Members: Mike Hugo, Beverly Hugo, Kurt Fusaris, Adam Freudberg, Barbara LeDuc, Cesar Stewart-Morales, Cheryl Tully Stoll, Chris Broyles, Dhruba Sen, Doug Lawrence, Maria Robinson, Mel Warshaw, Norma Shulman, Parwez Wahid, Robert Case, Rozzy Hooper-Hamersley, Jack Patrick Lewis, Larry Stoodt, David Magnani, Jack Duffy, Carmen Chico, Margareth Shepard, Adam Steiner, Jim Hansen, Chris Lorant, Patrick Dunne, Barbara Fontes, Phil Ottaviani, Thom Mahoney, Jean Bullock
Associate Members: Ohad Klopman, Andrew Machkasov, Shahid Khan, Joel Winett, Bob Schecter, Tracey Bryant, Dhruba Sen, Vanessa Poindexter, Yvonne Spicer, Dhruba Sen
Guests: Liam Horsman, Griffin Tighe, Audrey Hall, Alex Bausch, Tara Healey, Attorney General Maura Healey
Welcome, Announcements and Updates – Chair Mike Hugo
The Chair welcomed everyone and called the meeting to order at 7:05pm. The chair reviewed the agenda for the night.
Reports from Mayor, City Council & School Committee
Remind everyone the dates to register to vote is August 22nd. Keep wearing masks and reminding your friends to do the same. The number are spiking up a little from parties and residents lowering their guard. We have a free COVID testing site at Keefe Tech. We have CARES Act funding to work with, resources, and things on the national level that can directly affect us here. There are a lot of moving parts.
Robert Case – Council meeting on Tuesday, and the Appointments Subcommittee has several appointments to review. The Youth Councilors were appointed last week and starting their meetings.
Phil Ottaviani – Appointments on Monday, he is working on water chestnuts in his district, and double telephone poles.
Margareth Shepard – The main concern is the appointments by the Mayor, and it would be helpful for our members here to give us feedback on this matter.
Adam Steiner – Thanks to Maria, Jack and Sen. Spilka the state support for cities and towns is better than expected. Hopefully with a Biden/Harris administration the HEROES act can help with future budgets. Thanks to Maria and Jack for putting together funding for a pilot program to have citywide Wi-Fi. The Bruce Freeman trail is making progress through Sudbury and it is time for Framingham to get serious about buying land from CSX.
Cesar Stewart-Morales – Still working on the environmental front to put together a citizens environmental committee. Keep social distancing and wearing masks and keep numbers as low as possible in the city.
Tracey Bryant – A letter recommending reopening the Eurie Stamps case should be on the next city Council agenda, the Black Student Union working with her to come up with a petition to develop a course on student personal safety. FREE is advocating to incorporate African American history into the course of study. Thank the library for the info they made available on John Lewis’ life. The Framingham LWV for input and the 100-year anniversary of women getting the vote and they continue that work and been a real plus for Framingham.
Adam Freudberg – The back to school plan is still an evolving work in progress. How do we best deliver remote learning to every student? How do we use the new ten day start in September for professional development for teachers and for community engagement for safe interactions be teachers and student for those that wish to have that? We are continuously working on HVAC and facilities work for COVID related issues and we were able to re-direct a federal grant to help with that. There is never an easy answer and things keeps changing daily. We are fortunate that extra chapter 70 funds were made available and we are starting the process to appropriate that money through the Mayor and City Council.
Beverly Hugo – everything is still up in the air and everything is still changing. We are using credible science to make decisions on our back to school plan. They are working to make this a productive year for all students and families. The goal is for school to start remotely on Sept 16th, Oct 5th 155 SPED students return, Oct 26th students with high special needs return, and by Nov 5th the hybrid model of one week in person and then one week remote will start.
Attorney General Maura Healey
The chair welcomed the Attorney General for Massachusetts, who is not afraid or intimidated by the President or any issue.
Framingham is ground zero for what campaigning is about, for grassroots support and a very dynamic community. The Mayor has Framingham front and center and is working hard for the City. She is happy to see so many friends here tonight.
We need to dig deep, and we need to make sure we do all we can in NH and for Sara Gideon in Maine. She knows we will work hard for the Biden/Harris ticket. We also have lots of local elections. She respects anyone who puts their name on a ballot. She has spoken to her Dem Attorney general counterparts in other states and to see Trump stoop to this level and mess with the Postal Service is incredible. Trump is trying to discourage people to vote. People should continue to vote by mail here in MA, she is in touch with Sec. Galvin’s office and going to make sure the vote by mail system will work the way it should. We need people to get out and vote and we need an overwhelming mandate for Dems up and down the ticket. She is focused on the national level and where we need to provide voter protections where games are being played by attorney generals and the postal service. What is happening in the moment is an opportunity to hear more voices and have more engagement by younger people, independents and disenfranchised people. After George Floyd we saw people take to the streets and more people becoming involved in our country.
