Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Tim Murray Makes it Official

From the DDemDispatch and now to the Boston Globe comes the news that yes, Tim Murray really is running for Lt. Governor.

From the announcement:

"For too long, there has been a disconnect and lack of understanding (at the Statehouse) of the issues and problems facing our municipalities," Murray told the Telegram & Gazette of Worcester Tuesday following a city council meeting.

There's a great discussion at BlueMassGroup about the Lt. Gov race. Go on now, git.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Lt. Governor Race - Tim Murray is in

I've heard talk for months that Worcester Mayor, Tim Murray was going to toss his hat into the Lt. Governor race, but I haven't see any official announcement anywhere and there's no notice on his website.

There's more speculation in this month's Worcester Magazine, but this speculation has more to do with Chris Gabrieli than Tim Murray.

GABRIELI PLAYS THE WAITING GAME: Most of the declared candidates for lieutenant governor are obscure long shots. But one possible entrant to the race has the Tim Murray camp awfully worried. Chris Gabrieli got the nomination four years ago; he’s wealthy, and he’s well-respected among both party insiders and the Beacon Hill wonk world. Last week a Springfield paper ran an item saying Gabrieli hadn’t ruled out a run. Via e-mail, spokesman Joe Ganley says the reporter “called me to ask me if Chris was running for governor. I told him that Chris had considered running for governor, but had decided not to. He then asked me if he was planning on running for lieutenant governor. I told him that he was not planning on running for lieutenant governor, but he then asked me if he would rule it out, and I said no he would not rule it out. He doesn’t rule anything out.” Sounds like a mayor we know.

Well, that sounds sufficiently coy, but in today's DDemDispatch there it is all in black and white: (I'm summarizing here) Confirmed or hoping to appear at the Westborough DTC Holiday party, none other than Tim Murray, candidate for Lt. Governor.

The DDemDispatch don't lie folks. Murray's in.

Tim Murray is a well liked, well known mayor and is very well connected in the state party. He will be a very formidible candidate. The Lt. Governor race just got more interesting.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

2nd Worcester Special Election

Cos at Blue Mass. Group has a great round up of the special elections coming up in February and the candidates running for those seats. I've written about the 2nd Worcester race before. There are 2 democrats running, which is great news, and I am happy to see that Michael Ellis is more receptive to equal rights than Knuuttila ever was which is also great news.

Having said that, I do think that progressives out here in No. Central Massachusetts have a lot of work to do in terms of organizing a farm team of candidates from local towns that make up the various senate and state rep districts so that when these openings occur we have a list of potential candidates ready to go. Right now all we can hope for in 2nd Worcester is for a democrat to hold the seat and that is a good thing, but the idea that we have democrats running on the positions of being "very conservative" and concerned with "the plight of the small business owner." without any mention of health care, education and affordable housing is disappointing.

It sounds more to me like "Republican-lite."

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

I woke up this morning to a winter wonderland! It is snowing here in No. Central Mass - hooray! My 13 year old snowboarding son is in his glory. Keep your fingers crossed that Wachusett Mountain opens tomorrow, or I'll be hauling him and his buddies off to NH.

One thing I'm thankful for this year is no hockey tournament! We get to feast and loaf and watch movies all day. Good times.

I hope you and yours have a wonderful holiday. I'll leave you with a list of 20 things to be thankful for from American Progress.

American Progress has a good gratitude list that doubles as a quick look back at some recent developments:

This Thanksgiving, progressives have a lot to be thankful for. Here’s our list:

We’re thankful for our country’s troops.

We’re thankful for Rep. Jack Murtha for showing us it’s patriotic to speak your mind.

We’re thankful for 90 Senators who stood up to Vice President Cheney to say that torture is not an American value.

We’re thankful for 79 Senators who demanded the Bush administration detail a plan for Iraq.

We’re thankful that Sen. Bill Frist is not our physician.

We’re thankful for the generosity of Americans, who raised some $2.3 billion to help victims on the Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina.

We’re thankful all Americans can still rely on Social Security.

We’re thankful for American Airlines, Verizon, and Nissan, who all agreed to Drop the Hammer.

We’re thankful for Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald for conducting a “very serious” and “very dignified” investigation.

We’re thankful for good friends.

We’re thankful for the success of progressive talk radio.

We’re thankful to the voters of Colorado for putting priorities like education, health care, and fiscal sanity over right-wing ideology.

We’re thankful for autumn. Out West, where some PR readers vacation, the aspens will already be turning. They turn in clusters, because their roots connect them.

