention to participate?

Saturday, September 19, 2015 in Springfield. If you are running for delegate, yes, you should be able to go to the convention. That's the whole point of being a delegate! But if you want to attend the caucus just to watch, or to vote, then no you don't need to be able to attend the convention. 

I can't make the caucus in person. Can I still vote or run for delegate?

Yes, absentee candidates are allowed during non campaign years. You must submit a request in writing to the Ward Committee Chair for your ward. Candidates who are there in person have preference. If there are not enough in-person candidates to fill all the slots, then absentee candidates may be considered.

I have other questions - who should I contact?

Contact Shawn Fitzgibbons at (617) 997-2577 or shawn@newtondems.org

Tuesday
Apr212015

Invite from Ward 2 Dem Ellie Goldberg

Ward 2 Dem Ellie Goldberg invites all to the following film screening:
Wednesday, April 22 at 7pm. Please join Green Decade Newton at the Newton Free Library for “The Power of One Voice.”​(Watch the ​film trailer​)​  Ellie Goldberg will lead a Q & A after the film.  
More Info: https://www.greendecade.org/film-power-of-one-voice-and-discussion-on-april-22/ 

We tolerate cancer-causing agents in our environment at our peril…For those in whom cancer is already a hidden or a visible presence, efforts to find cures must of course continue.  But for those not yet touched by the disease and certainly for the generation as yet unborn, prevention is the imperative need.” – Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

 

Tuesday
Apr072015

National Report from Priscilla Leith, former NDCC chair

The US Senate picture continues to evolve - you can find all the details here. And for the US House, please click here!

Thursday
Mar262015

Secretary of the Commonwealth Bill Galvin to visit Newton

Please join us as we welcome Bill Galvin, Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, to Newton on Tuesday, May 12 at 7:30 pm. He will speak about recent updates to election law in Massachusetts that improves access to the polls, and how Democrats can respond to Republican Governor Charlie Baker's efforts to defund the Elections Division. All are welcome. Location to be announced!

Thursday
Mar262015

National Report from Priscilla Leith, former NDCC chair

If you are looking to get a handle on upcoming Senate and House races for 2016, look no further! Priscilla has the landscape mapped out ... click here for the Senate and here for the House.

Monday
Mar092015

Sen. Bernie Sanders on issues near and dear to so many Dems

Click to watch:

Friday
Mar062015

National Report from Priscilla Leith, former NDCC chair

While campaign season is mostly quiet, there are some things on the horizon. Click here for an initial list on an Excel spreadsheet of the U.S. Senate races coming in 2016.  

     Major news so far is that Sen Barbara Mikulski  (D-MD) and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) are not running for re-election.  

     Also, lots of speculation that fmr Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin is going to run against incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson.  And Atty Gen Kamala Harris of CA is running for the Dem nomination there, supposedly with lots of support.

~ Priscilla

Friday
Feb202015

Ward 2 Dems Meeting on March 1: Honoring Steve Linsky

The next meeting of the Ward 2 NDCC will be held on Sunday, March 1, at 4:30 PM at the home of:

   Brooke Lipsitt
   54 Kirkstall Rd.
   Newtonville (off Walnut St.)

The theme of our meeting will be state government and its response to personal needs. A specific agenda to follow.

The meeting will be followed by a going-away party for Steve Linsky and Martine Van Pee, who will be moving out of Newton. This is a Sunday afternoon cocktail party. Drinks will be provided. Please bring snacks to share.

As we have talked about many times, the challenges facing this country at this time are staggering. We are just a year away from gearing up to a critically important Presidential campaign, with the Supreme Court in the balance, and planning and recruitment for Democratic activists needs to start now.

So please take a minute to see if you could invite a friend. Since Steve was our Ward 2 Alderman for 12 years, he is probably known by many who might enjoy participating in this neighborhood send-off. We'd be happy to have them!

Please let Robert or me know if you plan to join us.

Thanks,

Ruth Dain 617-244-1158
Ward 2 Chair

Robert  Fitzpatrick 917-554-9594
Ward 2 Co-chair
Tuesday
Feb172015

Rep. Lawn's Annual Fundraiser - please consider supporting

I wanted to reach out to invite you to my Annual Winter Fundraising Breakfast next Wednesday, February 25 from 8:00-9:30am at Scollay Square Restaurant located at 21 Beacon Street in Downtown Boston.
If you are unable to make it and would like to contribute to my campaign committee, you can do so by sending a check to The Lawn Committee, 20 Pilgrim Road, Watertown, MA 02472.  For more information, please see the attached invitation or call (617) 733-3751.
Thank you for your continued support, and I look forward to seeing you next Wednesday!

