Minutes StateCom Meeting of October 5, 2014
Holyoke Row House, Holyoke, MA
Joanna Herlihy – Alternate (Middlesex County)
M K Merelice
Joyce Palmer Fortune
Mei Hsu - Somerville
Bill Ashley – Campaign manager, Danny Factor campaign
Ian Jackson - Candidate
Vibes watcher: Mike Heichman
Timekeeper: Wes Nickerson
Stacker: Rick Purcell
Call to Order:
Secretary confirmation of quorum: 15 members attended
Quorum was met
Concerns about agenda are:
StateCom meeting should not be secondary to a public event. Move 2:30 item to morning.
Community Uplift Initiative (CUI) - John Andrews requested Party endorsement as a Party initiative and stated that after November election is over the Party will continue with this message. Mike Heichman inquired if CUI is for candidates or the Party? Will there be changes? Joanna commented that CUI is an ongoing document. Merelice approves of this concept.
Selection of next co-facilitators and Statecom meeting:
Dates selected: January 10, 2015 with a snow date of January 24 in Worcester area.
Frank Jackson volunteered to co-chair January 2015 StateCom meeting at the July 12, 2014 StateCom meeting. Joyce Palmer Fortune offered to be co-facilitator.
Approval of Minutes of Previous Minutes:
Corrections: Merelice preparing to give a speech at the tax date event to prior minutes.
Report from candidates – one campaign stop – go to one location with a total of six stops with meaningful region.
Minutes approved as amended.
Co-chairs & AdCom Report:
John clarified function of AdCom and explained that AdCom’s role is to look at all committees of the Party to ensure they are:
- Functioning correctly, ensure decisions made by StateCom are implemented,
- State convention takes place,
- FEC status is in process of being restored,
- AdCom will introduce a budget for 2015 with a guideline on how money should be spent.
- Current cash on hand estimate is $1,600. Fundraising appeal will be mailed soon. Encourage monthly donors at State Convention. New officers will be elected at State Convention.
Scott inquired about FEC and John responded that Sean had some issues making contact with the correct office at the FEC and there are plans in place to transfer some responsibilities to Siggy. It is critical that GRP reports be submitted by the end of 2014.
Status of Lowenthal court case: John reported that no Party funds were spent to help J.P. Lowenthal’s court case. GRP did issue a press release that drew national attention by National Greens.
Sean will email treasurer report to StateCom. John stated that Siggy will be assisting with treasury responsibilities until a new treasurer elected.
Working Committee Reports
Membership Committee – Brian reported that GRP currently has 6,935 registered voters. The count is down from previous estimate of 7,000 voters. Recent updates: New flyers are available and several new members have joined GRP. Scott reported that there was some loss of Green voters because of Don Berwick campaign. Maureen noted that it is important to vote and there still exists an issue about “J” registered voters not being able to vote in a primary. Merelice inquired if any solution has been made to change G voters to J voters. She further commented that G Voters believe they are GRP registered voters and they are not.
Candidate Development & Legal Committee (CDLC) - Maureen Doyle reported that CDLC is holding monthly teleconference meetings and that candidate listserv is sent to David Spanagel, Chair of CDLC. Recent updates: David Spanagel attended a National Green Party teleconference meeting and CDLC implemented Question & Answer section on website to assist potential candidates.
Platform Committee – Joanne reported that Platform committee met once last month. Wayne is willing to be a co-chair of Platform. Merelice thanked Platform for their help with campaigns.
Communications Committee – Ian Jackson announced that he has donation forms. Merelice reported that Dru is updating website. She reminded everyone about ballot questions and inquired about status of ballot write-ups from volunteers. John followed up with comments about position of ballot question for the website. AdCom made a special recommendation to give authority to Dru to update and revamp the GRP website. Brian requested that a Volunteer category be added to website. Mike recommended that a site be created to archive questions and “how to do things” for future candidates.
Diversity Representation Nomination – A nomination was made by Mike to nominate David Gerry to AdCom as Diversity Representative. John seconded the nomination. Nomination means that David would be a voting member of AdCom. There is a possibility for other nominees for diversity position.
Fourteen (14) StateCom members voted for David to be Diversity Representative to AdCom
Nominate Nat Fortune to StateCom
StateCom voted by consensus for Nat Fortune to be seated as a StateCom member.
