Minutes for March 21, 2021

Framingham Democratic Committee

 Minutes for March 21, 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, Jack Patrick Lewis, Adam Steiner, Phil Ottaviani, Mel Warshaw, Christopher Broyles, Norma Shulman, Carmen Chico, Jack Duffy, Thom Mahoney, Mary Kate Feeney, Jeanne Bullock, Chris Lorant, Cindy Rubin, Rosamond Hooper-Hamersley, Kurt Fusaris, Doug Lawrence, Cheryl Tully Stoll, Kathie McCarthy, David Magnani, Margareth Shepard, Jim Hansen, Patrick Dunne, Shahid Khan, Caraline Levy, Lori Bornstein, Adam Freudberg, Kathie McCarthy, John Stefanini, Amanda Northrup, Barbara Fontes, Tracey Bryant


Associate Members: Andrew Machkasov, Audrey Hall, Ohad Klopman, Isabella Petroni, Cheryl Gordon, Priscilla Sousa

Guests: Denise Zadina, Michael Ansara, Ricky Finlay, Erin Buechele, Liam Horsman, Diane Markowitz, Brandon Ward, Tilia Jacobs


Welcome, Announcements and Updates – Chair Mike Hugo

  • The Chair reviewed the agenda and called the meeting to order at 7:03pm.

Presentation: It is time to get ready for 2022

  • The Chair introduced our speaker and welcomed her to our meeting.
  • Erin Buechele, Regional Organizing Coordinator, Mass Democratic Party: Blueprint for ’22, FDC participation as a pilot program.
    • Her new position for the MASS Dems is as Relational Organizational Coordinator
    • Began meeting with Dem Committee chairs and members in January.
    • Rollout in March and hosting monthly activities to track by the state party.
    • Invest in grassroots teams and become the central hub for campaigns.
    • Monthly training and skill building sessions as well. Also, the place to foster better communication between DTC’s to share ideas and resources.
    • Framingham chosen as 1 of 14 committees chosen to pilot this program; debrief on April 20th.
    • This month is to initiate conversations with 10 friends and taking stock of relationships you have in a meaningful way and track those relationships.

    • MassDems will provide talking points and invite them to join you for something you have planned.
    • Participants will receive limited accounts to VoteBuilder for this program.
    • Live training on March 22 at 2pm and another live training will be held later as well.
    • We are trying to get down to the basics of talking and listening to what is affecting people and not necessarily trying to defend those in office or what has happened that may not be in our control.
    • We are trying to focus locally on Framingham and create local networks.
    • There are lists provided if you do not have 10 contacts to get started.
  • The Chair introduced our next speaker and welcomed him to the meeting.
  • Michael Ansara, Together for 2020, Dean of all Organizers: Key races to begin to focus on for the next cycle, 2022
    • We have a transitional President, but we only won narrowly, and the Republicans are doubling down on gerrymandering and suppressing the vote of minorities across the country where they are in control.
    • Midterms are historically bad for the party that sits in the White House.
    • 34 US Senate seats up in 2022 – 14 Dems and 22 Republicans
    • Maggie Hassan – most vulnerable Dem up for re-election. She will probably face the republican governor.
    • Raphael Warnock in GA and Mark Kelly in AZ are up for re-election.
    • Nevada and Colorado are looking good for Dems currently.
    • A huge battle in the House as well
    • We will be defending Dems in house races in states where Trump won and playing offense in states where Biden won but Republicans won house seats.
    • A totally wild and unpredictable playing field in a lot of areas.
    • The work begins now! Stop all efforts to suppress voting across the country.
    • Early money and donations matter. – Support state parties and grassroots groups in these states. Pay attention to special elections that are happening as well.
    • We cannot wait – we must get moving now and spread the message and people fire up.
    • The mover voter project is a good resource that supports a number of other grassroots organizations across the country.


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

  • Motion to accept the Secretary’s report by Kathie McCarthy; seconded by Phil Ottaviani.
    • There was no discussion; Motion passed unanimously.

Treasurer’s Report – Larry Stoodt – Annual Dues are due (Larry Stoodt, 615 Belknap Rd., 01701)

  • The Treasurer read a thank you letter from Fair Fight in GA and our donation.
  • Starting balance of $4,451.47 and received $0.17 interest leaving an ending balance of $4,451.64.
  • It is time to pay annual dues again. There is an ACTBlue account to pay electronically but it costs us money.  If you would like to add a couple dollars on to your dues to pay for the transaction fee you can do it that way, but checks are preferred.
  • Motion to accept the Treasurer’s report by Kathie McCarthy; seconded by Tracey Bryant.
    • Motion passed unanimously.

