Six Boxford Democrats were among hundreds who gathered in Lowell on Saturday, July 13 for the annual statewide convention. Pictured from L-R are James Vogt, Ken Thompson, Judi Stickney and Kerry Stickney. Jan John and Marianne Rutter, not pictured, also were part of the delegation.
Democrats heard from all of the party’s elected leaders. State party chairman John E. Walsh was the master of ceremonies for the program. Governer Deval Patrick was the first to address the convention, and brought delegates to their feet, as did then Senator-elect (now Senator) Ed Markey, fresh from the successful campaign trail. He thanked the convention for the party’s support and pledged to work hard for all citizens of the Commonwealth in Washington. Not present in Lowell, Sen. Elizabeth Warren addressed delegates by video. As is traditional, the remaining constitutional officers then each addressed the convention in turn. During his address to the crowd, Treasurer Steve Grossman made news by formally announcing his candidacy for governor. Speculation had it that Attorney-General Martha Coakley might do the same thing, but she refrained, later telling the press that she would make her decision on a run for governor by Labor Day. Secretary of State Bill Galvin and Auditor Suzanne Bump rounded out the list of elected officials who made remarks at the convention. In a continuing tradition, party officials also awarded several scholarships to Massachusetts college students during the morning program.
The convention then turned to the business of the day: ratifying a state party platform that had been crafted through the work of literally thousands of Massachusetts Democrats, participating in hundreds of platform hearings around the state. Newton Mayor Setti Warren, who since January had served as chair of the party’s platform committee, kicked off the voting portion of the convention program by thanking the many Democrats who participated in the process. Under the practiced gavel of Democratic Party General Counsel Jim Roosevelt, several amendments were introduced, discussed and voted upon before the entire platform was ratified by voice vote.
Working the stands in the Tsongas arena during the proceedings were many familiar faces to Massachusetts Democrats and around the country. Cong. John Tierney shook hands among the delegates in the 1st Essex-Middlesex district. Nearby, Cong. Jim McGovern visited one of the state senate districts in Worcester whom he represents. Martha Coakley shook hands down both aisles where the Boxford delegation was seated. Congressmen Joe Kennedy and Richard Neal, the newly named dean of Massachusetts’ all-Democrat Congressional delegation, also worked the crowd. Newly announced candidate for Congress in the 6th District, Democrat Seth Moulton of Marblehead met and greeted delegates. Candidates for Mayor of Boston and for the now-empty 5th District Congressional seat left vacant by Senator Markey’s election were also present, shaking hands and giving interviews to the press.
In the afternoon, an array of small-group “break-out sessions” was offered, ranging from practical considerations such as managing local campaigns, getting out the vote, winning campaign strategies, and attracting more young people Democratic events, to policy presentations of all sorts. In a building adjacent to the Tsongas Center on the campus of UMass-Lowell, nearly two dozen discussion groups were offered in two one-hour blocks from which delegates could pick and choose. A closing reception at the UMass Lowell Inn and Conference Center brought the 2013 convention to a close.
It would have been difficult for delegates to leave Lowell empty-handed. Around the hallways that ringed the arena, tables for all manner of Democratic candidates and causes were in evidence. Upon entering the Tsongas Center, delegates were given cloth bags with convention literature inside, and many candidates offered buttons or water bottles with their campaign slogans.