We’re thankful Judy Miller won’t be reporting on Iran’s WMD program for the New York Times.

We’re thankful we don’t live in Samuel Alito’s America…yet.

We’re thankful for, for exposing (in such ironic fashion) ex-FEMA chief Michael Brown’s checkered past at the International Arabian Horse Association.

We’re thankful for Tai Shan, the National Zoo’s newest celebrity.

We’re thankful we’re not Scott McClellan.

We’re thankful for the residents of Dover, Pennsylvania for doing the right thing for their kids’ education. (Don’t listen to Pat, we’ve got your back.)

And last but not least: We’re thankful to the Progress Report readers for their tips, energy and support.

Happy Thanksgiving! – The Progress Report Team.

You can sign up to get the Progress Report Newsletter here.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Brew and Stew III

Saturday, November 19th was the third annual Brew & Stew in Framingham. This yearly event began as an "Inaugural Bawl" in 2002 as a chance for disappointed democrats to get together and scream into the wind after the disappointing election. There is always good company, and candidates present, so it's always a great time. I got to the Tin Alley Grill a bit later than I would have liked because, as usual, I was out all afternoon doing that hockey mom thing (which I love too!) So I ran home, scrubbed up, and got to the event about 1 hour into the festivities. The place was packed! I managed to elbow my way up to the bar and got my drink (O'Douls - hey, I'm drivin'!) , and commenced mingling.

Jarrett Barrios, candidate for Middlesex DA
and his supporters had set up a campaign headquarters in the corner. His supporters were handing out stickers. Jarrett was the only candidate that night that actually dressed for the event. There were plenty of ties and shirtsleeves, but Jarrett was very nicely turned out in business casual, with leather jacket. I like Jarrett. He's a very effective speaker and he has some good campaign ideas.

I ran into some folks I know from the Rt.495/MetroWest Meetup so I chatted with them for a bit before the bar went into Karaoke mode. It was so L-O-U-D!!! I felt like I was screaming at people.

Next up was Tim Murray, Mayor of Worcester. (and candidate for Lt. Gov?) I had a chance to speak to him about the BlogLeft Conference that will be held in Worcester December 10th. He was proud that we selected the Tatnuck Booksellers in Worcester to hold the conference at and is pleased to hear that the blogsphere in Massachusetts is so organized.

I had a chance to speak to Lt. Governor candidate Sam Kelley. By now the karaoke was very loud, so basically I just screamed at him and congratulated him on his new website and blog. I also talked to him about the BlogLeft Conference and he asked some very good questions about what type of program we were planning.

Getting up at the crack-of-too-damn-early for hockey was starting to catch up with me, and I had a 45 minute drive home ahead, so I made my final lap around the room and bumped into Mike Festa, candidate for Middlesex DA and his wife Sandy. I've never talked to Rep. Festa before, so we talked a bit about his background as a prosecutor. I planned to see him speak in Harvard the following night, so I didn't ask too many questions. He and his wife are very nice folks and they are supporting Deval Patrick, so that makes them even nicer.

Before I left, I spoke with someone (I know, I hate blind quotes too) who is working on Bill Galvin's unannounced campaign. I'm not exactly an expert on political matters, so I always try to get an insider's view on what is happening. What I'd like to know is, what is the advantage in waiting so long to toss your hat in? Is Galvin waiting to see if Romney will run or not, and really what difference does that make if the state GOP runs Romney or Healey? I got no answers, other than if Galvin decides to run, he has such a good organization and plenty of money that it doesn't matter how late he announces. That may be so, but does he expect folks that are already committed to certain candidates to shift their support to him if he decides to run? This makes no sense to me at all.

Overall, it was a very nice evening, but very L-O-U-D!

The scene in Harvard the next night was much more subdued. But you'll have to go to the next post to read that.

Candidates Night in Harvard, MA

The Middlesex & Worcester Dems sponsored a candidates night Sunday, November 20th at the Harvard Public Library with Mike Festa and Cam Kerry (Yeah, as in John Kerry's brother)

First up was Middlesex DA candidate Mike Festa.

Mike Festa is a four-term state representative from Melrose. He is running on his state rep experience as well as his experience as a prosecutor and private attorney. He spoke about the importance of crime prevention, which was to be expected, but what impressed me was his focus on rehabilitation, not just incarceration. He spoke about how the drug treatment budget in Massachusetts has been savaged, and how the state is good at locking people up, but not as good a making sure that those people get treatment to ensure that they don't re-offend. He supports the idea that prosecutors should be able look at treatment and sentence alternatives. That is a very welcome change I think from the old "lock 'em up and throw away the key" attitude that some prosecutors have. Very progressive. I was impressed.

