Newsletter December 2019

ORMA Newsletter December 2019

Inside this Issue: ORMA Priorities | News | Affiliates | Ways to Get Involved in the Revolution

Battery Wharf Hotel Local 26 Strike Support Rally – One Job Should Be Enough

Photo of Senator Nina Turner on the Battery Wharf Picket Line November 16, 2019.

Senator Nina Turner on the Battery Wharf Picket Line November 16, 2019.

Following a very successful “Bernstorm” rally in Cambridge, MA, ORMA members and Bernie Sanders for President supporters joined Nina Turner, Ohio State Senator, and co-chair of Bernie’s 2020 Campaign, to stand in solidarity with striking Battery Wharf Hotel workers, (members of Unite-Here Local 26,) as they entered the 11th week of their strike. Addressing the crowd on behalf of Senator Sanders, Senator Turner celebrated the workers’ tenacity and the dedication that led to union victories at Harvard University and the Marriott Hotel chain, she said: “Systems don’t bend on their own, they bend to the will of a conscious people, the grassroots, and that is what you are doing!”

Senator Turner also joined the picket line at the entrance to the hotel as the strikers took up their signature chant, “One Job Should Be Enough” (#OneJobShouldBeEnough). ORMA members from MetroWest, Boston, Foxboro, and Worcester also had an opportunity to thank Nina for her work on the Our Revolution National Board before she joined the Sanders Campaign.

This strike is ongoing! If you live in the Boston area, the strikers would appreciate our continued support, they are on the picket line from 7am to 7pm, seven days a week. You can also donate to the Local 26 Strike Assistance Fund. For more information contact local26@bostonhotelunion.org.

ORMA Priorities and News

Rally for Rent Control & Tenant Protections MA State House, Oct. 29. 2019

Photo of Rally for Rent Control & Tenant Protections MA State House, Oct. 29. 2019.

Rally for Rent Control & Tenant Protections at MA State House, Oct. 29. 2019.

On October 29, housing justice advocates and elected officials came together for a rally at the MA State House to build the movement for tenant protections and to put local options for rent control back on the table in Massachusetts!

State Representatives Mike Connolly and Nika Elugardo were joined at a rally in support of enabling flexible, local options for tenant protections — a goal that would be accomplished by their bill H.3924, “An Act Enabling Local Options for Tenant Protections.”
Tenants have won major victories for rent control in New York, Oregon, and California so far this year. But now it’s time for Massachusetts to take action to protect tenants as well.

For those who did not see the news coverage, which seemed generally positive, there was a very strong turnout and OR Member and State Rep. Mike Connolly was the MC of the event. During the rally, OR members from Cambridge and Somerville got a shout out. There is now clearly some momentum in support of the proposals currently being promoted in the legislature for rent control but as several speakers at the rally noted, not nearly enough. And because it is the State that makes possible “home rule” on matters like rent control, this is an issue that all Our Revolution affiliates should be prepared to work on. It is important to remember that when the state-wide prohibition on Rent Control was voted in, only three communities in the State had active rent control ordinances in place. But because popular support prevented developer and real estate interests from defeating those ordinances locally, they took it to a state referendum asking residents of communities that did not have rent control to decide the fate of those that did. To bring rent control back we have to stand up and support it!

Some 25 years after a statewide ballot question banned rent control ordinances in Massachusetts, the economy, and the real estate market have both changed dramatically, but our tenant protection laws have largely remained the same. Time for change!

ORMA Endorses Senator Bernie Sanders!

Following in the footsteps of the national trend of Our Revolution groups around the country, ORMA has officially endorsed Senator Bernie Sanders for US President in 2020. In a democratic vote of OR membership across the Commonwealth it was confirmed that members by a substantial majority voted for ORMA to formally endorse Bernie.

This will, in all likelihood, be the last chance for Bernie to run for President due to his age–unless he wins in 2020! It also might be our last chance to vote for him unless he makes it through the Democratic primary election to the general election against Donald J. Trump. Despite what the political establishment tells us, Bernie’s 2016 and 2020 Presidential runs were historic by all accounts. The Democratic party has had to address issues it shied away from in the modern era including: Medicare-for-all, comprehensive environmental efforts such as the Green New Deal, income inequality, and free college at 2 and 4 year institutions to name a few of the most prominent. Elections are chances to try to promote areas of reform we would like to see in our government and our society. Bernie Sander’s unique campaigns have been a chance to do just that.

The specifics of the upcoming race will be key. In order to win delegates in Massachusetts Bernie will have to win 15% of the electorate in the state and in Congressional districts within it. At this point, according to the few polls done in the state, it is not clear that he will pass those all-important thresholds. Every vote will count across our state for Bernie to pass those thresholds and maybe even win our state outright! Time to get out the vote.

