Minutes for April 18, 2021

Framingham Democratic Committee

Minutes for April 18, 2021, 7:00 pm – Zoom Conference


Meeting Attendees

Members: Mike Hugo, Robert Case, Beverly Hugo, Barbara LeDuc, Jim Stockless, Parwez Wahid, Larry Stoodt, Cesar Stewart-Morales, Gwen Holbrow, Adam Steiner, Phil Ottaviani, Mel Warshaw, Christopher Broyles, Norma Shulman, Tom Mahoney, Mary Kate Feeney, Jeanne Bullock, Chris Lorant, Cindy Rubin, Rosamond Hooper-Hamersley, Kurt Fusaris, Doug Lawrence, Kathie McCarthy, Margareth Shepard, Jim Hansen, Patrick Dunne, Adam Freudberg, Kathie McCarthy, Tracey Bryant, Maria Robinson, David Magnani, Bettie Muto, John Stefanini


Associate Members: Andrew Machkasov, Audrey Hall, Cheryl Gordon, Ricky Finlay, Tilia Jacobs, Brandon Ward

Guests: Aimee Powalka, Irma Napolean, Ann Berwick, Alex Bausch


Welcome, Announcements and Updates – Chair Mike Hugo

The chair reviewed the agenda and called the meeting to order at 7:04pm.

Presentation: Act now … Save Earth! Earth Day Initiatives

  • Aimee Powalka, Sustainable Framingham: Energize Framingham
    • Rozzy Hooper-Hamersley introduced the first speaker. Aimee is the heartbeat and one of the driving forces of Sustainable Framingham.
    • Energize Framingham is an online collaborative effort developed for Framingham.
    • An online resource and community building tool to help residents feel empowered to fight climate change. Everyone can make a difference!
    • Actions – You can sort to find action items that you can do on a variety of different levels. There is something for everyone. Several items will direct you to Mass Save to do energy assessments and efficiency projects.
    • Experiences – residents can share their experience and learn from each other about actions to accomplish.
    • Teamwork – residents can see their individual impact and how it contributes and combines with other neighbors. Neighbors can chat together and discuss what everyone is working on.
    • Goals – this will show how far the city has done to reach goals set forth by Sustainable Framingham.
    • If you are interested in getting started, you can join at Energize Framingham.org and this will let them know what city to attribute your actions.

  • Ann Berwick, Director of Sustainability, City of Newton
    • Larry Stoodt introduced Ann Berwick – co-director and working on energy aggregation in Newton and several environmental campaigns afterwards.
    • Newton is on the 2nd community aggregation contract- Newton Power Choice.
    • You begin by hiring a consultant and there are 3 in MA that do the work of walking the city through the program and starting the process. The consultant does not cost the city as it is paid through grants by the state.
    • Hosted numerous talks throughout Newton to get the word out about the renewable energy program. The first contract newton residents saved a little money, the second contract they did not.
    • By State law the program is opt-out. If you have basic energy service, you are automatically enrolled in the program. You can opt up to 100% renewable energy, you opt down to the minimum amount, or you can opt out and stay with basic Eversource service only.
    • Placed hundreds of yard signs throughout the city, table set up at libraries and events throughout the city to talk to residents.
    • By-in to the program had overwhelming support and only a handful of people who objected. Residents were happy to support renewable energy and about 7% of residents opted up to 100% renewable energy. Municipal aggregators never go door to door, only competitive suppliers do. They try to confuse people and scam residents.
    • Over 140 cities and towns participate in an energy aggregation program, but not all are green aggregation programs. 30-40 are green energy programs that supply more renewables than the state requires.


Secretary’s Report – Minutes of March 21, 2021, Business Meeting – Robert Case, Secretary

                Motion to approve by Kathie McCarthy; seconded by Phil Ottaviani.

                There was no discussion; motion passed unanimously.

Treasurer’s Report – Larry Stoodt – Annual Dues are due, Associate Member discussion.

                $4,451.64 starting balance, raised $420.18 through dues and interest, we spent $1,193.00, leaving a $3,855.89 ending balance.