Next up was Cam Kerry, candidate for Secretary of State. Yeah, I know, but he says he's running, so there ya go.

Cam Kerry is currently a lawyer, and litigation partner with Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky & Popeo. He has worked on political campaigns since he was a teenager. The cornerstone of his campaign is to ensure fair, honest, open elections, which having worked on his brother's many campaigns, including John Kerry's failed presidential bid, I'm sure he knows a thing or two about that. Cam Kerry helped develop the Citizen's Information Service He supports same day registration as a tool to get more people to vote and would like to create a "Citizen Participation Service" to encourage more people to get involved in the voting and elections process.

Cam Kerry is a very thoughtful speaker. He really seemed to take a moment and consider what he is saying, rather than just spit the words out.

I would urge all voters to get to a speaker meeting and see the candidates in person and talk to them, and ask them their positions on things. Folks in my town committee are always impressed that I've spoken to this candidate, or that candidate, but honestly the candidates are more than happy to talk to voters and they want to, but voters need to meet them halfway and go to candidates meetings or other events. That can help you make an informed decision before you vote.

That's another good reason to subscribe to the DDemDispatch

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Monday Night Lazy Blogging

I am working on a wrap-up of Stew & Brew and Mike Festa and Cam Kerry in Harvard last weekend, but I need to head out to my monthly DTC meeting, so that's not getting done until tomorrow.

Meanwhile, check this blog out, it's a trip.


From the faq:

Q: What's the deal with DriveTime?

A: Same as all my deals: "Volume, volume, volume!" (tip of the hat to 80's Letterman). The deal is I'm doing a show from my car as I commute to and from work.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

2nd Worcester - Now We're Down to 3 Candidates

Hawke drops out.

Mark Hawke, grant administrator in Gardner and one of two Republican candidates for the state rep seat vacated in October by Brian Knuuttila dropped out of the race on Thursday citing restrictive election laws for city employees as his reason for the withdrawl.

"(State law) doesn't allow me to run as strong as a campaign that I want," Hawke said.

He said that state law would limit the amount of campaign literature that could be produced in his name and prohibit him from talking about the campaign during the hours City Hall was open.

Hawke intends to endorse the other Republican candidate Jonathan Dennehy.

Must See TV

So didja see the House of Representitives explode last night on C-SPAN? Yes, it's true this hockey mom has no life, to the extent that yes, you can find me some Friday nights sitting home watching C-SPAN. The watch and post over at dKos was pretty interesting too. It's not everyday that a Congresscritter, in this case GOP harpy Jean Schmidt - and btw thanks, Ohio for electing this happy lady, openly call a fellow representitive a coward. It has to be see to be believed.

slow loading wmv format

delicious QT format courtesy of Think Progress

Rob in Baltimore at AMERICAblog sums it up nicely:

My take-away from tonight was also how the Democrats worked together as a party. Unlike the Republicans whose little egos all needed to be fed, parceled out in 30 second and two minute speaking opportunities, Democrats let one man speak for them. They came together and can go home to their districts proud that they finally spoke up and gave voice to the 60% of this country that sees that the Iraq policy is a failure and who have longed to hear our government recognize that mistakes have been made and they need to be remedied.

Yes! More of this, please! It was moving to see Murtha take on all comers, but it was even more moving to hear so much passion in the House especially the democrats, who seem to have located their ovaries and removed the shrink-wrap. I was proud to see 2 of our MA Congresscritters singled out in the coverage.

"This is a personal attack on one of the best members, one of the most respected members of this House and it is outrageous," said Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass.

And Marty Meehan, who has been on my nerves this last week with this whole H.R. 4194 thing, gained back some points with me with this comment after Schmidt had her meltdown:

"You guys are pathetic. Pathetic," yelled Rep. Marty Meehan, D-Mass.

Yeah, what Marty said.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Hey, what's going on this weekend?

Did you know that this Saturday you can hear Deval Patrick discuss education at the Newton Public Library?

Did you know that you could meet and greet other democratic activists at Brew & Stew III in Framingham?

Did you know that? You knew if you subscribe to the DDemDispatch. What's the DDemDispatch? It's a weekly listing of all the democratic events that are happening all across Massachusetts.

Plus... funny political jokes. What's not to love?

What are you waiting for? Subscribe already!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Now This is a Race!

The open Rep. seat in the 2nd Worcester district is turning into quite a contest.