Carbon Tax Forum – Brian Cady
Brian presented the benefits of implementing a carbon tax in Mass. There followed a discussion about on best way to pass carbon tax legislation. Danny voiced a concern about GRP’s wide breadth view concerning the environment and other factors such as poverty, etc. He inquired if there is a national plan for climate and economic justice? Danny commented that problem is that legislators dictate how legislation will be implemented. Scott stated that many non-profits work on environmental issues but cannot be political and he advocates that members of non-profits register for Green Party. Mike expressed concerns that as the Party moves into 2015, this issue should become part of the broader discussion at State Convention and framed in a broader context. John stated that GRP is endorsing carbon tax and it would be informative to have one person from each political designation speak on where they stand. Filing deadline for carbon tax is in February. Next step:
- Vote to initiate and co-sponsor this proposal and
- Vote that GRP co-sponsors a Mass state carbon tax and policy forum
Right to Feed One’s Family – Gus Steeves
Gus presented a proposal to amend legislation for five acres to raise food. Legislation requires approval at state level. Scott commented that legislation has been helpful for Pittsfield and right to farm community in Egremont, MA. Laws differ from town to town. People in Berkshire County will be favorable to amendment. There are many reasons to help people be self sufficient, such as concerns about –
- Ethical humane treatment of animals
- Large agricultural farm issues
Massachusetts is not the top state for farm animal protection law because of space requirements for animals. This legislation addresses both issues. Mike’s concern is that strategy for GRP is not complete. He suggested more clarification as part of a broader discussion. This proposal is in the discussion stage only. Gus asked how GRP will approach legislators so that legislation can be filed in February. John stated that emphasis on humane treatment of animals is a GRP value. Proposal will be discussed further at January 2015 StateCom meeting.
Break for lunch 11:50 am
Meeting reconvened at 12:48 pm
5 Hampden Street – Lyman Terrace Press Event
GRP Endorsement of Community Uplift Initiative (CUI)
John stated, “Recognizing that the statewide candidate’s outlining a Community Uplift Initiative (CUI) is a living document and that the CUI itself is dynamic and flexible to accommodate the recommendations of the targeted communities, the StateCom endorses the CUI. After the election season, the GRP will urge members and chapters to consider ways in which the CUI can be integrated into the GRP’s core message and serve as means of engagement with a broad constituency, including civil and human rights groups.”
2:30 pm Resumed meeting at Row House
Mike inquired about setting aside some time to address leadership and direction for 2015 at upcoming State Convention, such as public banking, CUI, etc. Danny stated that CUI originated from candidate campaign. Recommendation is to create a sub-committee strategy for the Party leading into 2016. In addition, form town and ward committees statewide for 2015 and run six candidates for state representative and six for state senate for 2016. Focus is on running candidates. Joanna commented that it will require concentration in communities and recruiting people to serve on committees. David Gerry stated that goal is 5% of state representation. Merelice stated that working as a team and learning to work together will help move toward communities working together. Issue is that resources are very limited and GRP wants to endorse candidates, but how can we attract people and support them? Scott stated that GRP needs to increase membership which is imperative to attract candidates. Carbon tax is the right issue and Brian is passionate about this issue. GRP must educate voters in non-profit groups. GRP should invite all political groups and non-profits to join GRP. John stated that GRP is in need of more organization, staff, and funds. John voiced concern on how Party will grow when there are a limited amount of people to do work.
- Form more local chapters, and build chapters so that each chapter can run someone for office. Rebuild chapters at universities and focus on student issues such as tuition debt, the environmental with a goal of registering 30% college graduates as GRP.
- Gus stated that nominated Greens on CDLC list are now holding public office. He recommended focusing in areas where there is the most need such as, Holyoke, Boston, Webster, etc.
- Merelice noted that there is a lack of continuity in community colleges because students do not stay in the community. Another issue is a huge number of un-enrolled voters.
- Scott commented that there is an absence of candidates at GRP meetings who are committed Greens. There are people representing GRP that have no interest in attending meetings.
John recommended forming a Strategy Group and present to at January StateCom meeting. Mike volunteered to serve on committee after election. The next step is to prepare an agenda item for next StateCom. Merelice stated that we know the “what”, but now need the “how”. There is a need for a Tactical Committee. The plan is to hold strategy discussion. Daphne is working with SWAT list strengths and will begin strategic plan. Roni will add Joanna Herlihy to convention email list.
Local Chapter Reports
- Mike Heichman reported that Greater Boston Chapter suspended meetings until after campaign on November 11.