In fact, the Democratic Primary is shaping up to be very close, with Biden and Bernie as the current leaders of the pack–yet Bernie is doing especially well in early states such as Iowa and New Hampshire, he also is performing well among hispanics, young people, and voters with household incomes below $75,000, which bodes well for momentum going forward. Similar to the 2016 Democratic Primary, the 2020 election will come down to a delegate chase and the 15% threshold will matter greatly in contests across the country, including here in the Commonwealth. It is estimated that the election will be decided on turnout and the choices made by Democratic voters about whether they want to see progressive political leadership and “change” of the political system as promoted by Bernie, or a return to centrism and neoliberal establishment politics represented by Biden or Buttigieg. As turnout is key bring a friend, especially one who has never voted before, to the polls with you!

ORMA believes, as showcased in this endorsement, that Senator Bernie Sanders represents the best presidential candidate to lead the way on our stated priorities: Climate Change/Green New Deal; Medicare for All; Money out of Politics/End Citizens United; Affordable Housing; and Voting Reform.

ORMA Wants to Make Sure You Are All Ready to Vote!

Massachusetts Voter Information: Get Registered!

Massachusetts has semi-closed primaries — Bay Staters must register as a Democrat or undeclared to vote for in the upcoming Democractic Primary election on March 3 (Super Tuesday)! You can only vote in the Democratic or Republican primaries, not both.

Register here now!

Key: You must be registered by Wednesday, February 12!!

Not sure if you are registered, or what you’re registered as? Check your current registration status online.

Photo of Our Revolution Greater Fall River, Dec. 12.

Our Revolution Greater Fall River, Dec. 12 planning meeting on issues including a Martin Luther King Day potluck with the nearby women’s and children’s shelter invited, discussing the CD 4 Congressional race (Joe Kennedy’s seat), planning to support an Impeach and Remove Rally and more.

Affiliates

Interested in joining Our Revolution Massachusetts? Find a group near you on ORMA’s Affiliate page located on our website! Affiliates please submit your photos to the newsletter editors if you want your photos/stories of organizing to be in future newsletters.

ORMA Endorsed Candidates Fared Well in the 2019 General Election.

On November 5, Bay Staters went to the polls to vote in various local elections across the state. Although there were not as many elections, or choices in them, as seen in midterm and presidential elections the off-year elections have decisive impact on local State Legislature races, mayoral races, school board races, and also on local government initiatives. What were the outcomes from the endorsed ORMA candidates mentioned in the previous newsletter? Very good for ORMA–with 29 wins and only 12 losses. Impressive numbers considering ORMA endorsed candidates were going up against incumbents in many instances and the political establishment.

Our Revolution Cambridge, pursuant to a vote of the membership, endorsed the following candidates in the race for City Council: Dennis Carlone (won), Charles Franklin (lost), Patty Nolan (won), Ben Simon (lost), Jivan Sobrinho-Wheeler (won), Nicola Williams (lost) and Quinton Zondervan (won). Also in Cambridge, five candidates for School Committee fared well: Emily Dexter (won), Elechi Kadete (lost), José Luis Rojas Villarreal (won), David Weinstein(lost), and Ayesha Wilson (won).

Our Revolution Medford, pursuant to a vote of the membership, endorsed the following candidates in the races for City Council and School Committee seats in the city of Medford: City Council, Zac Bears (won), Steve Collicelli (lost), Nicole Morell (won), Curtis Tuden (lost); School Committee, Jenny Graham (won), Mea Mustone (won), and Paul Reseau (won). Also noteworthy were Zac Bears (see story below on his election) and Nicole Morell, who were non-incumbents winners and will be newcomers to the City Council.

Franklin County Continuing the Political Revolution, pursuant to a vote of the membership, endorsed Sheila Gilmour’s unsuccessful bid for Mayor of Greenfield. FCCPR endorsed current City Council member Norm Hirschfeld (won), and Taunette Green (lost). For School Committee FCCPR endorsed current School Committee member Glen Johnson (won).

ORMA Lowell is in formation stages as an affiliate but endorsed four candidates for City Council: Vesna Nuon (won), John Drinkwater (won), Ty Chum (lost), and Harry Kortikere (lost).

OR Somerville (ORS) endorsed mayoral challenger Marianne Walles for Mayor who lost, and seven candidates for City Council: City Councilor at Large – Will Mbah (won), Mary Jo Rossetti (won) and Bill White (won); City Councilors: Matt McLaughlin (Ward 1-won), JT Scott (Ward 2-won), Ben Ewen-Campen (Ward 3-won), Lance Davis (Ward 7-won). Also ORS endorsed six for School Committee: Emily Ackman (Ward 1-won), Ilana Krepchin (Ward 2-won), Sarah Phillips (Ward 3-won), Andre Green (Ward 4-won), Laura Pitone (Ward 5-won), Carrie Normand (Ward 7-won).

