Meeting Attendees: 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, Mary Kate Feeney, 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, Tom Mahoney, Caraline Levy, Adam Steiner, Jim Hansen
Associate Members: Ohad Klopman, Andrew Machkasov, Chris Lorant, Vanessa Poindexter, Cindy Rubin, Joel Winett, Shahid Khan, Tracey Bryant
Guests: Senate President Karen Spilka, Liam Horsman, Zoe Silverman, Isabella Petroni, Julia Barton
Welcome, Announcements and Updates – Chair Mike Hugo
Call to order at 7:04pm – Welcome to new attendees. Thank you for showing up on time. If you have time, we do a lot of campaign work and you are always welcome to join us.
Highlighted decorum and civility rules at the beginning of the meeting. All comments are made with a good intent and should be heard as such. When you signed up, you signed up to do campaign work to elect Democrats and you will be called on to do that.
Zoom Protocols, from Communications Subcommittee – Jim Hansen and Gwen Holbrow
Gwen – briefs highlights of zoom procedures. Biggest point is do not interrupt and use the hand raising feature in the participants list. Keep microphone muted unless you are speaking. Background noise can be loud, and host may mute you. Remember you are on camera and do not do anything you don’t want on video.
In the future we include Ohad’s contact info or whoever is helping to run Zoom along with the Chair.
Mike – Attendance will be if you say hello in chat. And we will do it again later.
Reports from Mayor, City Council & School Committee
Mayor – No one attending from the Mayor’s Office.
Adam Steiner – City budget is the big item now. Finance subcommittee tomorrow night. Mary Ellen Kelly will be at subcommittee to provide details. There have been several furloughs and layoffs and it has been stressful time. We all need to reach out to our federal delegation and elected leaders REGARLDESS of party to ask the federal government for financial support. Please don’t give up and don’t take it for granted. We need people to contact reps.
Robert Case – There will be a joint meeting with the school committee on Tuesday night with our local state delegation to get an update on what’s going on and what it means for Framingham.
Cesar Stewart-Morales– The environmental subcommittee will be meeting before the end of the month to go over CPA, a green energy aggregation plan, and citizen environmental group. A Citizens Environmental Commission is important for the city’s future.
Tracey Bryant– Food efforts are going well. Churches are helping school district to help feed families in need. More residents are being mask conscious. Rules Subcommittee will be discussing elected officials sitting on more than one board. Urge everyone to keep social distancing and wearing masks. Single moms with kids at home doing schoolwork they need assistance. And mental health aspect has been a big challenge.
Margareth Shepard – Main concern of City Council is the city budget and school budget. If you have any suggestions, please contact your councilor. We need residents input locally before we vote the budget.
Adam Freudberg – Joint meeting with legislature and regular meeting on wed., tracking remote learning and scenario planning for next year, long term planning, and enrollment surge. COVID budgets are depressing and we have a team of great people working hard to educate our children. Focus on kids’ social interactions and mental health more important than test scores in his opinion and to make learning as equitable as possible.
Beverly Hugo – Parents are grappling with remote learning. Office of teaching and learning to discuss phase 3 of learning starting now until the end of June. A lot of work is through subcommittees and you can see the list of meetings on the city’s website. Link will be in the chat.
Candidates & Campaigns
Liam Horsman for Senator Markey Campaign – We are on the ballot so thank you to everyone who helped. Over 26,000 signatures and counting even though deadline is passed. We are looking at Sept 1 primary. What does the primary look like and how people will be voting. We expect many to do early voting or absentee ballots. Absentee ballots can be sent in starting in July, so volunteer teams need to start as soon as possible. Sen. Markey need our help in reaching out to the voters of Framingham and reaching out to voters. Call on Wed night at 7:30pm and he will give out info for that call. Most of outreach will be reaching out to voters in your district and precincts. Our campaign has a new fellow which is Zoey Silverman which will be working with us in MetroWest. Zoe is excited to be working here, grad of FHS in 2018.
Maria Robinson for Carmen Gentile Re-election Campaign – Carmen is running for re-election with republican opponent and she has a local Framingham access tv show. Jack and Maria are helping Carmen with social media and they will be reaching out.
Mike Hugo – Carmen’s opponent is a very conservative candidate and we need to let them know there is no place for that in Framingham.
Beverly Hugo for Biden Campaign– Beverly will give a report from Biden campaign next time. They are organizing in Framingham.
