We’re Off and Running – An Act to Invest is Filed

Yesterday, Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz and Representative Jim O’Day refiled their bill – An Act to Invest in Our Communities 

Members of the community spoke movingly about the impact that cuts to vital programs and services have had

“As a Bristol Community College student and someone who is reliant upon public transportation, I have to say that the lack of adequate funding has not made the last few years easy for me,” said Sapphire Castillo, a New Bedford resident who said the local buses stop running at 6 p.m.

Vivian Moulden, 75, of Springfield told a crowd that the state’s 5.25 percent income tax and other taxes should be hiked to pay for home care for the elderly, health care and education.

“As a community we must do better,” said Moulden, a grandmother of six, retired health care worker from Baystate Medical Center in Springfield and member of the Massachusetts Senior Action Council.

This is a top priority for Progressive Massachusetts and we are currently supporting it’s passage by collecting signatures on apetition to the State House and putting together delegation visits to elected officials.

If you are interested in helping in any capacity, contact Ben Wright at grassroots@progressivemass.com.

Learn more about the Campaign for Our Communities

 

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An Act to Invest – Sign Our Petition

We need to invest in our communities and keep middle-class families working and earning! By allowing us to invest in education, innovation and infrastructure, The Act to Invest in Our Communities proposal builds on our state’s strengths, making life better for our families today and into the future. By asking more from high income households and investors who received large windfalls from the Bush tax cuts, while raising the personal exemption as a way to hold down the tax increase for middle-class families, the bill raises needed revenue primarily from those who can best afford to pay. With that revenue, we can keep the quality schools and services that make our state a good place to live and do business.

Sign Our Petition

Tell your State Senator and Representatives that you urge them to support, “An Act to Invest in Our Communities” so that Massachusetts will continue to have world-class education, innovation and infrastructure for all our residents now, and into the future.

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OUR FIRST PRIORITY – An Act to Invest in Our Communities

$7.26 Million.

That’s the revenue Holyoke lost in local aid since 2000.  And the shortfall is much worse in cities like Boston (-60%), Springfield (-40%), and Lawrence (-44%).

Look up how much your town has lost in local aid.

And during this time, libraries were shuttered, class sizes rose, fire stations closed and fewer police were keeping our communities safe.

Think it doesn’t impact our economy?  Check out this story about Fall River

Massachusetts has lost a total of $3 billion in revenues and fallen to 25 out of 50 states in taxes – below the median and only barely above (Mississippi and Kentucky) in its ability to invest – in education, infrastructure, transportation – all drivers of equitable economic growth.

Get the facts about our taxes you can share with your friends and neighbors

Next week progressive champions Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz and Representative Jim O’Day will file a bill – an Act to Invest in our Communities – legislation designed to raise nearly $1.5 billion dollars in additional revenue for our cities and towns – nearly half from an increase in investment taxes which mostly impacts the top 1%. And Progressive Mass will be standing with them.

Read about the bill

Stand with us and with investment in our communities.  Sign our petition to support our cities and towns. 

Tell the State House you believe in our future as a Commonwealth and the need to invest in the things that have always made Massachusetts a great place to live and work.

Share our petition with your friends and neighbors.  Tell them we need to invest in Massachusetts.

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[ARCHIVE] An Act to Invest in Our Communities

[Oops! you found your way here from an old link... please see our updated information on Act to Invest at this page: http://progressivemass.nationbuilder.com/campaign_for_our_communities_blog]

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We’re In This Together – Report from Somerville It’s Up to Us

Submitted by David Sloane

Progressive Mass collaborated with Cambridge-Somerville for Change and Progressive Democrats of Somerville to hold a post-election debrief for progressive activists, in and around Somerville.  Volunteers and organizers from  multiple campaigns got together at the First Church of Somerville and were joined by progressive leader State Senator Pat Jehlen.  We shared coffee, donuts and bagels, and talked about our experiences.  Active supporters of Elizabeth Warren, Obama-Biden, Somerville’s Question 4, and Mike Connolly’s campaign for State Representative gathered near Davis Square, eager to revisit our victories and consider what comes next.  While most folks were from Somerville, others came from Cambridge, Arlington, and Winchester.

We had some lively discussions about campaign priorities, how to get voters to the polls, and how to improve the voting process.

