Members: Mike Hugo, Beverly Hugo, Gwen Holbrow, 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, Kathie McCarthy, Larry Stoodt, David Magnani Jack Duffy, Carmen Chico, Margareth Shepard, Caraline Levy, Adam Steiner, Jim Hansen, Chris Lorant, Patrick Dunne, Barbara Fontes
Associate Members: Ohad Klopman, Andrew Machkasov, Shahid Khan, Joel Winett, Pamela Roberts
Guests: Liam Horsman, Rachel Haydn, Griffin Tighe, Dhruba Sen, Audrey Hall
Welcome, Announcements and Updates – Chair Mike Hugo
The chair welcomed everyone and brought the meeting to order at 7:03pm. The chair asked for civility amongst members on social media and to stand united instead of taking cheap shots at each other. The FDC is a family and we must act like it.
Commemoration of U.S. Rep. John Lewis – Rosamond Hooper-Hamersley
Today we remember with gratitude and not a little bit of sorrow the courageous and beautiful life of Congressman John Robert Lewis. His just and compassionate leadership can continue to live in us if we follow his mission “to find a way to get in trouble”, as he so often said, “Good trouble, necessary trouble.” And, to eradicate “the scars and stains of racism” that remain entrenched in American society, as he soberly observed. He has emboldened every one of us to stand up. As he fervently urged, “When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have a moral obligation to do something, to say something.” We thank this good and kind man for his fierce and indomitable service to the country that he loved.
FDC vice co-chair
19 July 2020
A moment of silence was observed to honor the passing and memory of U.S. Representative John Lewis.
Reports from Mayor, City Council & School Committee
Mayor’s Office – Not in attendance
Adam Steiner – Council meeting this Tuesday with two items that will draw a lot of attention. The first is an apartment moratorium and the second is whether to expand the ZBA from 3- 5 members. Also wants to bring attention to two collectives bargaining agreements for Librarians and DPW workers. Finance Subcommittee of the Council tried to push back but eventually supported the CBA’s with unanimous vote and hoping for the same result with the full council.
Cesar Stewart-Morales – There is a proposal by another council to convert the Police Advisory Committee into a Police Oversight Committee and that is working its way through the process. The Council voted to support the Community Preservation Act unanimously at our last meeting and it will be on the ballot in November. The Council just needs to vote on some technical language of the ballot question on Tuesday.
Margareth Shepard – going to be starting a web radio show in Portuguese on news and information from the City and the City Council. Eventually the show will also include election related matters. Right now, the web radio company is allowing her to do the show for free, but she is looking for sponsors to help support her show eventually.
Robert Case – Monday is an Appointments Subcommittee meeting as the Mayor has made several appointments recently and they continue to come in. The full Council will vote on those on appointments on Tuesday.
Adam Freudberg – There is no right answer on how to re-open schools. Superintendent started a series of community discussions on schools re-opening. Extra School Committee meetings have also been scheduled to make sure we are thoroughly discussing this issue and have the best information to decide. We have partnered with the Board and Health and Dr. Wong as well and we are lucky to have him on our side. Stay tuned.
Beverly Hugo – The Superintendent is having several discussions and the school committee is being very diligent. There is a 50-person task force on reopening schools. We are leaving no stone unturned and listening to credible science. We must work to make sure we do right by students, teachers and staff. We review all data to make sure it is credible because only 3 members of the DESE COVID task force are from the healthcare field.
Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III will drop in to say hello and discuss his campaign and opportunities to help with his efforts.
The chair welcomes Representative Kennedy and introduced him. Rep Kennedy stood up to President Trump during his response to the State of the Union and was prophetic in his words when he said the President would try to use the Justice Dept to roll back freedoms and civil rights for Americans.
Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III – Thank you to the committee for working together to support the Democratic Party and Democrats up and down the ticket. Special thanks to Jack Duffy and Carmen Chico for pulling this opportunity together to speak to the FDC. Thank you for also recognizing the passing and life of John Lewis. It is up to all his to make sure his contributions are remembered, and his legacy goes on.