Shahid Khan – Sec Kerry is working with Shahid on fundraiser in middle of June for Biden. Fundraiser for Markey on 16th.
Jack Duffy – During the month of April Biden and the Dems came within 2% of Republicans fundraising.
Tracey Bryant – the challenger to Carmen Gentile is not an elected official currently.
Norma Shulman– There are 4 important special elections in Mass coming up soon for senate and house. Ask Norma for more info on how to help.
Report from our House Delegation, discussion of current issues and challenges
Featured Program, Senate President Karen Spilka, joined by State Reps for a group Q&A session
Chair introduced the Senate President. He has been dealing with COVID issues and writing opinions on public health issues, and never has a State Senate or House been so poised to be able to pass legislation quickly. We are fortunate to have Karen as both our Senator and as our Senate President. The legislature does the real work to make things happen.
Senate President Karen Spilka – Thank you for helping with the special elections for the State Senate. 8-9 weeks of mail in ballots already. Sue Moran’s opponent ran against Maura Healy and would be destructive for the State Senate. Two terrific Democrats to help the State Senate. She is happy to have been elected as a Biden delegate to the national conference.
Senate – The Senate has adapted to a new normal by being as nimble and communicative as a chamber can be which was deliberately made to be slow and thoughtful body. There is a robust COVID 19 working group and is very active making suggestions and opinions on what can be done to help with communication to the public. Look into legislative issues and if it was urgent to raise it to the Senate President and she would take it to the Executive Branch asap. Daily bulletin of what has happened regarding COVID issues for Senators to send to constituents. Use a buddy system for a Senator to call and text 4-6 other Senators every day to get a sense of what the issues are and what needs attention. Working group gives briefings to entire Senate on what’s important and what is happening, such as COVID surge, small business issues, inequality issues, re-opening issues on Tuesday. Democratic caucus is regularly meeting and continuing to work. Senate quickly approved $50 million to work on this crisis, greatly expanded early voting and voting by mail options, halting moratoriums on evictions, increased support for health care providers, increased flexibility on local levels, passed medical liability protections, moved state tax deadline, made virtual notaries possible, lifted asset limits for benefits and diversity task force for data collection on COVID. Held the first remote formal meeting in the history of the Senate and continuing to work on that process. Working on elections bill to determine mailing in or early voting have more robust plans, still hoping to do transportation bond bill and the Senate passed very strong climate bill – the strongest in the country to make our state net zero by 2050. The bill creates an independent oversight agency to make sure we stay on course. Greening of MBTA bus fleet and use carbon pricing for the first time. And net zero stretch building code for local municipalities to opt into. Worked mental health reform and public health announcements on mental issues relating to COVID isolation and depression. Will support re-opening when public health officials say its ok. Working with legislative and Executive Branch officials to agree on one budget process and at least start with 1/12 budget to start the fiscal year but we can’t use last year’s data. We are going to be 4-6 billion dollar short for 2021 and would not be surprised going to 5-7 billion. Working hard to lobby federal govt for flexible funds to go to state and local governments. During 2008 local funding cut 28% and chapter 70 education funding was level funded for two years only because the federal government gave us money to plug the hole. We have a hefty rainy day account at around $3.5billion, but it would go quickly and it wouldn’t cover all of our needs. We need to get federal funding to plug the hole. Working with Senators Warren and Markey to obtain that money.
Joel Winett – What is the update on the bill about virtual notaries? Answer: It is signed into law and working well.
Jack Duffy – Is the governor returning the respect that the legislature deserves? Answer: I think so. It’s a weird situation with the state of emergency in MA and on calls with national state legislatures and other Senate Presidents they are surprised she speaks to the Governor several times a week and he gives her notice of executive orders, even though he has more power during state of emergency. He generally responds quickly when there is an important issue and she needs to talk. She is pushing him to look at childcare and education.
Caraline Levy – Thank you. What is status for our most vulnerable, the ROE act and prisoners who are exposed? What about high rates of people in assisted living and what are we doing? Answer: 63 out of 190 prisoners at MCI Framingham were positive and most were asymptomatic, and none had to go to the hospital. Pushing to make sure the superintendent had the support for the prison and supplies they needed, down to changing air filters every two weeks. They are finally getting that under control. Medical parole for those that are ill needs to be looked at more. Working with other senators and Secretary of Human Health to make sure nursing homes and long-term facilities to get more staff, to make sure the staff is there, and staff is being tested. National guard is helping to provide medical help and testing help. Most were 20% understaffed for one reason or another. Majority of deaths have been from long term care facilities.