Reports from Mayor, City Council & School Committee

Mayor – Not in attendance

City Council

  • Tracey Bryant – pass
  • Robert Case – several subcommittee meetings this week with committee work going on. There is an additional Council meeting this month on March 30th.
  • Phil Ottaviani – hoping we can put this extra federal money to shore up more of our infrastructure that is needed; the Appointments Committee approved those appointed by the Mayor to a few different committees including the Parks & Rec committee.
  • Margareth Shepard – resident issues are getting back to normal levels about traffic, speeding, beach signage, etc. We need the city to act. Petition to improve the crosswalks and install a speed bump on Grant street.
  • John Stefanini – Council will appoint 4 seats to the CPA committee so people should keep their eyes open for the opportunity to serve on this important committee.
  • Adam Steiner – the Council voted unanimously to purchase Belknap and invest in the future of the city instead of letting the land be developed. Budget season is upon us and it is estimated that we will receive $28Million from the COVID Rescue Plan thanks to Biden and GA.
  • Cesar Stewart-Morales – Meeting of the Nobscot neighborhood for the roadway redesign that is starting soon. Comments from residents about a few things that did not make it into the plan. The solar panels on the McAuliffe Library were approved by the Council and should be back on rack to finish that soon. The Environmental Subcommittee meeting will be tomorrow night and getting update on energy aggregation program and the focus on trails and bikeways throughout the city.

School Committee

  • Adam Freudberg – April 5th for elementary and April 28th for Middle School is starting in full again due to DESE; although CDC says staff and teachers are not required to be vaccinated, we are thrilled for the partnership with Edward Kennedy Health Dept to give vaccines to staff and teachers in the district; Public hearing on May 5th for the re-naming of the Woodrow Wilson school; the new Fuller School project is still on track and looking great.
  • Beverly Hugo – held a public hearing for the school budget to request $147Million for this coming year’s budget. Impact bargaining with the unions for the and the high school is starting its 10-year recertification.
  • Ricky Finlay – thank you to the Council for voting to support turf fields at the new Fuller School.
  • Priscilla Sousa – this Tuesday the District Framingham Historical Society and the Woodrow Wilson community will be holding a public conversation about the renaming of the school.

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

  • Jack Patrick Lewis – we passed the omnibus environmental bill yet again and it is on the Governor’s desk; Jack will be on the Ways & Means Committee for the House this year; filed 36 bills this year but they have not been assigned to committees yet. If you do not see Jack or Maria’s name on co-sponsoring a bill just let them know and we can find out why or why not. There is a fundraiser being held for Rep. Lewis, co-hosted by Rep. Natalie Higgins, but you do not need to donate to participate in the Trivia Night.

State Committee Report – Parwez Wahid, Norma Shulman

  • Parwez Wahid – the information regarding the platform hearings, caucuses and convention will come out after the April state committee meeting. Looking how to get the word out about the vaccines.
  • Norma Shulman – will share several links in the chat including the YouTube video of the next state committee meeting, links for the Wednesday wire which will include graphics for social media, and a link to sign up for the Democratic Dispatch, the Women’s Outreach Committee on Thursday the 25th is a panel discussion of women working on campaigns and how to get people involved, the 22nd Annual Roosevelt Awards is in June. The links will be sent out to everyone by the chair or sent out via the IO groups.

Subcommittee Reports, discussions, actions and votes:

  • Bylaws – Mel Warshaw
    • Vote on two bylaw amendments.
    • The Bylaws Committee revisited the bylaw amendment process and came back with a similar bylaw regarding a majority vote 50% + 1, but no fewer than 18 votes, to change a by-law in case of a low turnout for a meeting. Our State Committee has a majority vote to change by-laws and many other committees around us have a majority vote.


  • This will divide the Committee further and not be good for our Committee.
  • A meeting can be held with 18 people, so 12 people (2/3 of the 18) could change the by-law.
  • What is the real motivation to push this through and make structural change? This is not going to help.
  • There are 43 eligible votes that can be made, not 35 and the by-law committee should revisit that.
  • Robert’s Rules stresses the importance and encourages a 2/3 votes to make by-law changes, a big improvement over last month’s recommendation.
  • Does not believe it will cause us to be more divisive. If everyone is given a chance to attend and notice of changes then attendance is the important issue.
  • Motion made by Tracey Bryant to call the question; Beverly Hugo seconded.
    • 35 in favor; 4 against; 0 abstentions
    • The motion to call the question passed.
  • Vote on the main motion to change by-laws by a majority vote, but not with fewer than 18 votes.
    • 29 in favor; 9 against; 1 abstention
    • The motion passed.


