Team Needham Goes to the Senior Center

Last week, our crew made our first big move to encourage our State Representative, Denise Garlick, to actively support An Act to Invest in Our Communities


Team Needham visits Rep. Denise Garlick about ‘An Act to Invest in Our Communities.”

On Monday, our delegation of Needham residents — small business owners, health care professionals, educators, parents and grandparents  – descended upon the Needham Senior Center, where Rep. Garlick  holds office hours the first Monday of every month from 10:45-11:30.

As always our Representative greeted us with warmth and sincere interest in hearing what we had to say on behalf of tax reform. We talked about how our municipalities have suffered throughout the past 12 years. Massachusetts tax cuts  in the late 90‘s going forward, along with a recession, have resulted in devastating cuts to crucial programs and services, and devastating job losses for so many in our communities.

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Don’t Let Them Out-Organize Us

We knew this wouldn’t be easy. Though a straightforward and responsible notion — investing in our communities to keep them thriving — it was bound to meet opposition, after decades of trickle-down economics and “no new taxes” pledges. Even though President Obama and Senator Warren won handily with their unapologetic messages of our generational responsibility to fund our future, we still hear cries of “foul” from the same old quarters

And so, it is no surprise to us to learn that conservative forces are mobilizing against the proposals made by Governor Patrick and Campaign for Our Communities, to invest in our communities and keep Massachusetts a great place to live, work and raise a family.

[UPDATE: Opposition has come from much closer quarters -- read more]

Legislators are currently hearing from the opponents to the Governor’s plan and ‘Act to Invest‘. And, disappointingly, too many legislators are dragging their feet. We, as progressives, need to out-organize the opposition and put our grassroots activism to work for progressive legislation.

We need you to make your call to your legislators to stiffen their spines in support of progressive revenue reform, today. But even more, we need your leadership as advocates and community organizers to get others to do the same.

Make your call and record it below (help us track contacts!). And then call on us — we can help you organize your community forOur Communities. (Follow along with Needham’s efforts, on our blog.)

Ready to call?

Click here to look up your State Representative and Senator (why not add them to your address book now?).



Next--check if your legislator is already a co-sponsor 

The legislators listed below are CO-SPONSORS and do not need to be persuaded – you could, however, thank them for their advocacy, to help keep their support strong and unwavering!:


STATE REPRESENTATIVES: Andrews, Denise; Balser, Ruth; Basile, Carlo; Brady, Michael; Coakley-Rivera, Cheryl; Curran, Sean; Decker, Marjorie; Devers, Marcos; Farley-Bouvier, Tricia; Finn, Michael; Henriquez, Carlos; Keefe, Mary; Khan, Kay; Kocot, Peter; Lawn, John; Lewis, Jason; Malia, Elizabeth; Mark, Paul; O’Day, James; Pignatelli, William; Provost, Denise; Rogers, David; Sannicandro, Tom; Sciortino, Carl; Smizik, Frank; Story, Ellen; Sullivan, David; Swan, Benjamin; Toomey, Timothy; Vega, Aaron; Walsh, Chris

STATE SENATORS: Barrett, Michael; Candaras, Gale; Chang-Diaz, Sonia; Donnelly, Kenneth; Eldridge, James; Jehlen, Patricia; Rush, MichaelWelch, James; Wolf, Daniel

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Ed Markey for US Senate – Time to Get to Work

Progressive Massachusetts has endorsed Congressman Ed Markey for US Senate in the Democratic Primary. Now we need to make our endorsement count.

Many of our members are collecting signatures - at their supermarkets, their public libraries, their Democratic caucuses (find your caucus here).

Join an existing drive (listed on our website), or start your own (download signature papers).

But there’s more we can do. The campaign has asked us to coordinate new voter registration — but we need a team to help make this happen. 

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Compare Candidates: Ed Markey and Stephen Lynch

There are real differences between the Democratic candidates. Explore the vote record of Democratic candidates Congressmen Ed Markey and Stephen Lynch, on issues important to progressives.

Progressive Mass has compiled info to assist members in choosing whom to endorse. Overwhelmingly, Progressive Mass members chose to endorse Ed Markey for US Senate.

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Congressman Ed Markey for US Senate

Progressive Massachusetts is pleased to announce that it is endorsing Congressman Ed Markey for US Senate in the Democratic Primary.  Congressman Markey received more than 97% of the votes cast by the organization’s members.  This overwhelming support reflects, we believe, Congressman Markey’s leadership on issues that matter to our members – climate change, women’s rights and economic justice for working families.

“Congressman Markey will champion progressive policies in the Senate and will serve as true partner for Elizabeth Warren there,” said Deborah Shah, Executive Director.  “Too much is at stake at this time – investment in our future, immigration reform, global warming and energy independence, gun control.  We must have someone who will fight for our values and for the progressive solutions that are best for our nation and our Commonwealth.”

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Reformers as Regulars?

Reformers are investing in a politics that combines technical skill with grassroots energy. 
Can that formula transform the culture of “wait-your-turn’’?

Photo credidt: Tim Pierce. CLICK for more.


The thought-provoking piece by Robert Kuttner  in the Boston Sunday Globe describes the dynamics of Massachusetts Democratic politics, wherein an older party establishment can be resistant to the new ideas and tactics introduced by “outsiders” not used to party norms. Kuttner holds out hope that reformer/”insurgent” candidates like Deval Patrick and Elizabeth Warren can re-align the party’s mechanics, aims and candidates.