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Keeping up the Momentum – Report from Acton It’s Up to Us

Written by Tom Dionesotes

On a snowy Saturday afternoon, activists from across the Middlesex & Worcester district gathered together to connect, share their experiences from the campaign, and to start the conversation about the kind of progressive change we need on Beacon Hill and in Washington, DC. Longtime activist Tom Michelman generously opened up his home in Acton for our meeting.

While we all worked hard on the coordinated 2012 campaign, the biggest take-away from the meeting is that we want to keep the momentum going!

There were many familiar faces in the crowd along with some new ones, so we went around the room and introduced ourselves.

We shared our personal stories and meaningful moments from the 2012 campaign. These ranged from seeing high school and college students get involved in politics for the first time in their lives, to whole communities of senior citizens  that people thought were conservative but ended up strongly supporting Obama, Elizabeth Warren, and other candidates on the issues.

Next, we opened up the floor to an in-detail election debrief. There was lots of praise for the coordinated campaign and strong Get-Out-the-Vote effort that resulted in a record voter turnout of over 73%!

What Went Well:

Coordination among all the campaigns went smoothly, and activists from different towns came together to support each other in key precincts and cities during GOTV

Our local campaign office was a valuable resource for organizing and a common space that helped create strong bonds between staff, team leaders, and volunteers.

We won! Strong new progressives elected around the state, and the country.

Areas to improve:

How can we get better at organizing? Can we really know which organizing and voter contact tactics worked, and where? Need for feedback and metrics.

Effective training for volunteers early on, not just around GOTV.

Quicker way to plug people into their local office, and get the word out that the Boston-area HQ is the only place to volunteer for the campaign.

What’s next?.

Senator Jamie Eldridge noted that it’s critical to have a movement of progressives to always be pushing the envelope and holding elected leaders accountable. We as progressives can’t rest on our laurels after an election- the fight continues as the conversation turns to legislation and policy.

We collected feedback and had a conversation about the issues and policies we felt passionate about and we could make a difference on.

Issues: Massachusetts

New revenue for MA- across the board, not just MBTA and transportation related.

Foreclosure and housing reform/

Election reform, with a special emphasis on reducing the long lines at the polls.

Anticorruption and governance reform

Prison reform

Issues: Federal

Elizabeth Warren on Senate Banking Committee- our wish came true!

Fiscal cliff- changing the conversation away from “cuts and deficit reduction” towards “jobs and helping real people”.

Filibuster reform in the US Senate, to break some of the gridlock.

Next steps- we pledged to:

Stay connected! Both locally, and with like-minded progressives across Massachusetts. Connect on common issue we’re passionate about.

Stay informed! We’re collecting feedback on compact for a true commonwealth, to make sure progressives are on the same page to push forward a unified agenda for the next legislative session

Take action! Write letters to the editor in support of Filibuster reform, need for Washington to resolve the Fiscal cliff without inflicting painful cuts on those who have already suffered the most in this recession, and to support fair taxation for the wealthiest Americans.

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It’s Up to Us — ACTION!

This is a web version of the hand-out you received at one of the “It’s Up to Us” election debrief/celebration meetings, Dec 2012-Jan 2013. 

Thank you for keeping the momentum of 2012 going! By meeting with fellow progressives to organize and strategize for the coming year, we are building a long-term grassroots infrastructure, which is necessary to effect the change we want to see. We have a long arc to bend, and we are in this for the long haul! We have identified a few actions you can take in the near term:

Grow the progressive grassroots

Get connected and amplify the progressive message
We are stronger when we work together

Reach out to others

Join the Campaign for Our Communities

We must tell our elected officials that our communities need more revenue and more investment if we are to thrive. It is important to enlist our friends and neighbors in this effort.

What you can do:

  • Sign a postcard provided by Campaign for Our Communities or send a letter/email to your elected officials 
  • Organize a meeting with your State Rep or Senator– a small delegation is best. Tell them we need more revenue. Let us know when you reach out and if you get any response, so we can better advocate in the future!
  • Organize house parties or canvasses to tell your neighbors about the Campaign – walk lists available from Progressive Mass
  • Write a letter to the editor for your local paper – advocate for more local aid 

Make a difference in Massachusetts

Help us seize the opportunity opened by the 2012 election. The message of the election is loud and clear: The people of Massachusetts said that it’s time to invest to create jobs and opportunity for the middle class and for people striving to enter the middle class. And we must translate this mandate into reality at the state level, here in Massachusetts.