He got into this race because he thinks to be the country we need to be, we need stronger leadership in the Senate. Senator Markey has made a lot of important contributions, but we have learned that with the same old people in leadership the American dream is still out of reach for far too many people. We are a country that has been torn down by COVID-19 with over 130,000 dead and over 100,000 sick in the Commonwealth, where a minimum wage worker cannot afford a two-bedroom apartment in any neighborhood in America. As he crossed the Commonwealth over the past few days, he has seen we are a state and country that is still struggling during this pandemic. People are still hopeful about the future, but they know it is going to be a struggle to get out of our current situation and we need change to get there and that is why he is running.
Top 3 agenda items if you are elected? Ending the filibuster, passing house version of HR 1 (campaign finance reform, ending gerrymandering, etc.), so we can focus more on overhaul of mental healthcare system, working on climate change, ensuring economic dignity of every American.
What two issues have you taken leadership on in the House? I have been the leader in Congress on access to mental healthcare, work on eliminating systemic racism by increasing educational opportunities for racial minorities and underserved communities. My work on civil rights and mental health care are what I am proud of in my work, in particular access for minorities.
What can you do and are doing to help employ tens of millions of American across the country? Working with colleagues in the House to make sure people get relief more quickly than the PPP program and more efficiently. Jobs and Justice initiative has been rolled out the last few weeks and getting feedback because policy does not affect people the way they always think it will. This bill will give immediate COVID response for contact tracing and testing, help small business renovate their businesses to operate during pandemic, give restaurants fund to buy more clear dividers and outdoor seating, build websites for online ordering, etc. Phase II is taking down structural problems that got us into this place, large scale infrastructure issues, new green response and offshore wind ability, looking at our supply chains and changing why things should and can be made here instead of relying on China. The Federal government long term contracting program is terrible.
Why didn’t you jump in the race for Governor when you have far more recognition than other Democrats in the last race? Because I did not want to run for Governor. I was happy to lead in my district and help other colleagues run for office.
What type of Constitutional changes would you pursue to help stop another Trump like Presidency? First abolish the Electoral College, ending the filibuster, and Supreme Court reform. The one that needs to happen is abolish the relic of the Electoral College and that is where I would start.
If Democrats do not take back control of Congress and the White House in the next cycle what is your strategy to get things done? Every piece of legislation that I have done and ever passed have all been done with Republican leadership in the House, the Senate, the Presidency, or all three. I am proud of the way I have been able to push the envelope on the issues I care about. I have been able to support these issues while holding Republicans accountable. I can work with Republicans, but I am going to do everything possible to unseat them.
The chair thanked the Representative for his time and hopes to see him more often in Framingham.
Comments by Rachel Hayden and Griffin Tighe
Griffin Tighe – Glad to see everyone is doing well. If supporters are looking to help on any activities you want to participate in such as phone banking, or visibilities, or anything you are interested. We are in get out the vote season and we need all hands-on deck and we need help in our virtual phone banks.
Rachel Haydn – We also have lawn signs. Send a text message to get a lawn sign.
Rozzy Hooper-Hamersley – In concrete terms how do you feel the legislative record of Rep. Kennedy eclipses that of Sen. Markey? – Griffin Tighe – Legislatively the Senator has much to be proud of but being a Senator from MA is more than about how you file bills. It is about how you go across the country and even into areas that are hostile to Democrats and raise money and help Dems get elected so we are having an impact nationwide. Joe is the man for the job in that regard, he is a prolific speaker and he cares about the issues and resonates well with his people. We know how he is going to be a Senator because we know Joe because he is not afraid to travel to places and speak to people. I know you will have your disagreements no matter what I say, but that is why I am supporting Joe. Rachel Haydn – Just to tailcoat off that, Joe highlighted his three priorities if he is elected as the next Senator and he highlighted three things he has taken the lead on in the House. If you would like more information on that we would be happy to talk offline. We do not want to take up any more time. Do not hesitate to reach out to us for anything.
Discussion of the Undocumented Immigrant Drivers’ License Bill – Pablo Ruiz, SEIU, DSC
The chair introduced Pablo Ruiz as Deputy Director of the State Committee for SEIU and working to help pass the Driver’s License Bill. He is at an encampment in front of the State House where several undocumented people are fighting to make their voice heard and to pass this bill.
There are 20-25 people on any given night. Started on Friday night and it has not been pleasant weather wise. However, people are excited to turn up the temperature and get this bill passed.