Best,
John

--
State Representative John Lawn
10th Middlesex District
The Lawn Committee

20 Pilgrim Road
Watertown, MA 02472

Monday
Jan122015

Invitation from Ward 2 Dem Catherine Willinger

Tuesday Evening Speaker Series - Criminal Justice Reform in Massachusetts
 
Continuing with the subject of criminal justice reform in Massachusetts from 2014,Sus we invite all interested persons from the FUSN community and the larger metropolitan area to come to one or any of the following Tuesday evening talks followed by discussion.  We are particularly focused on advocacy for relevant legislation.
 
Jan. 13  The Jobs Not Jails campaign - Josh Beardsley, retired research analyst, and Lillie Williams, volunteers with EPOCA (Ex-Prisoners and Prisoners Organizing for Community Advancement)
 
Jan. 27  State Representative Kay Khan of Newton, longtime champion for compassionate  treatment of women prisoners
 
Feb. 10  Commissioner Ed Dolan, new head of Probation Services
 
Feb. 24  Mike Rezendes, Boston Globe reporter who has spotlighted unsavory conditions at the Bridgewater State Hospital for incarcerated mentally ill prisoners
 
Mar. 10  Andrea James, Executive Director, Families for Justice as Healing, will present her bill to support mothers awaiting trial 
 
Most sessions will be held in the chapel from 7 - 9 PM.  Parking in the rear of the bank across Highland Street.  Enter church from back entrance through staff parking lot.
 
For information, contact Nancy Wrenn, chairman of the Criminal Justice Task Force,
First Unitarian Society in Newton
1326 Washington Street  (Rte 16)
West Newton
[ncwrenn@aol.com]
Monday
Dec292014

Newton MLK Day Celebration

Tuesday
Dec232014

Year End Update from Senator Creem

The final days of 2014 are fast approaching, as well as the end of the 188th session of the Massachusetts General Court.  I'd like to take this opportunity to update you on some of the issues considered on Beacon Hill this legislative session, but first I would like to thank you for your support in the November election!  I am very pleased and honored to continue to represent you and I look forward to working in the next session on issues that are important for my district and the Commonwealth.

 

The past two years have been very busy up on Beacon Hill.  I have been working hard as Chair of the Senate Committee on Post Audit and Oversight and have already conducted audits and issued reports on the state's information technology procurement process, the state's backlog of rape evidence kits, and a review of state boards and commissions.  I have also sponsored and successfully advocated for important legislation, including new laws tightening gun ownership requirements, addressing inequities in juvenile offender sentencing, and protecting domestic violence victims.  As the new session begins, I will continue to work on important priorities that still must be addressed.

 

This past November brought about the election of a new governor, attorney general, and treasurer, along with several new state senators and representatives.  Now I'm looking forward to robust debates beginning in January, and to ensuring that the 189th session works to pass meaningful legislation in a fair and transparent manner. 

 

Finally, as the holiday season fast approaches, I would like to wish everyone a happy holiday and a wonderful New Year!  2014 has been a very productive year and I am looking forward to the work of 2015!

— LATEST NEWS —

Comprehensive Firearms Reform - After years of working to strengthen our gun laws, I was pleased that this session saw enactment of the most comprehensive reforms to our gun laws since 1998.  Included within the new law are many initiatives that I proposed, including a new “suitability” process for police to deny a firearm identification card needed to use a shotgun or rifle, and requiring all gun sales, including private sales, to go through “real time” background and licensing checks.  The bill also brings Massachusetts into compliance with the federal National Instant Check System (NICS), as well as requiring the collection of data at the state level on guns used in crime and in suicides.  While this new law goes a long way towards ensuring the safety of our residents, I believe there is more to be done on gun control and I will continue to push for more ways to reduce gun trafficking and gun crimes.

Juvenile Life Sentences - Juveniles convicted of first degree murder will no longer be sentenced to life without the possibility of parole under a new law passed in response to both U.S. and State Supreme Court rulings regarding the unconstitutionality of state laws which imposed life without parole for these juveniles.  These cases recognized the significant developmental differences between juveniles and adults who commit murder.   The new law, while not optimal, provides for parole eligibility after serving at least 20 years and in more extreme cases at least 30 years.  The age of who is considered a juvenile has also now been raised from 17 to 18.  These important reforms will create a more effective criminal justice system, and I will continue to work on legislation to make our sentencing laws more just and effective, while allowing judicial discretion.  

