Scorecards from 189th Legislative Session, House and Senate are finalized. Compare legislators’ last session records with your values and the district’s. See where there’s room for improvement or need for a thank you!
Engaged democracy doesn’t end at the doorknock!
To win on our big issues--such as single-payer health care, a living wage, a stable climate, a robust public infrastructure, a healthy democracy, among many others--we know we must elect politicians who align with our values.
To get progressive champions elected, we’ve learned the mechanics of grassroots campaigning -- to knock on doors, host house parties, make phone calls, enter data from sign in sheets, cut lists, recruit volunteers, GOTV.
It feels like victory when our progressive candidates win -- but our work must not end there.
We also have to hold them accountable to the principles and goals we share.
And if they aren’t fighting for our progressive goals, we need to organize and mobilize again. As presidents like FDR and Obama have said, we need to make our elected officials do the things that are difficult.
Words and Actions
Legislators’ votes are an obvious means to assess how hard they are working for our big, urgent long-term goals. But “How did my State Legislator vote on these issues I care about?” is, in Massachusetts, not easy to find out. If we don’t know, how can we hold them accountable?
The new Trump administration is rolling back progressive achievements and pushing a reactionary, racist agenda at a breakneck pace. The moral urgency of our goals has never been more acute.
In just his first week, President Trump launched assaults on the Affordable Care Act, clean water, reproductive rights, workers' rights, voting rights, immigrants’ rights, and indigenous rights. His cabinet appointees have been a Who's-Who of the American plutocracy. Trump’s Muslim ban embodied the dystopian fusion of inhumanity and chaos, ripping families apart and bringing us close to a constitutional crisis. Our electeds need to deploy more than just words. They need to use their power to enact policies that show a commitment to liberty and justice (social, economic, racial, environmental) for all. And that all means all.
Showing up at a rally or giving statements to the press is not a substitute for an actual record of taking hard votes on the critical matters before us. We need to see that Legislators' votes, their records, their tangible advocacy, meet their rhetoric. We need to be resolved to not demur politely, too, at evasions and excuses --the “hard job,” the “difficult districts,” the “complicated policy.”
Sunshine! Our Scorecard
The Progressive Mass “scorecard” shines some much-needed light on the State House.
As we have detailed before, not only does the Legislature have very few recorded--roll-called--votes, the roll calls themselves are arcane and hard to find (PDFs, separate files, vaguely labeled...), presuming you even knew what you were looking for to start with (unless it's your job, you won't).
A particular problem in recent sessions has been the trend, particularly in the House, of avoiding roll-calls votes as a matter of course.
This overall opacity is likely a feature, not a bug, protecting the entrenched and the complacent. The scorecard seeks to make the gap between words and deeds more difficult to maintain.
We pored through the votes from last session and chose the ones that we found most important in illustrating a legislator’s progressive credentials.
Onwards to the 190th
With veto-proof majorities in both Houses, Massachusetts Democrats cannot point to Governor Baker for excuses for their failure to pass the bold legislation we need to make our Commonwealth work for all of its residents (and for future generations).
Our Legislative Agenda, drawing from our voting members’ top concerns, is the first step in the next two-year legislative session (which started last month and runs through the next election for legislative seats in Nov 2018).
The very short window for co-sponsorship ends today at 5PM. The number of co-sponsors on a bill, while not a vote on the actual legislation, is an internally important marker to Leadership about elected members’ priorities. And it is part of setting the expectations and priorities for the next two years.
Our legislative agenda in full is here, and our action kit to contact your senator and representative is here--please act ASAP if you haven't already. With a 5PM *legislators'* deadline, the earlier in the day they hear from you, the more time there is to sway them. (Then walk a friend thru the steps to do it too!).
Progressive Mass is about year-round, multi-issue, statewide grassroots organizing. We research and inform on issues of importance to our goals as progressives, and coordinate actions with our members and community to act, using grassroots power, for maximum impact. Our success depends on connection and contribution by our community of progressives.