Pablo presented a shared PowerPoint with information and background on the House and Senate versions of the bill.
Only asking for the standard driver’s license, not the REAL ID. Over 200 member organizations have joined together to pass fight for this bill. Testing, licensing, and insuring all driver’s make the roads safer for everyone. There is no safe way to ride the MBTA during the pandemic. So, immigrant workers need a license knowing what we know. More driver’s have a positive effect on our state’s economy. Traffic stops are the top trigger to deportation and families being separated. Immigrants are on the front lines of our essential workforce cleaning and harvesting our food. 16 other states and DC and Puerto Rico have already passed this law. The bill has earned the endorsement of the MA Major Cities Chiefs of Police Association. Bill currently in the Senate Ways and Means Committee.
Norma Shulman – Didn’t see Marian Ryan’ name in the list? She is not on the list and hope to get DA Ryan to support the bill and has stated publicly in an incredibly positive way. We have not received her official support yet, which would be a majority of the DA’s in the Commonwealth. If anyone has a connection, please reach out to her.
Caraline Levy – Just a comment that went an undocumented immigrant get a traffic violation they must go to a court magistrate, and they pay significant fines which is not fair.
Margareth Shepard – Thank you for explaining the bill in detail. It has been 10 years since we started pushing for this bill. She introduced a resolution to the City Council, and it passed by majority vote, only three councilors Leombruno, King and Cannon abstained because they did not believe we as a city should be involved.
Motion made by Margareth Shepard to support the resolution to support the Driver’s License Bill; seconded by Jack Duffy. Discussion:
Cesar Stewart-Morales – Thank you to Pablo. Our community has a strong immigrant community and passing this act will benefit Framingham directly. I urge everyone to affirm and pass this resolution. There is no good reason why our residents and others throughout the state should not be able to drive their kids to school and go to work.
The motion passes. The chair will get the exact vote from this tape.
Secretary’s Report – Minutes of June 28, 2020, Business Meeting – Robert Case, Secretary
Draft minutes for the previous meeting were emailed out to everyone. If there are any changes, please let me know. The chair thanked the Secretary for the thoroughness of the past minutes.
Motion to approve by Rozzy Hooper-Hamersley, Seconded by Mel Warshaw. No further discussion.
Motion approved unanimously.
Treasurer’s Report – Larry Stoodt
Annual Dues are due. 22 members who have paid their dues, 5 associate members and 3 lifetime members who have also paid their dues or made arrangements. That is not a very high percentage. Last balance on May 31st we had $4,311.68, collected $137.25 and we received $0.35 in interest. We had $4,449.28 we spent $15.93 on our zoom account which leaves us with $4,333.35. We received dues from Jim Hansen, Beverly and Mike Hugo, Pat and Maureen Dunne, Robert Case, Pamela Roberts and Andrew Machkasov. The Treasure put his mailing address in the chat window for members to mail their dues to him or to contact him for an arrangement.
The five associate members who have paid are Yvonne Spicer, Tracey Bryant, Pamela Roberts Andrew Machkasov, and Maureen Dunne.
If you have been elected in the past as an associate member your dues are due now as well. A few attendees have mentioned they would like to become an associate member and there will be a time at the end of this meeting tonight for them to introduce themselves. They will be put up for a vote at the next regular meeting. Openings as members do occur throughout the year and only associate members will be considered to fill the vacancy.
Candidates & Campaigns
- MetroWest for Biden –Beverly Hugo
A successful kickoff with over 65 participants on the MetroWest for Biden. There is a phonebank every Thursday evening at 6:30pm. There will be a short training and you will be giving credentials on how to join the phonebank. You can call during the week as well with that same info until the next Thursday. Parwez Wahid and Kurt Fusaris are the captains of MetroWest for Biden. Email if you would like to get involved. We need everyone to be part of this missions.
- Ed Markey – Liam Horsman
Ask everyone to go to Ed Markey.com/vote to sign up to vote by mail. And please share with others by email and social media. We are also continuing with local Framingham phonebanks and calling folks in your district. Phone banks are on Sundays, Monday, and Thursdays and we have been having great success. Voters are going to be starting to return ballots soon and we need to get out the word now.
The chair included the ballot application in today’s email to members.