Congrats to the winners and thank you for running. Those that did not make it this time – you helped invigorate our democracy!

Overall, the results show ORMA affiliates are having an impact on electoral politics in MA. Despite battling the strong effect of incumbency in many instances, ORMA endorsed candidates were able to bring new faces to many municipal governments across the Commonwealth. Also, some of ORMA’s endorsed candidates were incumbents already, displaying that elections have cumulative effect–especially at the local level. Thus, getting more elected officials who support ORMA’s priorities in office overtime will go a long way to improving our democracy and making our state more inclusive and caring of its citizens regardless of their income, race, gender, or sexual orientation.

In the upcoming Democratic Primaries 2020 please let us know of your local affiliates actions on this front and anything else your affiliate deems newsworthy in the future. Happy organizing!

Our Revolution Cambridge Letter on 2019 Election Outcome

Directly from OR Cambridge: Our Revolution Cambridge looks forward to a 2020 that will make substantial progress in meeting long-standing needs of Cambridge residents including: reducing displacement of residents and expansion of tenant protections; achieving net-zero fossil fuel use in all city buildings and all new commercial buildings; protecting our tree canopy; improving our public transit and other infrastructure; protecting immigrants; creating municipal broadband; reducing the educational achievement/opportunity gap; achieving universal pre-kindergarten; and moving toward replacing standardized testing in our schools with authentic assessments. It is with this in mind that we welcome the election of our endorsed candidates: returning city councilors Dennis Carlone and Quinton Zondervan; new councilors Patty Nolan and Jivan Sobrinho-Wheeler; returning School Committee member Emily Dexter; and new committee members Jose Luis Rojas Villarreal and Ayesha Wilson. These candidates share our vision for the city and we look forward to collaborating with them on making this vision a reality.

We would also like to thank the candidates that we endorsed who did not win: City Council candidates Charles Franklin, Ben Simon and Nicola Williams, and School Committee Candidates Elechi Kadete and David Weinstein. They too share our values and raised important issues with their campaigns, and we look forward to continued work with them. We would also like to thank all the volunteers and candidates who worked with ORC this year on these campaigns.
Finally, we congratulate all the members of the newly elected City Council and School Committee and welcome the opportunity to work collaboratively with each on shared goals.

Zac Bears Wins Spot on Medford City Council, Credits Our Revolution Medford

Except from article by Bryan McGonigle, bmcgonigle@wickedlocal.com: There’s a movement in Medford that engulfed the city’s election Tuesday night, according to new City Councilor-elect Isaac “Zac” Bears, a political newcomer who won a seat on the Medford City Council with 5,208 votes. “I’m just honored and excited by the 5,200 people who elected me to the City Council,” Bears said Wednesday morning. “I’m especially happy that the ‘Our Revolution Medford’ slate won all the open seats on the City Council and the School Committee.”
Bears mention that “I think that’s what propelled us to victory, that the movement that we’re going to continue to build is one of the most powerful political forces in Medford, and we’re going to keep fighting and keep going to build a Medford that works for everybody.” Bears, 26, graduated from UMass Amherst in 2015 and currently works as director of PHENOM, a nonprofit that advocates for public education, specifically public colleges.

With his voice on the City Council, Bears wants to utilize that experience and form a council subcommittee on education. This subcommittee, comprised of three City Council members, will work with the School Committee on education goals, funding and more.

“We can discuss education issues, we could then go talk to the School Committee, we can invite them to come to our subcommittee meetings, we could talk about the budget, that kind of thing,” Bears explained. “And I think part of it is going to be the vision for Medford High School, and the City Council is going to need to be involved with that.”

Bears also wants to see a master plan for housing, traffic and property development. “How are we making sure that new development is for the community and the people of Medford, and not just the big developers?” Bears said. OR Medford Endorsed Bears!

Former Co-chair of Our Revolution Massachusetts, Nichole Mossalam, Announces Run For 35th Middlesex MA State Representative Seat in Democratic Primary.

Nichole Mossalam, former co-chair of Our Revolution Massachusetts and founding director of the Islamic Cultural Center of Medford, is running for MA State Rep. Except from Alex Newman, Patch Staff December 3, 2019:

MEDFORD, MA — Nichole Mossalam announced her candidacy for state representative in the 35th Middlesex District Monday. Mossalam is challenging State Rep. Paul Donato in the Democratic primary. Donato is currently serving his 10th term in office.