Jack Lewis – A guard sent a whistleblower letter. There are now weekly phone calls with Dept of Corrections and those have been extended to a large number of Reps and other Departments. They are now able to obtain info and pushing them to obtain more info and let Representatives know what is going on.
Karen – There was a Senator who was denied access to a prison by a Sherriff. We are launching an investigation into this and will make it very clear this is State law and State Lawmakers cannot be denied entry again.
Maria Robinson – Dealing with people who are detained by ICE is so important. They now have hand sanitizers and other supplies and testing inmates. They hope to continue to keep pushing Dept of Corrections so more staff are on board to get tested and prisoners can be quarantined when warranted, just to make sure everyone is safe and they are getting their rights as prisoners.
Chair Hugo – The letter we received from the corrections officer was reporting the superintendent suspended a worker because he would not remove his mask, things are getting better but still not great. Peter Koutoujian has had a highly active program of de-incarnation due to COVID.
Isabella Petroni – We know it’s a respiratory disease and there are fears of setbacks for green initiatives. Is there legislation to protect that? Answer: There is a Senate bill now to have the state be net zero by 2050 and charge carbon pricing fees. And MBTA net zero by 2040. With ridership down and cars down we can have fixes on public transit while it is down and pushing the transpiration bond bill. We should use this time period to fix issues so when we build back to full capacity, we can be more prepared.
Tracey Bryant – Transportation is a big need for her district and other environmental issues. Is 2050 the soonest to get there? Answer: People feel that is the soonest and a lot needs to be done to get there. Stretch energy codes for municipalities and the state needs to figure that out. Need to pass the law to get there and it will be very ambitious for us to get there.
Chair Hugo – Thank you to the Senate President for being with us tonight. He “worries” he cannot top tonight’s’ presentation, and this is his first full meeting as chair.
Senate President Spilka – She is happy to attend any time. Thank you to the committee for all of their work.
Report from our House Delegation, discussion of current issues and challenges
Maria Robinson – We are voting on a big IT bill which. If you have a Hotmail email address and want to share input, please email from another email. They have included earmarks for the Framingham courthouse and earmarks for wi-fi across Framingham since students must sometimes sit in parking lots in libraries for access. All of our state delegation is on weekly phone calls with Mayor Spicer. Feel free to reach out to them to share issues with the Mayor as well. Not sure what Governor is going to announce tomorrow and asks everyone for patience and kindness. It’s incredibly stressful and they need to make sure you stay safe. We do not want to just go loose and let people die. They are getting emails that are important and pushing that to leadership, such as education and AP test, cancelling MCAS, undocumented individuals getting stimulus checks, etc. They are always happy to help.
Jack Lewis – Thank you for helping them all get on the ballot with signatures. A lot of work lately helping residents with unemployment issues and connecting them to federal services. If we can be helpful in any way whether it is state related or not, feel free to reach out and happy to help find the right person. Working on putting together best practices for progressive caucus members. Working on how to push Governor on issues. Pandemic is bringing out the best in some and the worst in others. Nudging others to push governor to not put profits above human lives. Confident that Governor will proceed cautiously but they need to constantly remind Governor and push him to do certain issues. MetroWest workers Center is doing great work and doing a good job bridging the gap to help the workers. If you can help these organization or able to donate to nonprofits that would be great.
Chair – The key slogan right now should be people over profits. Look at how many of the members of the state’s Reopening Commission are CEO’s and those people are going to report on when it is safe to come out of houses. Only 2 have public health experience. Our governor is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He is appointing all these businesspeople to make decisions.
Subcommittee Reports, discussions, actions and votes:
- Bylaws – Mel Warshaw – The subcommittee is coming back to life after being quiet for some time. 3 meetings so far. Good members who can disagree and be cordial. Endorsements – we will not be going forward tonight with presenting about endorsements and whether our by-laws confirm with state by-laws. No rush to do this and we should do the research to take time and get this right. Planning to make first presentation to committee in Sept. and voting at October meeting. The subcommittee will continue to work over the summer.
- Communications –Jim Hansen – Subcommittee met on May 4th. Reviewed all the communications assets we have and how to have security and still reach our intended audiences. We believe all regular and life members are in the IO group, but not sure about associate members, If you need access contact Jim or Norma Shulman to get access. Gwen – please remember patience and to be civil.