What can you and other AGs do about Postal Service? There is a real effort by Speaker Pelosi to remind people who this really affects. We all depend on the post office and we need to make sure people know what the President is trying to do. We are going to work on the legal front, but we cannot let him beat us by scaring people away from voting. Keep telling those stories and share them while lobbying members of congress.
The crisis of gun violence has taken a back seat due to COVID, what can be done to get something done? We have to understand COVID has taken over, but it is an opportunity that has presented itself to get the message out about disparities in the Black and Brown communities and about who these issues really affect. My office has been working with cities and town on food security and housing security. We need to stay engaged in gun laws and stay engaged in upholding and writing new gun laws. One of the things we need to do to accomplish more gun reform is to flip the Senate. There are seats we can pick up to do that. We are supporting gun violence prevention programs around the state and country. She knows how important this is to everyone. Two cases are being filed directly to deal with NRA and how they operate. We have won every case brought by the gun lobby fighting against our gun laws.
Will Trump be brought to justice at some point? Trump will be trying to cause a misinformation campaign to win this next election. He is running for his life because he has the benefit of immunity while serving in office. We need to get him out in November and bring him to justice at some point. The call for him to be held accountable will not go away.
Are you familiar with the Eurie Stamps case? I have spoken with the DA Ryan about the case and will have more to say about it later at some point. She supports efforts to understand what and why it happened, and to make sure steps are taken to make sure it does not happen again. I am familiar with the case and keeping the conversation going to stay on top of it.
Will there be a World court Trial for TRUMP for crimes against humanity? Wishes she had international jurisdiction. You may see a tribunal court at some point, and he needs to be brought to justice anywhere he can be.
The chair and AG both thanked Tara Healey for her work.
Secretary’s Report – Minutes of July 19, 2020, Business Meeting – Robert Case, Secretary
Motion to approve by Rozzy and seconded by Chris Lorant. No Discussion
Unanimous approval of minutes.
Treasurer’s Report – Larry Stoodt – Annual Dues are due, Associate Member discussion.
Dues were paid by Adam Steiner, Cesar Stewart-Morales, and Joel Winett. Starting balance of $4,435.19, collected $70.00 in dues and donations, collected $0.37 in interest, and we spent $0.92 for postage. Total balance of $4,504.64 was reported to OCPF yesterday. Motion to accept by Norma and seconded by Mel Warshaw. No discussion. Unanimous approval of the report.
Candidates & Campaigns
- MetroWest for Biden – Alex Bausch, Beverly Hugo
- Campaign raised $48 million dollars in 48 hours after Harris was added to the ticket and thousands of new volunteers. Convention is this week and the work this week is to host virtual watch parties across the country. There are more watch parties in MA than the rest of the NE region. Big week for the convention. The convention is going to be a very interactive convention and the live stream will be very interactive. Sign up through Mobilize and you will get the specific livestream info for each night of the convention. We have identified over 70 captains to head up work in the areas and after the primary everyone will be ready to go to work on the coordinated campaign. A prominent Republican congressman will be endorsing Biden tomorrow.
- Beverly – every other Thursday, because the convention is this week, there will be phone banks every Thursday, texting and other ways to get involved. We need every member to get involved because we need to win big in November.
- The chair will send out links for livestream tonight for Framingham only.
- Ed Markey – Liam Horsman
- It is our belief that the race is going to be very close and every volunteer shift is going to count. Vote by mail and as soon as you can. Please turn out your family and friends to submit their ballot and if they are undecided please help to convince them to vote for Ed. Team Markey needs your help in these last 15 days essentially every day until the primary. Please share the link to sign and encourage friends and families to get involved. It could be the factor that decides this race on Sept 1st.
- Joseph Kennedy – Griffin Tighe – It is going to be a close race and he agrees with Liam in that regards. Framingham has had a great team the last few weeks for Kennedy and he is a resource for all things Kennedy and please reach out if you want to get involved. Thank you to the Mayor for getting out the message and supporting Team Kennedy.
- DNC Events – Norma Shulman
- Speakers every night, MSNBC, CSPAN, PBS and some other networks are covering the convention. Delegates have their daily breakfasts and get credentials and attend panels. Tuesday night is the anniversary of ratification of the 19th Amendment for the 100th anniversary for women to vote. There will be coverage on Tuesday. Schedule link is in the chat.
