Historically, the GRP has given little emphasis to forming official Ward, City, and Town Committees. In contrast, some members have felt that one purpose of local chapters is to foster — and even eventually become — Ward, City, and Town Committees. Until that happens, I’m not particularly fond of calling the chapter a “club” — which sounds exclusive rather than inclusive (and no new chapter has ever put “club” in its name). But if (when?) a chapter becomes a state-recognized committee, why would we want to drop it as a GRP chapter? That seems counter-productive — especially since such a committee is no longer officially recognized by the state when the GRP is a political designation.
The bylaws should be flexible enough to accommodate the party’s status as either a political designation or a political party in the context of Massachusetts regulations. It would be far too complex to have to make bylaw changes every time the GRP swings back and forth.
The Boston Chapter would not be recognized under the proposed requirements if we were not grandfathered. Our Bylaw provision that we encourage the formation of other chapters in our area would not be allowed. Our becoming a PAC would not be allowed. The fact that members in Lenox, Mass. chose to become a Town Committee would eliminate them as a local chapter. The proposal simply does not allow enough flexibility to accommodate the stage of growth that the party is at TODAY — and the ways in which local members are determining how best to grow the party locally.
I urge the State Committee to consider chapters and caucuses separately. I think it would be confusing to identify caucuses as chapters, given their distinctive roles and responsibilities.
It would also help to discuss further the role of campus organizations. It was my understanding that the-then MIT and Harvard Greens were part of the-then Mystic River Green-Rainbow Action (MRGRA) which was a Cambridge-Somerville GRP chapter. In fact, students from both MIT and Harvard ran for office in Cambridge. The Amherst Chapter has a varied history that has included being a Town Committee and, I think, at the time might have encompassed the UMass-Amherst Greens. When Mike Aleo ran for State Rep (getting 38% of the vote), Smith College students were major supporters/campaign workers. Were they part of a campus or local chapter?
Although I hope this proposal benefits from some serious discussion, it is a complex proposal that, in my view, is not ready for prime time. In particular, it is not tuned in to the thinking of some of the most active GRP members and local chapter activists. I urge the State Committee to refer it to the Membership Committee and Local chapters for further input and development.
1) Although the proposal allows for StateCom members to be elected by state senatorial districts at the presidential primary every four years (as provided by Mass. election laws), if and when the GRP becomes a permanent Mass. political party, that process has the potential of automatically sending 80 representatives to the State Committee.
2) Either the GRP believes in proportional representation, or it doesn’t. If it does, appointing additional StateCom members according to proportional representation should not be abandoned. Meanwhile, we don’t even fill the 60 proportional seats that currently exist, let alone elect more than 1 or 2 at the presidential primary. How would this proposal do any better?
3) If greater diversity is a concern, the bylaws already allow for appointing diversity representatives to StateCom. Why drop that provision?
4) One-year StateCom terms could be problematic. It generally takes a couple of meetings to get into the swing of things.
5) Confining StateCom membership to places where there are active chapters cuts off other GRP members who can be (and are currently) elected where there isn’t a local chapter. That, in turn, has the potential to spawn and strengthen local chapters.
6) We have witnessed the drawbacks of pushing GRP members into taking positions that either turn out not to be of particular interest to them or pile on too much activity and burn them out. This proposal seems to have the potential of exacerbating this problem.
Merelice, Norfolk County
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All this proposal does is have the 12 regions be based on State Senatorial Districts rather than Counties. Everything else regarding the process for appointed PROPORTIONAL representatives is identical EXCEPT that the terms of these representatives will equal the four-year terms of those elected on the presidential primary ballot.
Diversity is already covered in the bylaws and this proposal does not change that.
If other changes are desired, they would have to be presented in a future proposal.
The thought that local chapters would not be willing to support the party infrastructure or have their members grow into leadership positions by observing and participating at a below-officer level seems unduly pessimistic. At least I hope that people are willing to learn the ropes before being pushed into positions for which they have no experience, while contributing important support to the running of the party.
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