Gardner City Assistant Solicitor Robert L. Rice makes it an even 2 Democratic candidates, along with Michael F. Ellis, also of Gardner and 2 Republican candidates, Mark Hawke of Gardner and Jonathan Dennehy of Ashburnham in the running for the state representitive seat vacated by Brian Knuuttila in October.

Rice is not sharing any information on his views just yet:

Rice did not want to go into further details about his views on public safety, education, or other possible campaign issues until the debates. Debates have not yet been scheduled for the race.

"I think those are issues that require a full airing at a debate," he said. "I'm sure there will be differences."

Even with such a short campaign schedule, I hope there will be a debate. It will be interesting to see where the democratic candidates stand on issues. This area is not known for it's progresssive candidates, but I hope 2nd Worcester ends up with a state rep that is more in line with mainstream Massachusetts voters than Knuuttila was.

Monday, November 14, 2005

We have a candidate!

sco at .08 has the scoop (as usual, you have to get up p-r-e-t-t-y darn early to scoop sco!) on candidates for Rep. in the 2nd Worcester district. In the comments on sco's blog, PatrickA gives us the results of his research into dems who are running and he names Michael F. Ellis of Gardner, who is the President and CEO of the Gardner Chamber of Commerce.

I'm just glad to hear that someone is running. I would have hated to see that seat given up without a challenge.

Friday, November 11, 2005

What's that suckin' sound?

It's the sound of the vacuum created by a democratic state rep resigning, and no dem running in his place.

As reported by BlueMassGroup, Rep. Brian Knuuttila (D-Gardner) resigned October 23 to become general counsel for the Worcester County Jail. Since that time, I have been making discreet, and not so discreet inquiries to find out who was going to run for that seat and I came up with exactly NOBODY.

What's it to me? I don't even live in that district, but lemme tell you as someone who lives in a district represented by a republican, every democrat who lives in North Central Massachusetts, particularly progressive democrats should care because this is how the "Republican Creep-In" continues.

Sure enough... guess who's running for Rep.

A nearly two-year veteran of the Board of Selectmen is ready to seek a higher office -- the empty state representative's seat.

Board Chairman Jonathan Dennehy, 36, pulled nomination papers late Wednesday and needs 150 signatures by Nov. 29 to officially enter the race for the seat vacated in October by Brian Knuuttila of Gardner.

"I want to be a legislator, not a politician," Dennehy said in an interview Wednesday night. "It may seem like a cliché, but to me it is a very important statement. I judge myself on what I do and what I say."

Sounds pretty good until you get to this part

Dennehy, a Republican, said that as a state representative, he would want to help towns take on large public works projects.


DNC Chairman Howard Dean talks about our party having a 50 state strategy, the Mass state party would do well to heed that and see to it that we have a 151 state district strategy (or whatever, insert your math here) Does the MDP not read their own reports?

From page 2

4. Mitt Romney established his victory by beating Shannon solidly in the Boston suburbs and the suburban and rural areas outside of the Boston with only a few areas of strength for Shannon which probably were due to strong local organizations. (emphasis mine)

Areas of strength. Strong local organizations.
Areas of strength. Strong local organizations.
Areas of strength. Strong local organizations. Learn it. Live it!

The state committee members who represent this area of Central Massachusetts better get their shit together and soon. I know for a FACT that there are people in the town committees in this area who have been trying to organize this area and they have received NO RESPONSE from those state committee members. None. Zip. ZERO.

Areas of strength. Strong local organizations.
Areas of strength. Strong local organizations.
Areas of strength. Strong local organizations.

Election calendar
The deadline to file papers is December 5, 2005. A Primary, if needed will be January 10, 2006. Special Election will be held February 7, 2006.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Rt.495/MetroWest Dem Wrap-up

The Rt.495 MetroWest Dem meet-up was held Tuesday night in Boxborough. The agenda included a discussion of ideas to for increasing attendance at local DTC meetings. This subject is of particular interest to me because I am always looking to get more democrats to attend our DTC meetings. I was surprised to learn that in Townsend we get more folks in attendance than Carlisle or Littleton. I was even more surprised to learn that Littleton only holds DTC meetings QUARTERLY (?!) How the hell do they get anything done?

Next on the agenda was a discussion about the caucuses to be held in February and the rule changes that came about as a result of the Dukakis-McGovern Commission (with thanks to BlueMassGroup)

These are some of the rule changes that we discussed:

Reduction in Number of Delegates/Alternates
The number of delegates/alternates is fixed according to the percentage of registered democrats in a city/town/ward. In order to make the convention more manageable, the number of delegates have been reduced by 1 or more delegates and most city/town/wards will seat 2 alternates. Some smaller towns will only seat 1 alternate.

