Please come to our spring meeting hungry! Strawberry shortcake will be served at the June meeting, Thursday evening, June 15, at 7:30 pm at the Boxford Community Center, 4 Middleton Road, in the upstairs meeting room. The meeting’s agenda will be short but important: we will hold elections for committee officers and hear reports from our delegation to the 2017 convention.
Twenty-two Boxford Democrats caucused at the Boxford Community Center on Saturday afternoon, March 4, to elect the town’s delegation to the 2017 Massachusetts Democratic Party’s June convention. Another dozen non-voting guests observed the proceedings.
Organized by the Boxford Democratic Town Committee, the caucus elected James C. Mulloy of Towne Road, Kenneth L. Thompson of Herrick Road, Deborah Schildkraut of Georgetown Road and Anna Sobczynski of Reddington Ridge Road as delegates; Robert J. Bonney of Towne Road, Ira Schildkraut of Georgetown Road, Sheri L. Saginor of Spofford Road and Amanda L. Bruce of Ipswich Road as alternate delegates to represent Boxford’s Democrats at the annual convention. In addition, the committee’s chair, Marianne Rutter of King John Drive, will serve as an ex officio delegate.
The newly-elected Boxford delegation then voted Anna Sobczynski the sixth annual Franklin Pierce Pomroy Honorary Delegate, honoring the memory of deceased committee member Frank Pomroy of Mill Run Road. Pomroy, a decorated veteran of World War II, had been an active member of the committee and an enthusiastic member of its delegation for several years until his death in June, 2012.
The convention’s venue changed recently from Lowell to the DCU Center in Worcester. It will be held Saturday, June 3.
Before the caucus convened, Jay Gonzalez, Democrat for governor, greeted those assembled and addressed short remarks to the group about his campaign. Representatives of other elected officials were also present to answer questions, hand out information and solicit volunteers for upcoming campaigns.
After the caucus, the Boxford Democratic Town Committee held a brief business meeting at which seven new Associate Members were voted onto the committee.
On December 1, the committee held an abbreviated business meeting, set its 2017 caucus date of Saturday afternoon, March 4, and then turned the rest of the evening over to a discussion for concerned progressives about where we are and where we are going, politically, in the aftermath of a disappointing election.
“Whither Democracy?” drew two dozen people from 8 North Shore towns including Boxford. A member of the group and a Sanders delegate to the July DNC in Philadelphia, Tristan Whitehouse of Manchester has been doing us all a great service by attending these discussions all over the state, and drafting summary notes on each.
The email distribution list that emerged from this meeting, self-styling ourselves Democracy Forward, is ongoing and welcomes others to join. Send your name, town and email address to email@example.com if you want to be added to the list.
Here is Tristan’s excellent report that he filed with the Massachusetts Sanders delegation:
On December 1st, I attended a meeting hosted by our own Marianne Rutter in Boxford. I apologize for the late nature of this report. Look for a report from the Next Four Years conference that was held last weekend, in the next few days.
Marianne Rutter, Chair of the Boxford Democratic Town Committee, held a post-election meeting titled “Whither Democracy?” Prior to the meeting, Marianne emailed many people drumming up support for the event and 25 people attended the event. After dispensing with formalities for the monthly Boxford DTC meeting, Marianne broke the crowd into small groups.
Since I was in a small group myself, I can only speak about the specifics introduced in my group. Each member of the group was given three minutes to share their thoughts and the remaining time was devoted to ad lib discussion. The following points were brought up during this discussion:
- Almost all of the members expressed a general feeling of “shell-shock” from the election. Many mentioned that they were “devistated”, “numb”, and “worried”. More than half of the group also revealed that this meeting was the first political meeting they had ever been to and felt personally responsible, saying they “could have done more”.
- Candidate support was mixed in this group. While most voted for Hillary, one member said he wrote in Bernie Sander’s name in protest, as he “truely hated Hillary”. Another member expressed a frustration with Bernie supporters, saying “Just shut up! You lost!” This same woman expressed a sadness that she “would never see a woman President”.
- A large component in this conversation centered around racism in the Age of Trumpism. Several group participants expressed frustration and fear in this capacity. One woman of Indian decent, argued that the post-election reports say the Democrats failed to court working people and the economy issue was why they lost. She disagreed, saying that overt rascism was to blame for Trump’s win, and she was “furious” to see the Democratic Party blame the election on economic demographics. She suggested that we all look into minority voices like Imani Gandy on Twitter, and Roxand Gay. She finished with “Once they cast Superman with a Black man, and no one bats an eye, then we’ll be equal.” Another woman told us how she was afraid for her daughter who had recently converted to Judaism and is getting married to a Black man. “What can we do to protect them?” she asked.
- Another topic of concern was the environment under a Trump Presidency. Mebers said they had already given money to conservations groups like the Sierra Club and National Parks Foundation, fearing budget cuts for Interior projects in the near future. One woman told us how she woke up the day after the election, saw the results, and cried thinking about how we were going to loose the National Parks.
- Lastly, the group talked about how the Democrats can engage with more voters and spread their truth. One man spoke about how talk radio is dominated by Conservative voices. Others expressed a desire to see the Party use social media in a meaningful way in the future.
The second phase of this discussion was a large group meeting. This fell into two parts, the first saw representatives of each of the small groups presenting their findings to the group. The expressed the following:
- The Democratic Party should refocus on their branding. We lost becuase our message was complicated and pandering. Our message in the future should be simple. Furthermore, conservative voters are not a monolith and should not be attacked with broad stokes. Focus on solving the issues that brought them there.
- A huge campaign should be waged to bring young people and independents into the party. Not only that but they should be provided with infrastructure to pursue issues that they’re passionate about.
- Almost all of the groups reported that their members expressed a desire to do more. While many had never been to a meeting in the past, they all shared the passion to work in the future.
The meeting in Boxford was a special one as this showed a strong liberal force in a town dominated by Republican politics for decades. Props are deserved to the Boxford citizens and Marianne Rutter who worked hard, resulting in Boxford turning blue for the first time in years. This meeting was a great example of how passionate people can get together and organize when a strong town committee works well. Just an update in the fallout of this meeting, Marianne Rutter has emailed the participants, letting them know of ways to get involved.
Voter registration is alive and well on the North Shore!
With the assistance of the social studies department, Boxford’s DTC will sponsor a non-partisan voter registration drive on October 3 and 4 at Masconomet Regional high school. Eligible 18- and 17-year-olds can register, and students 16 and older can preregister to vote. See the event calendar at this website or check out our Facebook events page for more information.
There is also a robust, well-coordinated effort during the first half of October to register community college students to vote in time for the November 8 election. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a schedule of events and more information.
Dust off your dancin’ shoes! The 9th Almost-Annual Barn Dance has been scheduled for Saturday, November 12 from 7-10 pm at the Gould Barn, 1 Howlett Street in Topsfield. Once again, music will be provided by the incomparable “2120 Michigan Avenue.” All-inclusive in the ticket price: all-you-can- consume appetizers, desserts, beer and wine. Tickets are $25 per person, $40 per couple, on sale now. Early bird discount if you buy before October 30! Contact email@example.com or call 978-887-3453.
Please join the committee for our spring meeting with dessert: strawberry shortcake will be served at the May meeting, Thursday evening, May 19, at 7:30 pm at the Boxford Community Center, 4 Middleton Road. We will hear a report from the Food Drive subcommittee on our recent event, plan voter registration efforts for the fall at Masconomet, and set a date for this year’s Barn Dance.