- State Committee Report –
- Parwez – as we head into convention week, we have had some contentious issues with state leadership. There is an inquiry about whether leadership was violating any state committee rules on giving advice to College Democrats on issuing letter against Mayor Morse running against Richard Neal in 1st congressional district. Matter is under inquiry now and Gus Bickford has appointed an independent investigator to look in the matter.
- Kurt Fusaris – congratulate Norma being elected as elector in the electoral college.
- Norma – it is a great honor to be elected and we need BIDEN to win. Contact friends and family in other states who have not passed the compact to end the Electoral College and we might be able to make this the last year of the Electoral College.
Report from our House Delegation, discussion of upcoming docket and equity legislation
Maria Robinson – finished the first part of formal session on July 31st, but we have formally extended the session until the end of the calendar year. Anything that requires a vote could happen anytime between now and December 31st. Three conference committees going on right now for economic development bill that encompasses a lot of bonds and governor’s housing bill was included. The house version also includes mobile sports betting, but most in the name of reviving the economy and helping small business. Second committee is on Climate bills and there is a chance to influence that conference committee and getting something on the governor’s desk. Third conference committee is on Police Reform Bill, Senate and House passed different versions and we have no idea where that will end up. Senate version deals more with qualified immunity and House version is focused on Facial Recognition technology. We did pull together a COVID 19 supplemental budget and the speaker, senate president and governor came to an agreement on chapter 70 funding and funding of municipalities. We are still looking at a several million-dollar shortfall. A lot are hoping on federal help from the HEROES act but not sure if that will happen. There is a movement to delay or cancelling MCAS requirement during COVID pandemic until we get past this health issue. They are spending a lot of time helping residents with unemployment. Statewide unemployment is 17% and Framingham is at 15% which is not great but better than the state average. It is going to be tough the next few years and we need to hold the governor accountable.
Jack Patrick Lewis – session has been extended and there are some things we expect to vote, but there is no guarantee it will come out of conference subcommittee. There is a glimmer of hope that we can get some of these large bills done that should have been done a long time ago. We are starting to get more and more emails against the police reform bill. There was mighty but small group that forced multiple roll calls to put colleagues on record on issues such as tear gas use, etc. The house version of the bill banned no knock warrants where seniors or children are in the home. We are getting more pro police emails and they are being rude and more threatening, and they will say they support reform, just nothing that has passed on Beacon Hill. It is time to redouble efforts to make sure progressive democrats are who they truly are. We are working hard to get more progressive Dems elected to the House and Senate. On Monday at 7:30 Jack and Maria are hosting a virtual house party fundraiser to elect a progressive Dem in Somerville.
Cesar Stewart-Morales – we still need to focus and help re-elect Carmen Gentile in precinct 3 which is half of district 2 in Framingham. He has a well-funded Republican challenger. Cesar will put a link to fundraising pages and Carmen’s website.
The chair welcomed Samantha Pearlman from the Marlborough City Council.
Subcommittee Reports, discussions, actions and votes:
- Bylaws – Mel Warshaw – nothing to report.
- Communications –Jim Hansen – nothing to report.
- Civics Education – Beverly Hugo – we are changing our regular days of future meetings.
- Pat Dunne – we are going to be doing more about the 2020 Census. He wants to encourage members to help support the census especially in higher number districts on the south side of Framingham. The library is doing a great job getting the word out. The CPA is now transitioning to a formal ballot committee, probably question 3 on the ballot and we need help to get support for that.
- Maureen Dunne – we have a short campaign timeline to get things done for the CPA which will need donations and sign locations. The goal of CPA is investment in all 9 districts. Pat Dunne will have more info soon.
- Pat Dunne – We also need to move forward on broadband Wi-Fi access especially for seniors and we need to set up a pilot for Framingham and include the student population.
- Committee Meetings will now take place on weekends of weeks we have a Democratic Committee meeting.
- Environmental/Climate Change – Larry Stoodt – H4912 and S2500 are the climate bills in the conference committee and we need everyone to lobby these members of the conference committee to make sure good things of both bills are included.
- Legislative – Kurt Fusaris/Barb LeDuc – We would like to see the plan moved up to 2022 instead of 2040 and implement those environmental laws earlier than planned. Also discussed the police bill and briefly touched on the apartment moratorium.
- Mayor Spicer – thank you to Dr. Dunne for reminding everyone about the Census. Trump has now truncated the timeframe to complete the census and we have received additional funding to help with those efforts. There are banners on streets, signs, etc. Anyone that can volunteer and help please reach out to Alaa in the Mayor’s Office. The full court press is going to happen starting now.
- Outreach – Carmen Chico – no report but we have been participating in BLM presentation.
