People, Planet & Peace
The Massachusetts Affiliate of the Green Party of the United States
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Repealing the Neutrality Policy on Endorsements and Nominations

Repealing the Neutrality Policy on Endorsements and Nominations

Sponsors: Mike Heichman (Suffolk County) and …. (need a 2nd co-sponsor)

Floor Manager: Mike Heichman, mikeheichman@verizon.net

Committee Vetting: CDLC

Background: At the Summer, 2012 StateCom meeting, 4 members of The State Comm. introduced a proposal, which was passed, entitled “Neutrality Policy on Endorsements and Nominations”.

The new and current policy states: “The State Committee adopts a policy to take no action of endorsing or nominating a candidate for public office until after the filing deadline established by the Commonwealth for seeking that office.  In the case of a contested GRP primary it will indicate no preference and will respect the choice of primary voters.”

Those who argued against this proposal made the following points:

  1. 1.      Early endorsements/nominations of our candidates by both our local chapters and state party increase the viability and strength of our campaigns.
  2. 2.      The argument that an early endorsement/nomination by our state party would be unfair for potential GRP members who might announce their candidacy after the endorsement/nomination took place without the prior knowledge of the local chapter and state party does not accurately describe the history of our party. The real challenge has been  to persuade our members to run for office. Very few of our members have run for public office. Except for the presidential campaign, which is handled in a different manner, we have never had a member of our party run for public office against another member. This policy is a protection plan for a threat that does not currently exist!
  3. 3.      Our party has a strong goal to encourage our members to run for public office as members of our party, and when they do, with our assistance, we want them to run strong and winnable campaigns. Preventing the early support by our state party for our our candidates is an unnecessary hindrance to this major goal.

At the end of February, the Greater Boston Chapter endorsed the candidacy of Francisco White for City Council At Large (which means that he and the GBC will be running a citywide campaign). Francisco reached out to our state party for advice and assistance. He was encouraged to join our party and contact the GBC; he did both of these. Francisco is a very impressive young man. This is his first time running for public office. Except for two others who are not members of our party (yet), the rest of his core campaign committee are active members of the GBC. When we endorsed Francisco, we also requested the support of the state party for his campaign.

4 At Large members will be elected to the Boston City Council in November. As of now, one incumbent is running for Mayor. Since the current Mayor, Menino, has just  announced that he will not be a candidate for re-election, it is possible that other At Large  incumbent councilors  will also decide to run for this open seat. That means that there will be at least one new member elected to the City Council in November. As of now, we know of 2 other challengers; this could change. The 8 candidates in the September preliminary election, with the highest vote totals, will advance to the final election.

All of this means that this is a tremendous opportunity and undertaking for Francisco , for our chapter and our state party. Except for the times when we have run candidates for statewide office, we will be reaching more voters than any of our campaigns in our history. Without question, this is the biggest challenge in the history of the Boston chapter, now the GBC, in our history. We need the active support of our state party!

The next StateCom meeting will be meeting on 4/21.  From 4/30-5/21 (3 weeks),  the campaign will need 1500 valid signatures to get on the ballot; the goal of the campaign is to get 2100 signatures. Francisco’s campaign would greatly benefit from the early support of our party. While the support of individual members of our party is invited and encouraged,  the institutional support of our state party on 4/21 would bring extra needed resources to his campaign.

Scott, in his role as a member of the CDLC, recently talked with Francisco about the current policy. Given this information and encouragement, Francisco has decided to  be present at the 4/21 StateCom meeting,  but will seek our state party’s nomination in July, after (hopefully) he has been successful in getting on the ballot.

Francisco is not complaining about this policy. However, his campaign will have to do without the institutional support of the state party until after the July StateCom meeting. I believe that this is an important loss for our candidate,  for the GBC and for  our state party.

Unless this unwise policy is changed,  our state party will continue to hamper future candidates and continue to bring harm to our chapters and party. It is not easy running as a Green-Rainbow. Let us remove unnecessary and unwise policies.

Proposal: StateCom will repeal the Neutrality Policy on Endorsements and Nominations, which was passed by the StateCom at the Summer, 2012 StateCom meeting.

Cost: This will benefit future candidates/campaigns, our local chapters and state party. Everybody who believes in the success and growth of our party will win!