- Civics Education – Beverly Hugo held a subcommittee meeting on May 15th and it was great. Continuing excellent work of former chair, Pat Dunne and updating brochure on why people should vote. Already translated into Portuguese and Carmen Chico will translate into Spanish. Subcommittee evenly divided between those who want to work on local issues and candidates (census, getting out voters, true facts, etc.) and second group are into state issues, Markey or Kennedy campaign work on this. Thurs. night Framingham Dems will have joint meeting with Progressive Framingham to hear about working on legislative issues. People who want to work on national elections and candidates. In order to coordinate with others we should have every two weeks and a regular calendar of events on ways to get involved and things to do. Working with members and skill sets. Inform members on Democratic events and any issues that warrant our attention.
Jack Duffy – Comment on communication subcommittee and it has been doing a heroic job to get info out to the committee and we have great assets.
Norma has put in the chat box on how to join IO groups.
- Environmental/Climate Change – Larry Stoodt – The first subcommittee meeting was held on May 6th to discuss wide variety of issues. Break down along lines of local issues and state issues. State side brought forth resolution because house is not on the same side as the senate. Anyone has ideas please reach out to Larry and they will deal with it.
- Legislative – Kurt Fusaris/Barb LeDuc – Subcommittee has an emergency item for equal stimulus payment that Jack Lewis alluded to. Mike Hugo has drafted a great piece of testimony.
- Margareth – Undocumented are not supported by fed, state or local governments to receive help with stimulus payments, housing, unemployment, etc. MA law association lead the way to provide legislation for the state to provide stimulus funds to undocumented. It is important for our committee to write in support of this bill.
- Mike Hugo – this is testimony provided on behalf of the committee. People who are working and filing taxes, pay the same taxes, file like we do and get no benefit from the feds. State set aside money for undocumented residents.
Kurt Fusaris – Makes motion that the committee supports letter of testimony from Mike Hugo and it be submitted to Sen. Eldredge tonight, Larry Stoodt seconded. 39 attending tonight. No further discussion.
Yes-Unanimously voted to support the motion.
Voting members are full members, lifetime members, not associate members, or guests.
Poll was created by Ohad to record vote.
Chair Hugo recommended a letter be sent to Senator Spilka to collect COVID data in an equitable manner.
Discussion – Legislation in the House to nail down data on COVID. Data needs to be equitable to help more. Make data stronger with demographic factors. Several diverse communities being affected, and no one is paying much attention. Senate made it so Governor must give specific actions he took to make sure inequities are brought forth. To increase frequency, reports instead of every two weeks must be weekly. Improve reporting that presumptive positive cases be reported. If you are of color, chances you are not getting a test and not being counted among the numbers. Must make presumption that they are positive. Make legislative not all business leaders and we want a member of the community to represent each diverse group who are disproportionately affected by COVID.
Tracey Bryant– Please capitalized Black and White when talking about groups of people.
Margareth Shepard– Shared a link in the chat room to support this request.
Mike Hugo made the motion to send the letter to Senator Spilka; Mel Warshaw seconded.
No further discussion
Vote: Yes – 28 – 0 with no abstentions. Unanimously approved.
Larry Stoodt brought forth a Roadmap Bill and submitted a resolution that benchmarks for reducing carbon emission by 2050. This is for the House since the Senate has already approved.
Motion to approve the resolution by Mike Hugo; Seconded by Kurt Fusaris
Tracey Bryant– Will this get ahead of or beat the date of no return before we cannot stop the turning point. Answer: Your guess is as good as mine. We need to do so much; we know where it’s going but there is still a lot of unknown like COVID 19. It’s a huge step forward to do this. If this were to pass the house it would match up with the Senate bill. This is the tool to fight and requires administration to give us info on what they have actually done.
Vote: Yes – 24-0 no abstentions – unanimously approved.
Vote by mail – We would like to support the general principal of voting by mail. No real resolution on which method to use, but we want the committee to support the idea in principal.
Mike Hugo made motion to approve; Barbara Le Duc seconded
No further discussion.
Vote: Yes – 25 – 0 with 3 abstentions. Motion passes.
Outreach Subcommittee – Margareth Shepard and Carmen Chico– Hosted first meeting of the Outreach Subcommittee. Developed a plan of goals and how to outreach to different groups. Julia Barton just moved here from Kansas City and eager to get involved.
Programming & Charity – Rozzy Hooper-Hamersley – presented document to members about proposal for events and speakers for the next year. Please communicate back to Rozzy and Cesar Stewart-Morales about what speakers to have. June will be time to make decisions on speakers after membership has given input.
