Mass. Democrats are energized

Trump 'train wreck' has activists motivated

THIS SATURDAY, the Massachusetts Democratic Party will hold our largest ever platform convention. Nearly 5,000 delegates are mobilizing to debate, vote, and collectively decide the key issues that represent who we are as a Party. For 1,560 of those assembled, this is the first convention they have ever attended as a delegate.

As chair of the party, I confidently — and enthusiastically — predict that we will not all agree on everything. We’re not supposed to! We must, however, continue to actively engage new, old, no-longer, and never-been Democrats concerned about the future of our Commonwealth and country.

We’re already taking action.

Since being elected chair, I have attended meetings with local Democrats and activists, and have traveled to cities and towns across the state – from Pittsfield to Provincetown. Since November, we’ve seen a surge in activism by residents who are called to action by the train wreck that is the Donald Trump presidency. The crowds at our local Democratic committee meetings are often three or four times larger than they’ve been in years. With a president hell-bent on jumping from one crisis to the next, we are seeing the turnout continue to grow and people have become even more energized.

Across the country, congressional Republicans are being confronted by angry crowds as they work to strip health care from millions of Americans with their attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Here in Massachusetts, members of our congressional delegation are greeted by overflow audiences that are heeding their calls to action.

When President Trump tried to ban people from entering the United States because of their religion, our attorney general, Maura Healey, helped stop him in court. When he claimed massive voter fraud helped Hillary Clinton win the popular vote, Secretary of State William Galvin told him to put up or shut up. When he vowed to strip federal funding for sanctuary cities, Mayors Marty Walsh, Joseph Curtatone, and Daniel Rivera remained steadfast in their commitment to protecting our immigrant communities. We refuse to conscript city officials to join the president in his bullying of immigrants and their families.

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker continues to remain complicit by his silence.

With the president of the United States under investigation for colluding with the Russian government to rig our election, concerns about the ability of the Democratic Party to capitalize on increased grassroots activism are proving to be unfounded. In town halls, schools, churches, and community centers, we are rebuilding our party from the ground up based on a shared set of priorities and values.

By listening to all of the voices in our diverse communities, Massachusetts Democrats are organizing to move our Commonwealth forward.

We’re working to fully fund our schools and move toward high-quality public education from preschool through college for every person in our state. We’re organizing to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, combat wage theft and workplace discrimination, and ensure that every worker has paid family and medical leave. We’re demanding aggressive action to prevent and mitigate the effects of climate change and protect our environment.

We’re demanding comprehensive criminal justice reform that includes the removal of mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent crimes. We’re fighting for the investments needed to give our residents, communities, and businesses the 21st century multi-modal transportation system they deserve.

Meet the Author

Gus Bickford

Chairman, Massachusetts Democratic Party
We will fight the regressive Republican agenda at home and in Washington, and will pursue a forward-thinking, progressive agenda of our own to demonstrate that Massachusetts is a leading alternative to President Trump’s vision of America. We’re working to increase voter participation and activity in all of our communities and remain steadfast in our commitment to growing and strengthening our party at all levels.

Our proposed 2017 party platform, which we will be voting on at our convention, was shaped by the testimony we received from hundreds of Democrats at our public hearings throughout the state. While we may not always agree, now is the time for our party to come together, actively organize and mobilize, and fight for our democracy, for the common good, and for the working families of the Commonwealth.

Gus Bickford is chairman of Massachusetts Democratic Party.