Greetings from Progressive Massachusetts

David, Charley and I, being progress loving folks, had a very agreeable meeting with Deborah and her ProgressMass colleague Ben Wright two weeks ago. Here is a list of the group's leadership. Welcome! - promoted by Bob_Neer

Hello from Progressive Massachusetts.  This is our/my first “official” post but we/I intend to be regular contributors and look forward to actively engaging with you on the issues of concern to many of us.

Progressive Massachusetts is a new(ish) grassroots progressive organization built from the ground up by organizers and activists from across Massachusetts.  Many of the founders came out of the original Deval Patrick campaign but have worked actively in efforts before and after.

We intend to organize around progressive issues in Massachusetts, help elect and support progressive candidates for public office who are committed to making a difference on these issues, and hold elected officials accountable to progressive positions and values.  Progressive Mass is working to move Massachusetts toward a future where the values of equal opportunity, social and economic justice, consumer and environmental protection, health care as a right, equal access to quality public services, respect for all residents and accountable and transparent government are given top priority.

Enough of the usual blah blah introduction.  Here’s what we’re doing right now –

We’re developing a scorecard of the last legislative session so you can see how everyone who is still on Beacon Hill voted – when there were roll call votes (not so many – and we need to change that).  We’ll keep the scorecard updated this session as votes are taken.

We’re working with the Campaign for our Communities to make the case for new revenue.  We have members in places like Norwood, Leominster, Needham – not just the usual places – Cambridge, Somerville – who are meeting with their reps to encourage them to support the Act to Invest filed by Jim O’Day and Sonia Chang-Diaz.

We’ll be pushing for election reform – supporting Jamie Eldridge’s bill which would: 1) Allow eligible citizens to register to vote or update their registrations online through a secure website  — saving towns and cities thousands of dollars in processing costs. 2) Ensure that our voter lists are up to date by using the US Postal Service National Change of Address Database to identify voters who have moved and appropriately update the voter list. 3) Allow 16 and 17 years to preregister to vote so that they are immediately able to vote on day they turn 18 AND MOST IMPORTANT 4) Allow eligible citizens to register and vote on Election Day.

Recently, we worked with a group of progressive legislators – Sciortino, Lewis, Chang-Diaz, Eldridge, Wolf – to create a platform of sorts which we are calling a Compact for the True Commonwealth – hey, so we ripped off Newt for a good cause. Let us know what you think of the Compact.




Deborah Shah

Executive Director


12 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Specific feedback would be helpful...

    On not only the Compact for a true Commonwealth, but also the scorecard and what issues we should be prioritizing.

  2. Your links aren't working

    I wasn’t able to get to your site by typing in the URL either. Is the site down?

  3. Feedback

    I like the sound of the Compact, all good stuff and on target in terms of priorities. Thanks for bringing PM to our attention.

    There’s one part of the Compact where there appears to be some missing words: “Maintaining our role as a global leader in research, technology and clean ______.” Clean energy, I assume?

    After a quick scan of the leadership and the rest of the website, I gotta say the thing that stood out for me is that there’s only 1 woman on your Board — which really surprises me. Given the issues we’ve had historically in this state with electing women to high level positions (except recently — yay!), making sure that we as progressives ensure that the voices of women (and people of color) are adequately represented in our own organizations and in the Democratic party is, imo, really important. So hopefully in future there will be more women on your Board?

    Again, thanks for sharing this with all of us! :-)

    • Good point

      Hello abs,
      Ben Wright here – You’re absolutely right about the make-up of the board. The board is made up of some of our original organizers, but as we expand the board over the course of the coming year, we have a keen eye towards diversity. Thanks for the feedback!
      Ben For PM

  4. Good start but

    I won’t nitpick or knock you guys down when you’re just getting started, I have been calling and asking for this organization for quite sometime and love the scorecard idea to force accountability on the deadweight legislators we have. I’m also heartened to see so many veterans of the 06 campaign, it was my first real taste of political organizing and the first candidate I backed that won and an amazing time in our state, though we should’ve started this back in tandem with the Patrick administration. Again I want you all to succeed so any criticism is out of love and respect for the goals.

    Any compact that dares call itself progressive include the following:

    1) Single payer healthcare

    Why can’t we experiment like Vermon has? Not to mention the voters voted this in back in 2002. Its high time our progressive, innovation based commonwealth that values fairness and equity have a true universal health care system that could be a great model for the country. VT had just one insurer, one willing to be bought out by the state, so it was not as much of a challenge as ours will be. But lets figure out the right policy implementation and than worry about the politics.

    2) Campaign finance

    Also voted on by a solid majority back in 2002, killed by Finneran and the lesosn of Warren Tolmans’ failed campaign. But its time to bring this up again as the first priority.

    Registration changes is all well and good, but its small fish compared to getting money entirely out of our politics. Implemented well it could again be a national model.

    Longer term goals after that should be non partisan redistricting, fusion voting, and IRV. But as the saying goes ‘follow the money’ and so much of the gridlock and inaction would be solved by getting money out of politics. It would also solve for inequity as well.

    Otherwise best of luck!

    • Next steps

      You are absolutely right. Here’s what we were thinking. Get the principles outlined first and then reach out to activists, “experts” for best solutions and ideas. Definitely agree with you on single payer – not only best for cost and quality but might actually be attractive to small business. Ditto for campaign finance.

      Please try and come to our Policy Conference on March 24 – info on our website. We are hoping to use the opportunity to generate even more specific proposals.

    • Public option

      I’d suggest starting with public option, not single payer. There are people in the private sector are happy with their insurance coverage and will not be keen on the idea of taking that away and eliminating the choices they have now. There are also people employed in the health insurance industry who will not be happy about the threat to their jobs. Expanding choice and fostering competition to drive down costs will be an easier sell to the electorate, if not entrenched insurance interests,

      • Either or

        Like I said VT’s model is really cool but hard to implement since its such a small population that had a non-profit HMO monopoly willing to get absorbed in the system. They also already had a very generous medicaid and universal childrens health care. But I think its worth examining if single payer is viable from a policy standpoint first, see if the stakeholders involved might be willing to get onboard and see if it would drive down costs. The numbers in VT showed that a public option did drive down costs but 40% less than single payer. Politically its more viable, especially on top of the Romneycare infrastructure but lets see what the best policy is first.

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Wed 29 Mar 6:52 PM