  • Motion to allow endorsements of Democratic candidates in partisan and non-partisan elections with a 2/3 majority made by Mel Warshaw; seconded by Gwen Holbrow.
  • We currently have a by-law that allows our committee to endorse with a ¾ vote of the committee.
  • Endorsements are not an ever day thing and should be rare, to inform the voters during a particular election.
  • The Democratic State Party charter encourages us to have something in our by-laws to allow endorsements in Dem primary elections, the general election, and in non-partisan elections.
  • Our current by-law only allows us to endorse Democrats in partisan elections and does not allow us to endorse in a primary that has more than one Democrat running.
  • We cannot afford to lose meaning by not allowing our committee to endorse.
  • The power of our endorsement is protected by having a 2/3 requirement.


  • Believes our current by-law allows us to already endorse in non-partisan elections.
  • The chairs handbook says that endorsing a Democrat in a contested primary can cause a division in your committee and can be counterproductive. You should only endorse if it is nearly universal in agreement of who to endorse.
  • This is a mistake for us to try and decide who the good Democrats are and will only alienate the members who support “bad Democrats.” This will divide us, and this is how we lose elections.
  • Believes education policy works best in a nonpartisan environment, and this change will just bring more politics into local education issues.
  • An endorsement could be both a blessing and a curse because we have mostly unenrolled voters in Framingham. We need to save our firepower for the State and Federal level.
  • If we endorse a Democrat over a Democrat, then we will not get to find about the candidate we did not endorse.
  • When we have a candidate in our local elections that receive a huge infusion of cash from the Republican Party, then our elections are actually partisan. We should not be in a position where our hands are tied because they switch parties just to speak to our committee. Our system is very partisan even though it is called non-partisan.
  • Motion to move the question made by Phil Ottaviani; seconded by Kathie McCarthy.
    • Motion passed unanimously.
  • Vote on the main endorsement motion.
    • 23 in favor; 14 against; 2 abstentions
    • The motion did not pass.
  • Communications – Gwen Holbrow/Jim Hansen
    • Met on March 4th and the main IO groups for Framingham Dems is for official business only as there are extra friends who receive the main group items. The Twitter description texts was changed to include that a tweet does not reflect official position statements.
  • Civics Education – Beverly Hugo
    • The voting brochure is ready in English and Portuguese and in a month the Spanish and Russian will be done. Candidate questionnaires will be sent to all running in local elections.
  • Environmental/Climate Change – Larry Stoodt
    • Motion to send a letter of thanks to our elected officials for their support of S30 made by Larry Stoodt; seconded by Jim Stockless.
    • Motion passes unanimously.
  • Legislative – Doug Lawrence
  • Met on Thursday of last week. Discussed expunging CORIs of those wrongly accused but that has been tabled. Next meeting the subcommittee will discuss the taking money out of politics bills as recommended by Rep Carmen Gentile.
  • Encourage our individual members to send this letter instead of sending it by committee to DESE to oppose their plan to re-open the schools.
  • Outreach – Parwez Wahid/Carmen Chico
    • Pass
  • Programming – Rosamond Hooper-Hamersley & Cesar Stewart-Morales
    • Discussion of Social/Racial Justice and Equity Seminar
      • First workshop was held.
      • March 25th 7pm-8pm
      • April 8th is the last workshop 7pm-8pm
      • All materials and dates will be sent out to members again.

Voting on new Associate Members

  • Ricky Finlay
  • Kelly Garofalo
  • David Gordon
  • Tilia Jacobs
  • Brandon Ward
    • Motion made to accept all candidates as presented as new associate members to the FDC by Beverly Hugo; seconded by Chris Lorant.
    • Motion passed unanimously.

New Business, member announcements, general announcements

  • Norma is on Maura Healey’s host committee for her annual Women for Maura event on Tuesday, March 30th. It is typically a big-ticket event, but if you would like to attend you can speak to Norma.


  • Motion to Adjourn by Beverly Hugo; seconded by Phil Ottaviani.
    • There was no discussion; Motion passed unanimously.
    • The meeting adjourned at 10:21pm

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.