How you can help:

  • Tell us what you think of our draft Compact for a True Commonwealth – http://progma.us/compact1
  • Circulate The Compact for A True Commonwealth to your network with an email announcing your support.
  • Organize house parties or canvasses to tell your neighbors about the Compact, our values and goals. Walk lists available from Progressive Mass
  • Learn more at our True Commonwealth Conference – details will be posted soon at our website

Have an impact at the national level

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Ideals Aren’t Enough – We are Taking Action (Needham)

From Stacie Shapiro, who hosted an “Up to Us” Meeting on Sunday – Needham grassroots volunteers worked hard in the 2012 campaign, for Barack Obama in New Hampshire, and locally, for Elizabeth Warren and Joe Kennedy. We knocked on doors, made phone calls, held signs, wrote letters, and played an active role in getting our democratic candidates elected.

Sunday, we met again to discuss how we can keep the momentum going and find ways to stay engaged in the political process now that the election is over.

We shared our experiences from the campaign, and although there were many different highlights, a few themes were prominent:

Personal interaction with voters as well as organizers was critical.

  • The grassroots organizers for the different campaigns (Needham for Obama, Needham for Elizabeth Warren) were welcoming and made it easy to get involved and stay involved.

  • The physical presence of the Democratic Town Committee Headquarters was a huge help in keeping volunteers connected with the campaign.  It allowed for more personal interaction with other volunteers and organizers.

  • Volunteers felt that the one-on-one interaction with voters, at the doors and on the phones, was powerful and persuasive.  Wearing buttons, holding signs and displaying lawn signs helped to spark up conversations with friends, neighbors and passers by.

Engaging new voters and new volunteers in the electoral process serves us well now and in the future.

Activists!

  • Voter outreach in underrepresented communities was both rewarding and yielded great electoral results.  It proved that we still have a voice as long as we show up to the polls.

  • In Needham, a few high school students, with the help of Progressive Mass training and Harmony Wu, set up a campaign team that grew into a powerful force with 50 students campaigning on Election Day! We were all very inspired by the hard work and commitment of the students and hopeful about what this means for the future of civic engagement.

(For a fuller accounting of “what worked/what didn’t,” see our notes from the evening)

After the election debrief, we discussed advocating for issues on the state level.  As many as 6,000 bills will be filed in the MA Legislature next month.  Most will not be controversial, but it’s critical that we have a system that alerts us to those we need to speak-out on, either defensively against bad bills, or as advocates for great policy that needs our grassroots support to survive the political system.

We seem to be in agreement that all the issues we care about; health care, education, jobs, MBTA and much more, hang in the balance of the revenue crisis, and that progressive revenue reform is something we could likely all get behind.  We are hopeful that a bill will be filed in the current session that supports progressive revenue reform, much like the bill “An Act to Invest in Our Community,” from the last legislative session.  Some of us are already preparing to advocate for it with our legislators, and making plans to educate the community through grassroots outreach and community presentations.

There is much more to discuss, and people are enthusiastic about keeping things going. We understand that it’s not enough to have ideals and be passionate about them, we need to act upon them and turn them into policy.

Great discussionsWe’ll be getting together soon after the new year to share more thoughts and ideas, and come up with a strategy for moving forward. We welcome new partners in our work! For Needham area activists whom we haven’t met yet, you can get plugged in by signing up at Progressive Mass.  Also, contact us at (NeedhamGrassroots@massroots.org) and we’ll make sure to invite you to the next meeting!

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Compact for A True Commonwealth


The message of the last election is clear.  The people of Massachusetts said that it’s time to invest to create jobs and opportunity for the middle class and for people striving to enter the middle class. Here in Massachusetts, we must translate this mandate into reality at the state level.

Progressive Mass has spent some time working with several progressive legislators, drafting our view of what this election means for Massachusetts. We intend to use this document as a basis for setting our legislative priorities over the course of the next session. It is a first attempt to translate our belief statements into policy.

Tell us what you think!