19 members have paid their dues; 3 lifetime members have paid dues; and 5 associate members have paid dues.

Motion to approve by Phil Ottaviani; seconded by Kathie McCarthy.

                The motion passed unanimously.

Reports from Mayor, City Council & School Committee

Mayor – not in attendance

City Councilor Report

                No questions or comments about Councilor Report emailed out to members.

School Committee

Adam Freudberg – The school budget was passed unanimously and submitted to the Mayor.

Beverly Hugo – all contracts are over at the end of June and collective bargaining has started.

Ricky Finlay – passed.

Report from our House Delegation, – Rep. Jack P. Lewis, Rep. Maria Robinson, Rep. Carmine Gentile, Sen. Pres. Karen Spilka  

Maria Robinson – House Budget Week is this upcoming this week.  The Governor and leadership on Beacon Hill are trying to treat this as a regular budget until we get more information from the federal government in June.  If something does not end up in the initial budget it may come along later. House passed a bill to rebuild the Holyoke Soldier’s Home.

Everyone is eligible starting tomorrow for a COVID Vaccine!

Barbara LeDuc – introduced Irma Napolean a friend of Jeanne Bullock and she is attending tonight, and Irma thanked the group for their work, and she is looking forward to getting to know everyone.

State Committee Report – Parwez Wahid, Norma Shulman

                                Parwez Wahid – State Committee will be meeting next Saturday, and you can watch the live stream.  There will be a State Convention, but no definite decision if it will be in person or virtual.  Caucuses will be taking place June into July to elect delegates. He will be presenting a webinar.

                                Norma Shulman – June 2nd is the Roosevelt Awards Virtual Reception, and she will put the link in the chat. The Wednesday Wire newsletter is full of topics, graphics and talking points to share from the State Party. Women’s Outreach Subcommittee is this coming Thursday, and the topic is everything starts locally.  Veronica will be presenting on how local committees support the State Committee.  The losing Republicans in a few state elections are suing to say mail in voting is illegal.

  • Alex Bausch, Report on MDP Organizing Hub
    • Started a project to not lose the momentum of the activities and volunteers that come together during a Presidential election cycle.
    • This is a place for activists to join every Saturday at 3pm to get involved with a project or trainings. Over 900 shift signups have occurred in 11 weeks of the program.


Subcommittee Reports, discussions, actions and votes:

  • Bylaws – Mel Warshaw
    • Pass
  • Communications – Gwen Holbrow/Jim Hansen
    • Current project is to meet with Outreach Committee to translate some of our webpages into other languages.
  • Civics Education – Beverly Hugo
    • Thank you to Rozzy and Barb Fontes for putting together candidate questionnaires. These will be sent to candidates the day after they turn in their signatures. Beverly is recusing herself as she is a candidate, so Rozzy is taking over the project.
    • Would like to host 2 Forums before the Preliminary Election.
    • Discussed ways on how to Get Out the Vote to improve voter turnout.
    • Brochures are being translated and looking for help with Russian.
  • Environmental/Climate Change – Larry Stoodt
    • All next week is Earth Week and he will send out links of things for residents to participate.
  • Legislative – Doug Lawrence
    • Pass
  • Outreach – Parwez Wahid/Carmen Chico
    • Met in March and April – Rep Jack Lewis offered comments on why first-time visitors may not be returning; the subcommittee is hopeful we can hold a retreat to work on this.
    • Would like to have new associate members attend Outreach Subcommittee to get to know them better and to give them a complete look at what the Outreach Subcommittee is focused on.
    • A get-well gift will be sent to Jack Duffy in the hospital.
  • Programming – Rosamond Hooper-Hamersley & Cesar Stewart-Morales
    • Discussion of Social/Racial Justice and Equity Seminar, Next Steps
      • Incredible 3 workshops with Liza Talusan.
      • It gave us a lot to think about and great tools to work with in the future.
      • This is a first step because we have all send how racism continues to be a problem in our world.
      • The chair thanked Rozzy and Cesar for their incredible amount of work on this program.