- Scott Laugenour reported no meetings held in Berkshire. They have set up Ian Jackson headquarters for election night. Tim Wright will help arrange events. Scott announced that he is resigning from GRP because he is moving out of the area for the winter and plans to become an ex-pat. Scott has been recruiting other Greens in the Berkshires to take leadership. Two possible GRP leaders are Jeffrey Wield and Sonya Bykofsky is another possibility.
- Joyce Fortune reported that Pioneer Valley has five active members. They have not met, but stay active. Merelice expressed hope that Pioneer Valley chapter will help with events in area.
- Rick Purcell reported that he remains active in community events in Holyoke. The coal plant in Holyoke will close next month and they are looking for alternatives for energy sources.
- Roni Beal reported that Nashua River chapter meets once a month and is committed to writing letters to the editor in behalf of the campaign.
- Danny reported that Assabet River Valley chapter meets monthly, and has been very supportive of his campaign. Danny and three chapter members attended the Climate Convergence march in NYC. Danny reported that South Coast local had four people attend climate march.
- Quinebaug Valley – Gus, Maureen, Daphne are not meeting.
Campaign Mechanics Workshops
Merelice reported that candidates have attended good events that are geographically confined. Candidates want to add events to their calendar. She inquired if Pioneer Valley wants a campaign event, such as farmer’s markets. Merelice commented that candidates would like to have GRP elected representatives join the campaign.
Ian recommended contacting local people about lottery distribution formula.
Danny stated that he is running 9 points behind GOP opponent. Danny emphasized that candidates are open to meet people in groups that will attract press coverage.
Merelice stated that parts of the state that voted green in the past are Boston, Cambridge, Worcester, Lowell, Pittsfield, Leominster, Berlin, etc. Some of these communities are targeted for CUI. A discussion will ensue on how regions should be defined.
Brian Cady is in charge of volunteer recruitment. Send email address to Brian and will return recruitment form.
Danny reported that Bill Gavin is making rare public appearance. Danny and David Arcangelo will be present and confront Bill Gavin at Framingham town hall on Monday at 6 pm.
John presented a slide show about ways to promote candidates, media releases, twitter, etc.
Joanna sent Letters to the Editor to five people on StateCom. She advised to direct letters to newspapers outside usual areas. Many papers are owned by one corporation. Sample letters are available. Political letters generally stop one week before election. Some papers limit number of words in letter, otherwise they will not print.
NoFrackedGasinMass hash tag leads back to Facebook that contains article about candidates. GRP account is central account. Follow GRP and candidates via Twitter and re-Tweet to other people. Scott reported that GRP currently has 800 to 900 followers.
Follow@GP_Party, @FactorForSOC, @ElectMerelice@johnA1. Scott advised that people read some Tweets before sending a Tweet. Scott is committed to send a Tweet every morning. Wes will Tweet a few evenings a week. John Tweets almost daily.
Online Posting Team
Monitor online blogs, websites, not many people signed up for this posting mechanism.
“Dear friend” effort – email version to forward to friends. All three candidates are included in Dear friend mailers.
Mike – Post letters on website and send email blast about forwarding messages and keep message short.
Facebook/Google targets groups
Wes inquired about video – he videoed Lyman terrace meet for YouTube. Editing skills important – add music, polish for final product. Translate some videos in Spanish, Haitian, Creole, French and people with hearing challenges. Stop-the- Pipeline in northern tier of Pioneer Valley and identify a day Pioneer Valley can arrange a day to rally. Holyoke, possible block parties – this area is not political and candidates are looking for media coverage.
John suggested going to the press, for example, (Valley Advocate) editorial office and hold meeting outside.
Merelice inquired if candidates are on their own to arrange events? Gus suggested riding through small towns for visibility. He said weekend coverage not available and that weekdays are best.
NRGR asked to arrange a meeting with one of the Green or Rainbow awardees. Roni will contact David Spanagel about meeting at café in Clinton that received Rainbow award.
Merelice expressed need for donations to candidates.
Mike announced need for Election Day signage and victory parties. Berkshires and Boston will hold an Election Day parties. Mike wants a sign with all three candidate names. Big email blast is planned to encourage people to stand out at poles. Mike will send literature to volunteers standing out. Merelice said that if weather is good candidates can generate a sign with all three candidates.
Meeting adjourn 5:15 pm