At the Crossroads: The Compact for A True Commonwealth

With our overwhelming vote for Barack Obama and Elizabeth Warren, on November 6, 2012, the people of Massachu­setts declared that it’s time to invest, to create jobs and opportunity for the middle class and for people striving to enter the middle class. We pronounced the old scheme—cutting taxes on the wealthy and creating special tax breaks for insiders—a failure. We affirmed, as President Obama and Elizabeth Warren have argued, that the economy must grow from the middle outwards. We have no more tolerance for warmed over “trickle-down” policies.

Investing in our economy from the middle out is the national mandate for President Obama in his second term and Elizabeth Warren in her first. And it is the mandate for the Commonwealth, too: we must enact these policies and strengthen this vision at the local and state level.

We already know how to do it: after World War II, we built the strongest economy and proudest middle class in history by investing in healthy communities and education, developing infrastructure, and partnering public investment with private industry.

Massachusetts has the economic engine, creative and intellectual capital, environment, historic models, energy and inspiration to reinvest in, re-create and grow a true Common Wealth. We can build more opportunity and more equity, better prospects and greater justice. We can return to our foundational ideals that shaped our state and then defined our nation. We can use the power and strength of our economy to shape a better society.

We do this by investing in people

  • Deepening our commitment to affordable, first rate, public education for all children, regardless of where they live
  • Recommitting to making public higher education affordable
  • Valuing jobs that support families, their security and stability by paying a living wage
  • Training workers in skills for the good paying jobs we have

We do this by investing in jobs and the middle-class

  • Supporting businesses and entrepreneurs who remain rooted in our communities—not by offering advantages and incentives to corporations that extract our wealth and resources
  • Recognizing and developing our unique competitive advantages, growing the industries that will give us advantages for decades to come, ensuring that our regulatory permitting processes foster small businesses and start-ups
  • Valuing Labor’s critical role in decisions about corporate governance, social priorities, working conditions and wages

We do this by investing in infrastructure

  • Modernizing our public transportation system and ensuring the funding is adequate to keep fares affordable
  • Improving roadways, bridges and digital highways, drivers of economic growth
  • Maintaining our role as a global leader in research, technology and clean 
  • Reorienting our thinking, spending today’s dollars on tomorrow—rather than spending tomorrow’s dollars today

We do this by fairly and adequately
funding our government

  • Updating our tax code to reflect today’s economy
  • Unapologetically raising the revenue we need to grow and prosper as a Commonwealth
  • Raising this new revenue primarily from highest earners and shielding working families and seniors from increased burden

We can do this

We have done it before. With leadership, political courage and grassroots advocacy, we will do it now, again.

For over 200 years, we have led the nation, always by investing in the future and with a deep sense of obligation to democratic self-determination and the community good:

  • Our state government and Constitution became a sturdy model for the nation
  • We created the first public park in our new country, and we called it Boston Commons
  • We founded the first public schools, built the first public transportation system
  • We were first legalize marriage for all, the first to offer health care insurance for all

This Compact is offered in the spirit of these inspiring firsts. We aim to be both pragmatic and idealistic, detailing specific ways to realize a common vision for our Commonwealth. We call on our legislators to make 2012’s promise a reality—and on our fellow citizens to insist that they do.

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It’s Up to Us

The election is over and progressives throughout the state are celebrating – and enjoying a brief respite.  But activists and organizers across the Commonwealth say they are anxious to stay involved.  They want to see the results of the election mean something – in Washington and on Beacon Hill.

In between elections comes the hard part-–actually governing. “Politics” and ideas become actual legislation-–or not. An organized grassroots -–so important and influential in campaigns-– can also be a powerful force in affecting legislation.

Help make our victories mean something.  See if there’s a meeting in your area (more are coming!)–and if there isn’t, host one in your community – fill out the form below!

ORGANIZERS' KIT 

BEFORE THE MEETING:

Review the Agenda and Print Out Materials:

AFTER THE SESSION:

  • Email your attendees any notes and follow-ups from meeting, including the link to the web-version of the “Take Action” hand-out: [http://progma.us/uptousACTIONS]
  • Be in touch with Progressive Mass organizers to share how it went and discuss what’s next!

OTHER UP TO US POSTS 

 

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