 

Transportation - This session, the Legislature enacted a comprehensive 5-year funding plan for overdue public transit and road projects.  By 2017, we will have ‘open road tolling’ on the entire Mass Turnpike and Central Artery, eliminating all toll collectors and smoothing the flow of traffic. In my district, green line service should be improving, with plans to make traffic signals responsive to the B and C trains, and to put 24 new cars online by 2018.  And, the RIDE for seniors and the disabled will begin a discount program in July to help those who need financial aid.    

Environment - I have been successful this session in ensuring that zero-emission vehicle companies (ZEVs) are at the table when policies are worked out on charging stations and sales of these cars and adding methane measurements to the new gas leaks bill to make sure the most potent greenhouse gas emissions are considered a priority for repair.  And I will be supporting the divestment of our state’s pension funds from the fossil fuels industry, and efforts to stop a natural gas pipeline (Kinder-Morgan) that would go through protected state forests across our state.  In the next session, I am hopeful we will enact my bill banning toxic flame retardants in children’s furniture and other household products, and that my bills to enhance safety for bicyclists, pedestrians and other road users will be adopted.

Bottle Bill - I am the lead sponsor of legislation complementing curbside recycling by requiring the nickel deposit for ‘on-the-go’ beverages like water bottles and energy drinks.  These containers now end up as roadside and sports field litter, costing cities and towns around $8 million a year for disposal as trash (since 76% are not currently recycled, just put into landfills!)  I supported the ballot question this November, but unfortunately it was not successful.  While Brookline supported adding nickel deposits (54-46%), Newton (45-55%) and Wellesley (41-59%) voted ‘No’.  However, I believe the current bottle bill remains necessary since 82% of deposit containers are now recycled, and I will be introducing new legislation in January make sure our communities adopt the most effective recycling programs to reduce landfill trash.

Women's Health - In 2007 I collaborated with other lawmakers to institute a 35-foot "buffer zone" around reproductive health facilities to ensure that women could access needed medical services free from harassment or intimidation.  However, the Supreme Court determined this year that this buffer zone law was unconstitutional.  In response to this decision, I worked with other lawmakers to enact a new law which allows law enforcement to disperse unruly individuals and prohibit them from standing within 25-feet of a clinic for up to eight-hours.  This session we also passed legislation I sponsored which will ban shackling of pregnant women in all state and county correctional facilities and promote safe pregnancies by requiring prenatal and postnatal medical care and counseling services.  I’m proud that Massachusetts now joins the 18 other states that prohibit the shackling of pregnant women.

Domestic Violence - Building on last year’s passage into law of my bill to protect domestic violence victims from housing discrimination, I am proud that two more of my initiatives to protect and empower victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse became law this session.  Partly in response to the tragic Jared Remy case, the legislature passed an omnibus domestic violence bill, including one of my longtime initiatives to provide employment leave to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in order to address related issues such as housing, counseling, or medical treatment.  It also included my bill to prevent perpetrators of domestic assault from avoiding prosecution by utilizing an old statute meant to allow individuals in simpler assault cases to resolve their disputes by mutual agreement.  I plan on continuing my efforts to ensure that resources are available to assist victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault.

 

— COMMITTEE NEWS —

 

This has been a busy year for the Senate Committee on Post Audit and Oversight, which I chair.  This committee has the important job of looking into government inefficiencies and recommending ways to make the government work more effectively for its citizens and ensure that our taxes are well spent.

 

Recently, I conducted a detailed examination of the problems the state has encountered with information-technology projects and the private contractors who build them for us.  One example was the problematic roll-out on July 1, 2013 of the Department of Unemployment Assistance’s new online claim system.  After hearing from many unemployed people whose distress at losing their jobs was compounded by not being able to collect the unemployment benefits they were due, I began to investigate.  After holding three hearings and thoroughly investigating the issues, I released a report in April setting forth problems with state information-technology procurement and development and making numerous recommendations for improvement.  This report, in turn, was used to help write new laws revamping state information-technology procurement and management.

