AGENDA: The regular agenda for the May meeting will include: update from the DSC, the Mass Dems convention in Lowell July 13, 2013; the US Senate “special” primary / election / debates / campaign activities; election 2014 / candidates/ etc.; 2013 Distinguished Dem update; other topics on the minds of members.
Greater Lowell Area Democrats (GLAD) Chair Marie Sweeney announced today that former Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone will be honored as the 2013 Distinguished Democrat at the Annual Fall Brunch on Sunday October 27, 2013.
First elected as the Middlesex DA in 2006 Attorney Leone declined to seek reelection to an upcoming third term. This past March he resigned from his position to join the international law firm Nixon Peabody LLP as partner in the firm’s Government Investigations & White Collar Defense practice in Boston. Prior to his election as district attorney, Mr. Leone served as first assistant United States attorney in the District of Massachusetts, managing the office and conducting federal and international investigations and cases ranging from public corruption to health care fraud and cybercrime.
Attorney Leone has earned the respect of law enforcement, business and community leaders, his fellow members of the bar, government officials as well as political leaders and activists for his work as an effective and ethical prosecutor and community leader. His career has been focused on seeking justice for victims of crime and in protecting the children and families of the Commonwealth.
Members of Greater Lowell Area Democrats are pleased and proud at the choice of Attorney Gerry Leone and look forward to honoring him as our 2013 Distinguished Democrat.
Reservations for the event to be held at Lenzi’s in Dracut can be made with Greater Lowell Area Democrat Chair Marie Sweeney at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets are $40 each. Table reservations are available.
The hot topic nationally and locally is the issue of sequestration – its reach and fall-out. Many pundits and editorial writers have weighed-in on its perceived realities and the politics swirling around the issue. The Executive Director of Community Teamwork – Karen Frederick and CTI’s Director of Planning – Cheryl Amey have their very experienced views in today’s Lowell Sun as a rebuttal to the recent Sun editorial suggesting “barely a ripple” locally. With their permission we have it here for our readers:
A few weeks ago the Lowell Sun printed an editorial, “Sequestration Foolishness,” which suggested that there is barely a ripple of an impact on any Massachusetts resident. The implication was that sequestration doesn’t matter and that there will be no impact on Lowell.
That’s not the case.
Last week Congress passed legislation to protect air traffic controllers from furloughs resulting from the sequester. News reports of the impact of flight delays on the economy propelled Congress into action. What is lost on Congress is that the sequester’s impact on families and on communities like Lowell also impacts the economy. The last thing our country needs right now is anything that will further weaken our economic recovery and yet that is exactly the impact the sequester will have.
As a result of the sequester, in Massachusetts –
- 500 children will lose child care assistance. Parents of young children need child care in order to obtain and retain a job, which makes child care key to the economy. The fact is – working parents need child care.
- 1,100 fewer children will be served by Head Start, the federal pre-school program designed to give low income children a chance to start school ready to succeed – more on par with their wealthier counterparts, which affects their future performance in school and increases the likelihood they will graduate from high school (and hopefully go to college).
- 26,970 adults will no longer receive job search assistance. If we are going to strengthen the economy in our state, then those who have the hardest time finding a job need some help so that they can contribute to our communities, pay taxes, and become self-sufficient
- 2,940 fewer children will receive vaccines to combat illnesses and to promote healthy development.
- 160 fewer disabled children will receive assistance when our state loses $13.4 million in education aid for disabled children.
- Meals for the elderly will be cut by $535,000
- 500 fewer battered women will receive assistance as they try to escape from situations involving domestic violence.
- Juvenile justice grant funding will be cut by $300,000, which translates to fewer police in our communities.
When cuts are allocated throughout the state, the impact may be diffuse but, for those who are directly affected, the cuts will be great. For communities like Lowell, the impact translates to fewer parents employed who will pay taxes and purchase goods and services in the community. For children, the loss of child care or inability to participate in Head Start may have a life-long impact. Fewer seniors who receive fuel assistance or food may endanger their health and well-being. In addition, the these cuts all have an impact on small businesses—fuel delivered and meals prepared all represent jobs for others who do not directly receive assistance. Grocers and vendors who supply services like fuel are part of our local economy.