Chair – this will be emailed out to everyone. Month of June will be goals set for each subcommittee.
Treasurer report – $4,755.47 in the bank and collected $200 in dues on 4/27; given interested of .40 and .38 for march and April. $20 in dues on May 5th. Reimbursed the chair for Caucus supplies and Zoom Account. Also paid FHS for $570 for use od auditorium during the caucus. $4,811.28 is final total in the bank. Annual Dues are due. Please send them to Larry asap or speak to him if you need to.
Please mail your dues to:
615 Belknap Rd.
Framingham, MA 01701
Motion to approve the Treasurer’s– Kathie McCarthy; Mel Warshaw seconded.
Kathie McCarthy – How many have paid their dues? 12 dues paid and sent out a reminder to pay; virtually no associate members have paid dues yet. Larry will put contact info and send out email reminder again.
Vote to Accept Treasurer Report: Unanimously approved.
Secretary’s Report. Please always let the Secretary know if there are any mistakes or corrections needed. Bunnicula on the last zoom meeting is Jim Hansen.
Kathie McCarthy – motion to approve; seconded by Jack Duffy. No Discussion.
Vote to accept Secretary’s report: Unanimously approved.
Reports of Grass Roots Organizations
- Report on Organizing Corps 2020 – Mike Hugo & David Magnani
- Committed o raise $35k to fund a person in each state. We are at $33k right now and we have two big events coming up. Next event on Thursday night for great evening.
- David Magnani – Thanks to Bev and Mike Hugo for taking over OC2020 and they did a phenomenal job. We are going to pass our $35k goal in July and in early June you are going to get an email and phone call to donate if you haven’t already.
- Mike Hugo will send out a website of organizing joint groups helping OC 2020 and it will give you a calendar of things to do to help Democrats and you will be fascinated.
- Report on Progressive Framingham/MetroWest – Beverly Hugo
- Newest chapter has started. First membership meeting on June 4th at 7pm; Jonathon Cohn is speaking on all progressive candidates and issues and legislation going on in MA and how to get involved. If you want to have a vote there are $5 dues. If you want to be on steering committee donate, but please don’t let money stop you from being involved. Emails will be sent out. Contact Beverly Hugo for details and go on website for Progressive MA. And Facebook group needs to be started and someone to help with that.
Election of Associate Member – Christopher Lorant – waived his speech at the last meeting. Mike Hugo motion to accept, second by Kathie McCarthy. Unanimous vote to support.
Election of Member to Fill Vacant Seat – Mike Hugo – we have an open seat since Cheryl Tully Stoll is now a lifetime member. Mike Hugo made a motion for Chris Lorant to fill the open seat; seconded.
Discussion –Chris stepped up as a member of State Committee and agreed to be ex-officio and gave up his seat so an associate member could go. Vote: Unanimously approved to make him a full member.
State Committee Report – Parwez Wahid
- Massachusetts Democratic State Convention – Parwez Wahid
- No state convention, there might be a unity rally at Tsongas Center if there is one your convention fee will give you a ticket,
- Democratic National Convention – Congrats to Norma Shulman on being elected to national convention as Warren delegate. Karen Spilka elected as Biden delegate to attend convention. – Our state delegation has been the most diverse and that is the same for this convention.
- State Committee Report – Reorganized last month but dormant at the moment.
- Norma Shulman – Going ahead with plans for the Roosevelt Dinner which will recognize Deval Patrick and other person to be recognized will be announced in a couple months. Womens’ outreach subcommittee is sponsoring phonebanks for special elections. Thank you for everyone voting in National Convention district caucuses by mail. She and her Warren associates won the three Warren seats. Convention will be in person, virtual or a hybrid. Voted on people to join subcommittees. Something will be on TV so stayed tuned.
- Was Democrats going to Milwaukee a factor for Republican back lash? Not really. Gus Bickford will be chair of delegation. Republicans think they will have 50k in Charlotte for their convention, but Charlotte Mayor says no. I know a lot of our committee members also supported Senator Warren. Warren will be involved with Democrats in a big way in the future so not to worry.
- David Magnani – thank you for leading a good meeting and extraordinarily difficult meeting tonight.
Shout out to Ohad Klopman! We could not have done tonight’s meeting without his help.
Motion to Adjourn by Jack Duffy, Seconded by Chris Lorant.
Vote: Unanimously approved. Adjourned at 9:47pm.
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: JUNE 28TH AT 7:00 PM