General Governance Discussion

                A discussion of where we want our committee, what members are thinking, and what we can do to improve our situation and make things better.

We just completed 3 exceptional workshops on the harrowing and abominable realities of racism.  We considered the vital importance of embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion in fundamental and gutsy ways.  What concrete steps do you suggest to help move our committee move forward in the three critical realms?


Responses from Chat Log:


20:30:41               From  Margareth Shepard : Follow the City administration work close and support local actions that  government services access for everyone

20:30:46               From  Philip Ottaviani : Need to be more thoughtful and choose to be kind on a daily basis. I attended all 3 workshops. They were excellent.

20:30:48               From  Kathie McCarthy : Be more understanding and cognizant of others’ perspectives and struggles…

20:30:48               From  Gwendolyn Holbrow : I thought Audrey’s suggestion to sometimes meet with other groups and in other venues was excellent: we can go to them instead of waiting for them to come to us. Also mixing up our seating more when we meet in person again.

20:30:49               From  Tilia Jacobs : Perhaps this was addressed during the workshops—I did not attend all of them—but I notice that our group is overwhelmingly white.  This means that no matter our best intentions, we are approaching the issue of racism from the outside in, rather than the inside out.  How could we attract more members of color?

20:30:49               From  Rosamond Hooper-Hamersley : A couple of things come to mind — a mission statement — for our website, for our publications — stating who we are and why it is that we strive to be a diverse, equitable, inclusionary, and just community. We need to think about ways of encouraging folks to join us to help broaden us in all of these realms. Maybe we could (sorry to even suggest this) think of establishing a DEI sub-committee.

20:30:58               From  Christopher Lorant : To add a 4th word would be, “transparency.”  It is extremely important for the society that we live in.

20:30:58               From  Jim Stockless : Become more active listeners. Strive to understand where other members are and try to meet them there. Rather than sell them on your perspective.

20:31:00               From  Cindy Rubin : Improving upon Equity & diversity —> I believe…we need to improve HR training in our police & education depts.

20:31:02               From  Robert Case : It would be a benefit for us to have a welcoming committee and a buddy/mentor type program to welcome new guests and encourage continued growth. And to make sure guests stay involved.

20:31:06               From  normashulman : It would be helpful to have the PowerPoint to review what we learned and for those who did not attend to pick up some of the talking points that were covered (so we all have the same language).

20:31:11               From  Adam Freudberg : Make it a goal to add new associate members from all nine districts between now and the next calendar year

20:31:25               From  Adam Steiner : I would like us to make an effort to have more people of color among our members. This might involve being more active in the community to spread the word about the Framingham Democrats, having speakers of color who are given top billing.

20:31:27               From  Jim Hansen : district bases representation

20:31:28               From  Cheryl G : I would like to see meetings moved around the city

20:31:37               From  Brandon Ward : Continued voter outreach and registration efforts to give everyone in our community a political voice. Work to diversify Framingham city govt volunteer boards and committees. Once possible, sponsor public events to facilitate relationships within the community.

20:31:39               From  Gwendolyn Holbrow : Perhaps assigning a welcoming “buddy” to new attendees.

20:31:41               From  Larry Stoodt MetroWest Node : We should make a good faith commitment to other organizations in our community to build a closer collaboration to fight racism and increase inclusion.

20:31:56               From  Mel Warshaw : Always speak out loudly when you hear of racist conduct or speech.

20:32:15               From  Mary Kate Feeney : Move meeting locations, even days and times. Sunday night is not always ideal.

20:32:15               From  Tom Mahoney : I think it is important to reach out to all in our community by holding gathering, when allowed, to bring more diversity to our committee.

20:32:25               From  Audrey Hall : Ask to be put on the agenda at other meetings in the community that serve and focus on POC and ask for input on how we can improve our appeal to them.

20:32:42               From  David Magnani : We may want to make this an action item for the Committee Agenda for a year and then assess how we did and what might come next.