At Progressive Mass, we don’t see reformers and party politics necessarily to be at odds, but we believe that for real cultural shift within the party institution, there must be an outside  force applying some pressure. Indeed, this is one of the foundational impetuses of Progressive Massachusetts.

What do you think? Does Robert Kuttner describe the state of play accurately? How does an institution like a political party cultivate nimbleness? Do “outsider” efforts–including Progressive Mass–risk becoming part of the same cycle that turns energy and reform into “the way things are done”? (If so, how do we stop that?) Or is the “reformer as regular,” in Kuttner’s formulation, a real possibility?

Many of our most active Progressive Mass organizers and activists also work hard for the benefit of the Party, not only in winning elections (Patrick, Obama, Warren!), but also on Ward and Town Committees. Individually, people have been staking out ways to be both outsiders and insiders. Can we create a way to harness the best of party politics and outsider reform? (consider Kuttner’s earlier article, “Can Insiders be Outsiders?“–from 2001!)

Excerpts from this great article are below; read the whole thing here (it may be limited to subscribers for a few days).

Can state Democratic reformers transform the “wait your turn’’ culture?

[...]Despite the Democratic sentiments of voters, the institutional party has often seemed dysfunctional, decrepit, and not welcoming of new blood.

In this odd history, one fact screams out. The two big statewide winners of recent decades were complete outsiders.

We could be in a new era of what might be called the reformer as regular. The people attracted by Patrick and Warren are now increasingly the institutional party, and they are very good at politics. Even so, the legacy Democratic Party is still alive, and familiar faces are running for the Senate seat just vacated by John Kerry.

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Team Needham: Spontaneous Organizing at the Library

Funny thing happened today as we were organizing around ‘Act to Invest in Our Community.’ A couple of us were at the Needham Public Library (kids have a report to work on) and as we talked, people kept stopping by and saying hello–the library’s a great community scene! 

Friends from church, book group, the recent campaigns, our kids’ friends’ moms and dads–at one point we had a crowd of 5-6 people (shh!)! 

We shared what we were working on — and (no surprise, Needham is a progressive and politically active town) everyone wanted to know how they could help out:

“Calls? Letters to the editor? What do you need?”

(yesyes, and waddyagot?). Tomorrow we’re meeting our State Rep at the Senior Center. Will let you know how it goes! 

–Team Needham

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Lexington Revenue Calls

We need substantial new revenue to invest in our communities, restore a decade+ of budget cuts, and build a strong economy for the future. And we need to do it fairly. Your legislators NEED to hear from you! Lexington residents — use the script and information below to make a call to your State Senator. It takes just a couple of short minutes, but it really can help change the debate.

Need more info before you call? More resources here:

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Team Needham Takes on Taxes

We gathered at Needham’s Bagel’s Best.  Veterans of many past political campaigns–Obama ‘08, Obama ‘12, D’Alessandro ‘10, Warren ’12. We have lots of ideas and energy to take what we did during electoral campaigns and apply these tactics to issues.  We can elect great candidates — but we know policy is where the rubber hits the road!

We know Needham needs more revenue – to keep our schools, infrastructure and innovation strong.  But we also know it’s not easy to ask people to pay more – no one likes taxes.

That’s why we’re organizing.  Reaching out to our friends and neighbors.  Sharing our thinking.  Encouraging them to support ACT TO INVEST IN OUR COMMUNITIES.  Talking to our legislators... many of us haven’t done that before.  But we’re fired up and looking forward to reaching out to more people from our Needham-area grassroots campaign team.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.  #PMTeamNeedham

Oh, and, the bagels were great, too!

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Co-sponsoring Bills: Build Momentum to Pass Progressive Legislation

Part of the core mission at Progressive Mass is to ensure our elected representatives stand up for progressive principles and policies that make real differences in people’s lives. Right now, legislators have a simple and straightforward opportunity to reflect their views on important public policies — by adding their names as co-sponsors to key legislation.

Why It  Matters

Co-sponsoring a bill means, of course, that a legislator supports a bill, but it also can help build momentum for legislation to move through the process. Given the Legislature’s current challenges in passing many pieces of progressive legislation, this is important.

A bill with a large number of co-sponsors shows broad support for that legislation. Two years ago, the historic Transgender Equal Rights bill had a majority of legislators, both in the House and Senate, as co-sponsors — which played a critical role in convincing leadership to take up the bill, leading to its passage in 2011.

Bills for the 2012-2013 legislative session were filed on Friday, January 18, 2013. Legislators now have until this Friday, February 1, 2013, to co-sponsor a bill, with their names listed on the bill as co-sponsors.

As we speak, legislators are being contacted by constituents who want their representatives’ co-sponsorship on bills important to them. Though having a large number of co-sponsors doesn’t itself increase a bill’s likelihood to pass (See: Bottle Bill, 2011-2012 session!), it can help. Additionally, it is often a useful means to distinguish which legislators are strongly for a piece of legislation, and those who might need more persuasion from constituents. (Pro tip: If you ever notice that your legislator isn’t co-sponsoring a particular bill important to you, as a constituent, you might call to ask, “Why not?”)

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