- Programming – Rosamond Hooper-Hamersley & Cesar Stewart-Morales – We had several zoom meeting and phone calls. Rozzy has met with 6 or 7 and narrowed it down to 2 people on the anti-racism speakers after the election cycle is over. The goal is so we can become the most diverse, kind and caring and have real substantive change on our committee. The chairs thanks Jack, Rozzy, Cesar, and Barbara Fontes for their hard work.
Reports of Grass Roots Organizations
- Report on Together for 2020 – Mike Hugo
- org has some great texting events and the goal is 1 million texts in the next month. We hope everyone will want to be involved in that.
- Report on Progressive Framingham/MetroWest – Beverly Hugo
- We had a facilitated discussion on White Fragility, and we will also have our next book discussion on How To Be Anti-Racist. Members pay $5 dues and get to vote and be a part of the steering committee.
Discussion of Racism, Equity and Social Justice – Barbara Fontes
Discussion was held on the importance of responding and having a resolution adopted by the FDC mentioning Eurie Stamps, mentioning the issue of qualified immunity, mentioning the decision on the officer who is involved, and getting a resolution passed that has input from the black community. We need a local response in this national movement.
The Chair does not intend for a formal vote tonight on the entire resolution because it still needs work.
Discussion continued on the importance of the FDC making a Black Lives Matter resolution sooner than later. It was suggested we separate the resolution into two resolutions – one for Black Lives Matter and one regarding Eurie Stamps. Consensus was reached to use the first two paragraphs as a stand-alone Black Lives Matter resolution with some small edits to condense the wording and removing specific names. There was further discussion that the remaining resolution needs more input from the Black community to give them more power in their fight.
The Chair intended to remove names and that was supposed to be in the draft the chair sent out and will be done.
The Chair makes a motion to suspend the rules to allow Associate Member Tracey Bryant to officially make the motion on the Black Lives Matter resolution in order to recognize the amount of work she has done to make this happen, seconded by Kurt Fusaris. No Discussion.
Motion passed unanimously.
A motion was initially made by Beverly Hugo to have the statement say, “The Framingham Democratic Committee wholeheartedly agrees with the concept that BLM.” Motion seconded by Jack Duffy for discussion.
Discussion continued that a stronger statement needed to be made without getting into too many specifics. A desire was discussed that regardless of the Black Lives Matter resolution we do not lose sight of the Eurie Stamps case. The chair is going to instruct the Civics Education, Legislative and other subcommittees to review the rest of the resolution to make it better. We will not lose sight of the Stamps case.
It was agreed that we should not just believe in a concept, but actually believe that Black Lives Matter and say that. It is important to strengthen the statement because many people believe in a concept and do not actually do anything about it. Tracey Bryant mentioned on of the biggest issues in the Black community are blanket statement that do not have any actions tied to them.
Tracey Bryant makes a motion that the final version of the Black Lives Matter resolution will be delivered by the Chair to the City Council and reads as follows:
Whereas, the Framingham Democratic Committee is committed to furthering the messages and delivery of racial equity and social justice to the inhabitants of the City of Framingham, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the United States of America.
Therefore, the Framingham Democratic Committee believes and proclaims that Black Lives Matter.
Motion seconded by Cheryl Tully Stoll. No further discussion.
37 in favor, no opposed, no abstentions. Motion passes unanimously.
Everyone should be prepared to have a special joint meeting on Sept 7th to finalize the language of the Eurie Stamps resolution. The subcommittees mentioned as well as the Communications subcommittee should meet ahead of time to hammer out the language.
New Associate Members
Audrey Hall introduces herself to be a candidate as an associate member of FDC. She is the Clerk for the Council on Aging, chairing the Council on Aging’s COVID-19 Response subcommittee, and a member of the State Committee on the Status of Women and chairing their Personnel and Budget subcommittee working on legislation on equity for women. Working as a strategic communications consultant and continues to have important conversations on her show on Access Framingham.
The chair reminds everyone there will be a vote on new associate members at the next meeting.
Parwez Wahid –if anyone else wants to comment on the website about Kamala Harris’ nomination as our VP please let Parwez know as soon as possible.
Motion by Phil Ottaviani, seconded by Beverly Hugo, No Discussion. Motion passed unanimously and the meeting ended at 10:00pm
Special Note: If you or a loved one are experiencing any issues that we can help with during this extraordinary time please contact the Chair or any Officer and we will do all we can to get services or meet any needs that we can for that person. Our Committee has many well-placed members who are always happy to answer the call to action, and we would be honored to render discreet aid to anyone in need, to the best of our abilities.
Please Mark Your Calendar for our Next Meeting on September 13th