 

My committee has also looked into concerns about the many boards and commissions in the Commonwealth to learn if they are fulfilling their mandate or whether their usefulness has expired.  There are over 600 boards and commissions ranging from those that issue professional licenses on a continuing basis, to others created to look into particular issues and make recommendations.  I found, first, that there were problems with the organization of information about our boards and commissions available on our state website.  More importantly, I found there were commissions that (1) have failed to conduct meetings and produce required reports; (2) apparently have never begun work (usually because they don’t have enough members); (3) have overlapping responsibilities; or (4) have completed or outlived their mission.  In July, my committee issued a report listing the problematic commissions we found and making recommendations to improve the current system.  I am planning to file legislation soon that will hopefully fix at least some of these problems.

 

 

— COMMUNITY CONTACT—

 

I often meet with school committees, selectmen and other public officials, Leagues of Women Voters, and local advocacy groups.  These meetings help me to understand and advocate for what my communities truly need. For example, after learning from my local school committees about the high cost of healthcare for some students, I filed a bill to shift the costs – appropriately - to private insurers to cover medically necessary treatment. If you have an issue I can help with, please contact me to schedule a meeting.

 

— COMMUNITY CORNER —

 

 

Ali Safran, founder of Surviving in Numbers and one of my Newton constituents, organized an exhibit at the State House this past summer.  Surviving in Numbers is an extraordinary organization which provides a healing forum for sexual assault survivors to relay their experiences in numbers, such as the number of times assaulted and the number of people who believed them.  This ability to speak out in a safe forum helps with the healing process and allows survivors to discuss their individual experience.  Ali's work is an amazing testament to the power that one voice can have. I was so proud to introduce her to the State Senate and facilitate her organization's display.

Wellesley students from Hunnewell Elementary School came to the State House to advocate for legislation, which I co-sponsored, to designate Ms. G of the Massachusetts Audubon Society as the official groundhog of the state.  These groundhog loving Wellesley students developed the idea for this bill and were the main impetus behind its passage.  This bill, with my support, was signed by the Governor into law on July 31, 2014.

I recently had the opportunity to meet Steven Legge, who was able to install a stair lift in his home in Newton with the help of the Metropolitan Boston Housing Partnership's (MBHP) Home Loan Modification Program.  The program provides assistance to individuals so they can continue to live independently in the community.  I have been a longtime supporter of the MBHP and believe that increasing opportunities for those with disabilities to remain in their homes is a core community value we can all support.

 

— CONTACT ME 

 

Massachusetts State HouseOne of my most important jobs as your State Senator is assisting you with problems you may be having with state agencies.  I work very hard to ensure that my constituents have access to and receive needed services from the state.  If you are having problems and believe that I may be of assistance, I hope that you will think of my office as a resource.  Please feel free to contact me by telephone or email if you believe I can help. 

Friday
Dec192014

Remembering Sal

Wednesday
Dec172014

National Update from former NDCC Chair Priscilla Leith

With the final results from Louisiana in, here is where things now stand in the US Senate between the Dems and Republicans. (Hint: its rough for now!)

Friday
Dec052014

NEWTON DEMOCRATIC CITY COMMITTEE ENDORSES AN ACT TO AMEND THE CITY OF NEWTON CHARTER TO CHANGE THE TITLE OF NEWTON’S LEGISLATIVE BRANCH FROM “BOARD OF ALDERMEN” TO “CITY COUNCIL”.

For Immediate Release:

December 12, 2014
Newton, MA--Members of the Newton Democratic City Committee voted overwhelmingly to endorse a proposed update to the Newton Charter that would change the title of Newton's legislative body from Board of Aldermen to City Council. 
"Our members clearly thought it was time for a change," said NDCC Chair Shawn Fitzgibbons, "We need to make it crystal clear, through the language we use, that women deserve an equal seat in government. The term Alderman is from a different time and just doesn't accomplish that goal." 
The motion for the NDCC to endorse the change was made by Priscilla Leith who is both the former NDCC Chair and president of the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Organization for Women. The change to a gender-neutral term was also supported by State Treasurer Steve Grossman, a Newton resident, and State Representatives Ruth Balser and Kay Khan. 
Many NDCC members who spoke in favor of the change noted that the Democratic Party strongly supports diversity in government and that this initiative is an important step in the direction of encouraging more women to seek elective office in our home city.
The act recently passed the Board of Aldermen's Program and Services Committee and is expected to go before the full Board in December or January. 
The Newton Democratic City Committee consists of over 330 politically active individuals who are City residents, Democratic voters and activists. Learn more at www.newtondems.org. For more information contact Shawn Fitzgibbons, chair of the NDCC, at (617) 997-2577 or shawn@newtondems.org