Report from our House Delegation, discussion of current issues and challenges
Jack Lewis – Taking up the Police Reform bill this week. We have added three members to the House Progressive caucus and now have 61 members of the House. A group is pushing hard to have the session extended. There is great momentum for the Driver’s License bill. He has received more email for this bill than any other during his time in the House. Safe Communities Act was voted out of committee with a favorable report. We have not passed an omnibus environmental bill yet and we are hopeful that it will get through the conference committee before it is too late. Still no state budget so we must do that. Concerned to hear there could be a deficit of $4-$8 BILLION dollars which will make it difficult for municipalities to budget. The state house must look more at progressive revenues. Please reach out just know the next 11 days are going to be time consuming. Constituents who live in our city are organized and do not have our values, so we need everyone’s support.
Maria Robinson – no word on the Roe Act either, and not feeling hopeful about that. There is energy around extending the eviction moratorium. Gov. Baker can do it for a certain period of time to avoid massive homelessness that we are about to experience. With unemployment system not working well and the extra $600 a month ending at the end of July the state needs to act now instead of having to find homes for thousands of people who will be evicted. A lot of chatter about schools reopening and as Dems we need to remind people this sits at the Governors feet and his administration. Part of the reason the Roe Act is not moving is because the same Senator wrangling the bill is also wrangling the Police Reform Bill.
Norma Shulman – Why is it so challenging to pass the Roe Act? Is there anything we can do or anyone we can call? Where is the opposition? There about 30 colleagues who are going out on the limb for the Police Reform Bill and they do not want to go that far out on the limb for the Roe Act as well. Several colleagues are conservative Democrats who in other states would be Republicans and they are not shy about stopping things from moving forward. We did ban female genital mutilation in the House, and it took years for us to do that. We still have not banned child marriage; we also have not done the healthy youth act. We should be able to ban police officers from having sexual relations with those in their custody in the Police Reform Bill.
Subcommittee Reports, discussions, actions and votes:
- Bylaws – Mel Warshaw – no report.
- Communications – Gwen Holbrow/Jim Hansen – met shortly after the last meeting and discussed members concerns over disrespectful treatment of Brandale Randolph. Apologies were made on our subcommittee and to Brandale directly. Also concern over the zoom link and details being posted for the last meeting and all members should be reminded part of the member agreement is not to share any emails or info for members with anyone. In order to keep control of our narrative and publicize events we are going to start sending out press releases again and Mary Kate Feeney has offered to help do this.
- Civics Education – Beverly Hugo – we meet on the 4th Friday evening of every month except November and December which will be the third Friday. We are going to concentrate helping residents fill out the census forms to not lose out on federal money headed up by Patrick Dunne. Kurt Fusaris and Andrew Machkasov are heading up the effort to get out info for the primary and general election which include a sample ballot, a brochure on why it’s important to vote and it will be distributed to the local colleges and real estate agents, senior center, LWV, and social media groups. Barb LeDuc will head up putting together a calendar of ways to get involved with campaigns.
- Environmental/Climate Change – Larry Stoodt – Two resolutions from the subcommittee to consider. The first to support H3983 a Roadmap Bill which puts time frame on the Global Warming Solutions Act. The bill is hung up in the Ways and Means Committee
Vote taken; Resolution passes unanimously.
Second resolution for H 4264 to create rules around environmental justice in communities which bear the brunt of the weight when it comes to fossil fuel storage facilities such as East Boston and Weymouth.
Pat Dunne makes the motion and Adam Steiner seconded to support the resolution. Discussion:
Pat Dunne – made the motion because we have our own environmental justice issues here in Framingham and Brandale shared at our last meeting he could not find suitable space to open his business on the south side of the City.
Resolution passed unanimously.
- Legislative – Kurt Fusaris/Barb LeDuc – Unanimous in support of the Driver’s License Bill after meeting with Pablo as a subcommittee. We are recommending the full committee vote to support this as well.