 

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Showing 5 reactions


commented 2013-04-21 08:51:02 -0400 · Flag
I posted this on the State Committee email list after Mike Heichman posted the modification to the proposal. I was told I should post it here:

Mike wrote to me to ask me to support his proposal a few weeks ago. I’m sorry that I didn’t get back to him then. The reason I supported the “neutrality policy” last summer is because I had an experience in 2004 where the GRP CDLC supported a Democrat, Larry Kaplan, who switched, or was thinking of switching, his registration to GRP to run for State Rep in my district. In 2002, my district, for the first time ever, elected a Democrat, Alice Peisch, as State Rep. Larry Kaplan had lost to Alice Peisch in the 2002 Democrat primary. In my opinion both Peisch and Kaplan are typical mainstream Democrats who do not share GRP values. But Kaplan thought that he was more progressive than Peisch. He thought that he would have a better chance running against Peisch in the general election in 2004, by taking advantage of the party ballot status that GRP then had, than by running against Peisch in the Dem primary again. I talked with Larry Kaplan in person before forming my opinion that he really was not progressive and that his use of our ballot line would be detrimental to GRP. I talked with people in GRP CDLC at the time about my concern. The CDLC people told me they did not care about Kaplan’s politics; they only cared that he was a serious candidate willing to run as GRP. I considered running against Kaplan in the GRP primary. I took out ballot papers. In the end neither Kaplan nor I ran that year. Kaplan ran again in the Dem primary in a subsequent year. At least in years when GRP has party ballot status, I do have a concern that people running for office with mainstream Democrat or Republican values and political positions will use GRP to help them get on the ballot. I am also aware of problems within the major parties where town committees have endorsed candidates before contested primaries thus bypassing the limited democracy of their own primary system. For these reasons I was sympathetic to the neutrality policy proposal last summer.

However after thinking about it, and in light of new developments, I now think that the neutrality policy was not a good idea. Ultimately the GRP State Committee has the power to change its own policies and to endorse anyone that the members at a State Committee meeting choose to endorse. The State Committee has the authority to endorse a bad candidate or a good candidate regardless of any rules that the State Committee has imposed on itself. So there is no real reason to have the rules, or rules of this sort are just guidelines. GRP does not have official party status this year, so we do not have primaries this year that an interloper could use to get on the ballot. Municipal elections are always non-partisan.

I think that what prompted this reconsideration of the neutrality policy by Mike and others is the concern that the neutrality policy is delaying the GRP State Committee endorsement of Francisco L White for Boston City Councilor-at-large. The Greater Boston Chapter of GRP has endorsed Francisco. I support Francisco. I don’t know of any controversy about Francisco or of anyone in GRP who knows Francisco and does not support him. Therefore I would be happier if Mike’s proposal were for State Committee to disregard the neutrality policy and endorse Francisco L White immediately. I think an immediate GRP State Committee endorsement would be helpful to Francisco’s campaign. I think this is the real issue.

I am not happy with CDLC’s new modification to Mike’s proposal. Recently a document was circulated that listed kinds of support that candidates for office can receive from GRP. Part of this list was a list of support that candidates can receive if they have approval from CDLC even if they have not been endorsed or nominated by the Party (State Committee or State Convention). The document said that this support consists of fundraising design assistance, volunteer recruitment, listing as a member of the GRP slate, enhanced voter lists, a GRP website page, GRP staff-time as an in-kind donation, voter targeting analysis for the district, and candidate website design assistance. In my opinion the problem is that CDLC is inappropriately offering (if not actually providing) all this assistance to candidates that have not been endorsed by the Party. State Committee is not the problem. CDLC is the problem. CDLC is a small group within the party that has not always been a good representation of opinions within the Party. CDLC should not be making decisions about endorsing or supporting candidates. We have larger more representative bodies, State Committee and State Conventions, to do that. Therefore I could support repealing the neutrality policy entirely, but I cannot support giving more power to CDLC by requiring some endorsements to be allowed only upon recommendation by CDLC. Instead I think we should make it clear that CDLC is not allowed to give all that support to candidates whom we have not endorsed.

David Rolde
member of GRP State Committee from Middlesex County
commented 2013-04-20 10:53:23 -0400 · Flag
One important item has been lacking in the discussion on whether to repeal it or modify the ’Fairness and Neutrality Policy:” that by waiting until after the filing deadline has passed the State Committee is assured that the candidate that is up for nomination or endorsement is actually a candidate whose name will appear before the voting public.

In my opinion, State Committee nomination or endorsement is not an internal party call for support; rather, it is a public message to the voting public that identifies the candidate for whom the party recommends a vote.

The policy is not in place only because of the possibility that other candidates may or may not come along or because we may or may not have contested primaries. Until the filing deadline has passed we do not know who will be on the ballot. Some potential candidates do fail to get on the ballot.

I don’t accept the argument that a GRP State Committee nomination or endorsement will bolster a campaign organization sufficiently to help it achieve ballot access. In fact, tt would raise a red flag in my mind that the candidate was overreaching if I heard him/her make the argument that it needed GRP State Committee nomination or endorsement in order to get on the ballot. (For the record, Francisco White, for the record, has never made such a claim. As co-chair of CDLC I have been in touch with Francisco since before he became a GRP member and since before he contacted the Greater Boston Chapter. Mr. White has not challenged the Neutrality and Fairness Policy. When he learned about the policy he stated he thought it was ‘reasonable’ and asked for his nomination to be considered after the filing deadline.)