20:32:47               From  Parwez Wahid : Make sure the Mayor of Framingham remains a Democrat.

20:32:52               From  Gwendolyn Holbrow : I would like us to become more involved with municipal elections.

20:33:00               From  Philip Ottaviani : Much better outreach to folks of Framingham. We need to thoughtfully bring more diversity to the Framingham Dems.

20:33:04               From  Rosamond Hooper-Hamersley : Work hard on our anti-racist objectives as we continue to define them and work hard to hold the majority in the Congress and Senate.

20:33:05               From  Tom Mahoney : I think we need to support the democratic state and federal agenda

20:33:15               From  Cindy Rubin : I think we need to find ways to improve our State’s education program on Civics & Sciences….one thing the last 4 years showed us ….Americans do NOT know Civics or have a basic understanding of science.

20:33:22               From  normashulman : We must focus on the 2022 elections, both state and federal. We cannot lose control of the House and Senate.

20:33:26               From  Jim Hansen : elect a new governor with a D after their name.

20:33:27               From  Adam Steiner : Expand the membership, in a city of 70+ thousand with majority Democrats, this should be a bigger group

20:33:31               From  Tilia Jacobs : I have two teenagers.  One is very politically involved; the other has been turned off by how rancid politics can be.  (The 2016 election probably had a lot to do with this.)  Can we make politics more attractive and rewarding for young people, so they ideally stay engaged for life?

20:33:53               From  Audrey Hall : There’s a big difference between being invited to the dance and being asked to dance. Everyone should be asked to dance!

20:33:53               From  Larry Stoodt MetroWest Node : To elect more progressive local government and expand the ass. member in number and diversity.

20:33:54               From  David Magnani : New associate committee members and  plans/timeline for the 2022 elections.

20:33:54               From  Adam Freudberg : NH Senate race is one of many key ones to hold onto the Senate.

20:34:00               From  Gwendolyn Holbrow : Perhaps we could from an Energize Framingham team together.

20:34:10               From  Kathie McCarthy : Be more inclusive… outreach to many in community…

20:34:13               From  Jim Stockless : We have to do everything possible to elect a progressive Democratic Governor. Climate, Equity, and infrastructure cannot take another 4 years of Baker-style inactivity.

20:34:19               From  Margareth Shepard : Create a Democratic political platform for Framingham.  Organize a Framingham Democratic Convention before the local election.

20:34:30               From  Kurt Fusaris : Over the next year, as we prepare for the 2022 elections, we need to focus on whereas a party we still need to improve so that we can reach and appeal to more voters and future voters.

20:34:37               From  Mel Warshaw : Commit to electing progressive Democrats in Framingham and elsewhere. Recognize that not every Democrat is worthy of our support.

20:34:37               From  Gwendolyn Holbrow : Yes, to a Democratic governor!

20:34:37               From  Robert Case : We need to find a way to make sure TRUTH rings through to people and not fake news or made up lies.  Stand up and call it out!

20:34:43               From  Christopher Lorant : First focus on Framingham City Election as other important ones this year.  2022 will be HUGE!  The Governor’s Race and others. Things like Organizing Hub a great way to start!  Saturday Morning Over Coffee on Zoom.

20:36:45               From  Gwendolyn Holbrow : Agree with Margareth!

20:38:05               From  Audrey Hall : Great idea Margareth!

20:39:23               From  Tilia Jacobs : Yep, that is a pretty cool idea of Margareth’s!

New Business, member announcements, general announcements

Phil Ottaviani – Judge Fabry started the Veteran’s Court and outreach program at the District Court. He has been disappointed with how the Veteran’s Park next to the courthouse has been looking. A group is raising money through the Police Association to make improvements to the park next to the Court House. Some improvements have been made and other will continue to be made as funds are raised.



                Motion to approve by Rozzy Hooper Hamersley; seconded by Phil Ottaviani

                                The motion passed unanimously.


Respectfully Submitted,

Robert Case


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.

NEXT MEETING May 16th at 7:00