Mike Hugo gives an update on the police Reform bill and we are not doing a resolution but asking every member to call their reps at the State level. The issue with the Police Reform issue is with qualified immunity of an officer. The legislation was introduced on January 20, 2019 and on Sept 17, 2019 there was a hearing on all police matters in the Senate. Police Union Reps and lobbyist were present, and no one said anything about qualified immunity. Those same union reps, officers, and lobbyist said nothing as the bill moved through the Senate. The police reps stopped the proceedings in the Senate saying they had no knowledge of including qualified immunity in the form bill and the Senate President held a conference at the back of the chamber with senators and police reps. They answered every question the police reps had about qualified immunity. They claimed the confusion continued and the Senate President held a Saturday meeting with police reps again. The Senate added provision to indemnify an officer against the first Million dollars if a judgement was issued in a case. Officers were being told if an officer goes to court, they will lose their house. The Senate passed their version and as soon as it could get to the Speaker of The House’s office the reps did too with the story that no one knew qualified immunity was included in the bill and knew nothing about what it was about and the Senate pulled a fast one on them. The Senate President has asked our committee has asked us to bombard the Speaker of the House and the Chair of the Ways and Means committee to say the police reps are trying to pull a fast one on the State House.
David Magnani – Where can we find language of the section we are advocating for? The chair will email it out to everyone.
Kathie McCarthy – We must be careful as Democrats to realize our police and fire departments and public employees do not want to go into their line of work to hurt others. We must realize some people in some places in the country are not trained right. When we call the police, they come whether you are Democrat, Republican, Independent or whatever. We do not want to disenfranchise them because we want their vote to. We must be careful not to make them the enemy and stereotype a group of people.
Jack Lewis – I will be voting yes on every amendment on the reform bill and supporting it fully.
- Outreach – Carmen Chico – Dhruba Sen brought a resolution to support the Black Lives Matter in some way. The subcommittee is focused on making sure Joe Biden wins New Hampshire and Maine and Susan Collins is defeated in Maine. We were one vote short of a quorum and could not issue a recommendation tonight. Julia Barton was introduced to the outreach committee and to Carmen and Jack and she is looking forward to getting more involved.
Julia Barton will be put up for a vote as an associate member at the next meeting.
- Programming – Rosamond Hooper-Hamersley & Cesar Stewart-Morales
You received the proposed programming for the next calendar year and our next big focus is on race and multiculturalism and advocacy for those among us who are vulnerable. We have a small working group of Rozzy, Cesar, Jack Lewis, Barbara Fontes, and Mike who are working on this. Our goals so far are to participate in the conversation on diversity and race that the country is having right now.
Reports of Grass Roots Organizations
- Report on Together for 2020 – Mike Hugo
Together2020.com is the website and if you want to make any calls to any state and in any of the swing states you can find a phone bank on almost every day.
- Report on Progressive Framingham/MetroWest – Beverly Hugo
We are the newest Progressive MA chapter and our territory includes all of Sen. President Spilka’s district. We advocate for statewide and national progressive change on issues such as racial and social justice, the economy and shared prosperity, good government, etc. We reviewed all the progressive issues with the state director of Progressive MA. We welcome everyone to our next meeting on Tuesday to discuss the book White Fragility by Robin D’Angelo. Endorsements just came out and Progressive MA just endorsed Ed Markey for Senate and all three of our State Reps were endorsed and all have A’s or A+’s on their report cards. See Beverly if you need any further info.
State Committee Report – Parwez Wahid
Carmen Gentile’s race is getting more heated and his opponent is getting more aggressive. Anyone with lawn signs locations for him please let him know. The State Committee is looking for volunteers to flip Susan Collins’ seat in Maine. There will be a vote by mail training on July 24th and on July 27th the Rule Committees will be hosting a public forum on a resolution for the platform committee that no State Dem Party financial help will be given to anyone who supported the Baker/Polito ticket in 2018. The election of the Electoral College will take place at the next State Committee meeting and anyone who wants to run must submit a letter of intent by July 29th. There is an effort called Mobilize Mass to coordinate MA Dems to help down ballot races in swing states. For more info contact the MA State Dem party.
The chair reminded everyone of how much money the Republican party gave to Janet Leombruno so imagine how much they would pay to flip a State House seat.
National Convention – Norma Shulman
There are some hot state rep races going on and if you want to get involved just contact the State Committee. The national convention will be all virtual and will get more info very soon.
Member Comments, and Announcements
Kathie McCarthy made a motion to adjourn, seconded by Mel Warshaw. The motion passed unanimously.
The meeting adjourned at 9:41pm
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 August 16th