We must be doing okay here in Townsend because we will be seating 4 delegates (including ex-officio) and 2 alternates. I was frankly surprised when I learned this as I expected that Townsend would get 2 delegates and 1 alternate.

Delegate Challenges Must be Received in Advance
Delegate challenges must be received a week in advance (I believe that's the time limit, my notes are a bit spotty here) For example, you can challenge a delegate if you can prove that they supported a candidate of another party (Republican or Green or whatever) in the last 2 election cycles.

Universal Ballot
Up to three races will be included on each ballot to streamline the voting.

No Delegate Switching after 1st Ballot
Delegates must stay for the entire convention for all votes. If a delegate is late and an alternate is switched in, the alternate will vote for the entire convention.

Votes Will be Held in Reverse Order With the Lowest Office First.
The Governor vote will be held last. I guess to make sure that delegates/alternates stick around and vote for the whole thing.

All Statewide Candidates Must Get 15% on First Ballot
Candidates must get 15% of delegate votes on the first first ballot in order to continue on to the primary.

Winner of the Convention
The winner of the convention with the majority of delegate votes will be listed first on the primary ballot with a note of endorsement from the MDP.

There was a very lively discussion about the hows and whys of the decisions from the Dukakis/McGovern commission. I'm not positive of the motives behind the changes. The feeling I get from what I hear from people I see at meetings like this one and at DFA meetings I go to is that there was a lot of backlash after the last nominating convention. Many felt the convention went on too long, and some folks saw some of the deals made between delegate slates for particular candidates as some sort of shananigans. I don't think there is anything wrong with having a convention strategy, as long as the rules are followed.

There was also a very lively discussion about the idea that democrats should come out of the convention unified behind a single candidate without the need for a primary like many think the Republicans do, but I personally don't hold that opinion. I understand the need for party unity, but I don't think that limiting our choices is a good idea, and I certainly don't think that the decision to select a candidate should come down to a few hundred delegates. I don't love the 15% on the first ballot rule, but at least it gives grassroots campaigns like Deval Patrick, and Robert Reich before him the opportunity to get into the process and then let the people decided, not just "party" people.

The Rt.495/MetroWest Dem
Meetup group meets on the second Tuesdsay of the month, either for an informal information meeting or speaker meetings. The next speaker meeting will be held Sunday, November 20, 2005 in Harvard MA, at the Harvard Public Library. The featured speakers will be Mike Festa, candidate for Middlesex DA and Cameron Kerry, brother of Senator John Kerry (and possible candidate for Secretary of State?)

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Deval Patrick visits FSC and I visit Deval Patrick HQ

Deval Patrick was in Fitchburg, Friday, November 4th touring Fitchburg State College.

"I'm so convinced that the same old thing isn't going to get us anywhere, because it hasn't gotten us anywhere," he told the Sentinel & Enterprise Friday before touring Fitchburg State College. "Massachusetts is at a very, very important crossroad, where we are having to choose between yesterday's leadership and tomorrow's."

I am DELIGHTED to see Deval Patrick make an appearance out here in Central MA and even more delighted to see the Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise cover it. I think folks out here would vote for Deval Patrick, if they only had any clue who he is. Getting into the local newspapers is a start. I would like to see him come out here and talk to voters also and that's being worked on too, but I'm getting ahead of myself here.

Saturday morning, myself and Michelle C., who is the chairperson of the Groton DTC, and Senate District Coordinator for DP drove down to the Deval Patrick Campaign Headquarters in Charlestown to learn more about the upcoming February 2006 caucuses to elect delegates for the 2006 Nominating Convention in Worcester.

It was great to know that there were so many of us, that the campaign had to split us up into three groups that met at different times. Michelle and I took the early shift. The discussion was moderated by my favorite state party member, Kate Donaghue, who has truly, an encyclopedic knowledge of how the caucuses work. Most of the 30+ people in attendance had participated in a platform convention caucus before, but not a nominating caucus (myself, included) so we had a lot to learn. There was so much information, and great discussion that the time just flew by.

We had to head out so the next group could begin, but Michelle wanted to talk to Nancy Stolberg, state field coordinator about getting Deval out to our area to have a chance to meet with local voters. Michelle made her pitch, and I backed her up. This area, beyond I-495 has a lot of votes for Deval, but he needs to come out here and campaign for them. We talked about a few dates, but it looks like in mid-January we'll be having a visit from Deval Patrick. I can't wait! I think that folks out here will really respond to Deval's message about getting and keeping good jobs, educating families and health care.