I was opposed to the original wording of this proposal, a repeal of the current policy, because I continue to believe that State Committee should be neutral until after the filing deadline or until after a contested primary. I also believe that it is reasonable for the State Committee to know, prior to making such a decision, if the candidate applying for nomination / endorsement is ballot-qualified or is a write-in candidate.

I am opposed to the revised proposal because it is not necessary and because discussion of it will take time away from more important agenda items. The current policy is not a by-law or a fixed procedure; does not close the door to exceptions. Even with the current policy in place any two State Committee representatives could have submitted a proposal for the spring meeting seeking nomination for Francisco White and could have asked CDLC to vet such proposal. Even with the current policy in place, Francisco White could have requested on his CDLC application that his campaign’s nomination be decided on April 21, in which case CDLC would have requested that it be placed on the agenda.

I hope this proposal is tabled so that more time can be devoted to discussions about party-building.

I am individually committed to Francisco’s campaign and hope others join me in spending much more time on the streets of Boston supporting him than what may be spent in discussing this procedurally unnecessary modified proposal.
commented 2013-04-19 14:35:05 -0400 · Flag
Modification of the Neutrality Policy on Endorsements and Nominations

(Note: This proposal was vetted by the CDLC on 4/16/13 and was significantly modified according to guidance received.)

Sponsors: Mike Heichman (Suffolk) and John Andrews (Middlesex)

Floor Manager: Mike Heichman, mikeheichman@verizon.net, 617-265-8143

Committee Vetting: CDLC

Summary: An option for early endorsement/nomination is created in cases where CDLC recommends it.

Background: At the Summer, 2012 StateCom meeting, 4 members of The State Comm. introduced a proposal, which was passed, entitled “Neutrality Policy on Endorsements and Nominations”.

The new and current policy states: “The State Committee adopts a policy to take no action of endorsing or nominating a candidate for public office until after the filing deadline established by the Commonwealth for seeking that office. In the case of a contested GRP primary it will indicate no preference and will respect the choice of primary voters.”

The purpose of this proposal is to provide some flexibility in this policy so that earlier endorsements/action are not precluded when it is clear that they would be beneficial. The arguments for earlier action in some circumstances are:

1. Early endorsements/nominations of our candidates by both our local chapters and state party increase the viability and strength of our campaigns by allowing full party engagement in the critical early stages of a campaign.

2. There can be a concern that a premature endorsement/nomination by our state party would be unfair for potential GRP members who might announce their candidacy after the endorsement/nomination took place. The provision below allows CDLC to examine the circumstances of the race to determine if there are other potential candidates whose possible entry would argue for postponing the endorsement/nomination decision. This is not, however, a likely problem. Except for the presidential campaign, which is handled in a different manner, we have never had a member of our party run for public office against another member. (In 2012, we had one candidate for 200 contested seats in the state legislature.) Our real challenge has been to persuade our members and friends to run for office under the GRP label. A major reason for not running is not having a political machine behind them that can help with the formidable amount of work involved in a political campaign. In some cases, we are talking to people who have a solid reputation as a community leader and who are considering jumping into politics. The Democratic Party often moves swiftly to assure them that they would have support if they ran under that party’s label. The GRP needs to show similar support when we ask them to run under our label.

3. Experienced political advisors emphasize the importance of starting early to build a campaign organization. Our candidates do not have big political machines ready to jump in to help. Generally they don’t have the money to hire professional staff that starts work immediately. They need to build support over time, train volunteers, and recruit help. In order to run strong, we often need to launch a campaign early. In addition, we want candidates to forge a strong bond with the Party, and this is much less likely to happen if their campaign gets up and running with non-Party support. The Party benefits from being engaged at the beginning and from learning about the race from the inside.

Proposal:

StateCom’s Neutrality Policy on Endorsements and Nominations is hereby revised to read as follows

The State Committee adopts a policy to take no action of endorsing or nominating a candidate for public office unless

1) The filing deadline established by the Commonwealth for seeking that office has passed, or

2) The application of the candidate has been forwarded to StateCom by the Candidate Development and Legal Committee (CDLC) with a recommendation of early action. In recommending early action, CDLC should consider whether any other candidates are likely to emerge as contenders for the endorsement/nomination, whether the candidate has demonstrated serious commitment to the race, and whether the candidate’s campaign has clear potential for benefiting the Party.
In any case in which two GRP candidates are engaged in a contested primary, StateCom will take no action on a nomination and will respect the choice of primary voters.
followed this page 2013-04-16 19:51:21 -0400
published this page in 2013 Spring StateCom Proposals 2013-03-28 16:13:56 -0400