Mossalam is a former co-chair of Our Revolution, a statewide progressive advocacy organization, founding director of the Islamic Cultural Center of Medford and chair of Malden’s Disability Commission. She and her husband, Mohanad, live in Malden with their three children and two dogs.
“I’m running for State Representative because our state legislature has failed to adequately address the challenges that so many people in our communities are facing,” Mossalam said in a statement. “On a wide array of issues, we have seen too many legislators follow the Speaker’s agenda. We need independent leaders who will put the concerns of our families first.”

Through her work, Mossalam has helped develop a citywide accessibility study, address parking and playground accessibility and implement police-stop communication cards for the hard of hearing in Malden. She also ran interfaith programming and coordinated community outreach in Medford.

“Our community and economy are rapidly changing and we need a leader who will stand up for all our residents and build a better future for our children,” Mossalam said in a release. “I know how to bring people together to get things done for working families. We have a great opportunity with new leadership to ensure all of our voices are heard and our community needs are put first.”

The 35th Middlesex District includes parts of Medford and Malden.

Franklin County Continuing the Political Revolution Endorses Mayor Alex Morse of Holyoke Against U.S. Rep. Richie Neal in District 1

From Franklin County Continuing the Political Revolution’s (FCCPR) Newsletter: FCCPR CD-1 Endorsement Recommendation Committee, composed of FCCPR members from Congressional District 1, met with Mayor Morse and is unanimously recommending his endorsement for Congress by FCCPR members who live in CD-1.

The reasons for the endorsement are many as are the striking differences between Alex’s commitment to the District and those of current Congressman Neal. In addition to supporting key platform positions of FCCPR, such as Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, campaign finance reform, and full support of public education, Alex will not be accepting any corporate money (Neal relies primarily on corporate donations) and has promised to meet regularly with constituents.

One of the issues that CD-1 constituents bring up most often is the fact that it is next to impossible to schedule a town hall meeting with Congressman Neal. If you are an FCCPR member and live in CD-1, please be on the lookout for an email during the last week of the month where we will vote to have FCCPR endorse Alex as our next Congressman from CD-1.

Affiliates Work on Many Issues, Not Just Large Policies: Spotlight on OR Chicopee This Newsletter.

Since August they have registered 60 new voters, and co-hosted with the Chicopee Democrats Chicopee’s First Municipal Meet and greet, with candidates and elected candidates this past September. They partnered with the local Downtown Neighborhood Association to help with a Homelessness Prevention Event called Together We Rise where they helped serve 17 at-risk and homeless individuals with makeovers, resumes and job interviews (3 interviews were scheduled, 2 completed!). They are talking about future ways they can help Chicopee’s homeless population and at-risk residents. This fall they also helped conduct an endorsement questionnaire regarding Medicare For All for municipal candidates in Springfield and Chicopee and gathered signatures that supported the successful Ranked Choice Voting fall petition. Finally, they co-sponsored a Drive Out the Vote campaign on Monday November 4th, where they drove through the streets of Springfield, Chicopee, and Holyoke and participated in standouts to support candidates of color. They are excited to help plan and execute the migration of the Pioneer Valley’s Women’s March to Springfield on January 18, 2020.

Good work OR Chicopee!

Jerry Grenier is arrested by Weymouth Police for not allowing a truck to leave the Enbridge compreoors building project site during a protest at the Fore River. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Ways to Get Involved with ORMA

Want to join an upcoming ORMA Democratic Debate Watch party? Contact your local affiliate here for a list of watch parties in your local area over the coming months.

Volunteer
* Volunteer for actions around the state
ORMA on Facebook
* Join ORMA Facebook Group
ORMA Readers Corner
Monthly book/long read articles recommended by ORMA members.
* Why Nations Fail? By Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson.
This book is a compelling academic dive into why nations rise and fall economically. It argues that inclusive political and economic institutions are required for success, while extractive, or those where elites dominate the system, leads to economic decline in the long run!

Please send your reading recommendations to the ORMA Newsletter Volunteers

We Want to Hear From You!
* Email ORMA with general questions or comments
* Donate to support fundraising targets
* Add or view a calendar event
* Tag us: @OurRevolutionMA & #OurRevMA
* Join ORMA’s Facebook page
* Submit articles or feedback for this newsletter*
* Note: submissions may be edited for content and space.

Uninspiring quote of the month: “You wanna check my shape on it, let’s do push-ups together here, man. Let’s run. Let’s do whatever you want to do. Let’s take an IQ test” Joe Biden, Former VP.

Inspiring quote of the month: “One cannot level one’s moral lance at every evil in the universe. There are just too many of them. But you can do something, and the difference between doing something and doing nothing is everything.” Daniel Berrigan, anti-war priest, writer.

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