The sequester does matter. While we may not know at this time the exact impact on Lowell, by the time we do know it, it will be too late. The damage will be done. Community Teamwork Inc. (CTI) seeks to assist low-income people to become self-sufficient and to alleviate the effects of poverty. As an economic engine within the community, our goal is strengthen the economy in Lowell by strengthening families and small businesses. We have an array of programs funded by the federal government that at their core help individuals to work and contribute to our local economy and help small businesses grow. Demand for services far exceeds the resources we have. The sequester may not be visible, but the impact will be clear. Fewer parents who can get the child care they need to work, less money in the pockets of small business including local oil dealers and grocers, and layoffs in one of our community’s largest employers all undercut Lowell’s ability to grow the area’s economy.
It is up to us to let Congress know – if they can protect air traffic controllers from furloughs, then they can help those who are most vulnerable among us. And, in doing so, they will promote an economic development strategy that communities like Lowell need to survive and to prosper.
Karen Frederick, Executive Director
Cheryl Amey, PhD, Chief Planning Officer
Community Teamwork, Inc. Community Teamwork, Inc.
(For full disclosure ~ I am a member of the Community Teamwork, Inc. Board of Directors. I have served as the representative from the Town of Tewksbury since 1992. My tenure includes serving four terms as the President.)
I asked Stacie Hargis to share her remarks from last Thursday’s kickoff of her campaign for Lowell City Council. Here’s what she had to say:
Growing up, my father’s job required us to move every three to four years. This meant I lived in many cities and towns around the US and, as I got older, the travel bug stayed with me. But when I arrived in Lowell, I felt truly at home for the first time. I fell in love with Lowell’s people, diversity, and strong sense of community. Our city’s commitment to the arts, and to the preservation of our unique history and architecture, is a tribute to our residents and their values.
I will never forget my first visit: I went to the Comfort Furniture on Dutton street. The gentleman who was helping us stopped in front of a large cabinet filled with memorabilia and went on to tell us the story of Father John’s Medicine. I remember walking out of there thinking that Lowell has something about it which is so authentic and pure, and my interest was piqued.
Since settling here, I’ve lived in many of our neighborhoods. In each one, I’ve learned something else special about our city. Sitting on my porch in the Highlands, I learned you can hear the excitement coming from the Spinners game off in the distance on a warm summer night. I’ve learned that many couples start their lives together under the gazebo in Kittredge Park in Belvidere. I’ve learned the gray bricks that St. Anne’s church is made of, came from the canals dug around it downtown; and the most magical thing I’ve learned is how beautiful our city is while walking.
I’ve listened to many Lowellians tell their unique histories and stories, and I’ve learned that we all share a respect and pride for Lowell. It is our backgrounds, contributions, and experiences that are the threads which connect us and make our great city so amazing.
Lowell has welcomed me, educated me, and offered me many opportunities. Now, I have an opportunity to give something back.
I came as a graduate student to UMass in 2006. The Regional Economic and Social Development program helped me pursue my interests related to economics and labor. I learned a great deal about collaboration and about having a vested interest in the success of your own community. I’m involved with many different groups, including the Lowell Green Restaurants Program, the Public Matters leadership program, and Big Brother Big Sister. I also served on the Cultural Organization of Lowell board for many years, helping promote and foster arts and cultural events.
City Council elections are important. The local level is where we, as residents, can have the most impact on the day-to-day lives of ourselves and our neighbors. Voters determine how our tax dollars get spent; and voters determine what takes priority – roads, safety, education. I look forward to starting a conversation with you and your family, to hear about what is most important in your day-to-day lives. I will hear your voice, I will listen with care, and I will work for you and the issues that are most important to you. We should all be part of the process that builds upon our progress to shape a positive future – Because this is Our Lowell.
If elected, I will work to grow our community wealth, to build upon the great work of those before, to make our city an even better place to live, work, and raise a family. I will draw upon my experience working on economic development issues in Congresswoman Tsongas’ office and supporting small businesses at the Merrimack Valley Small Business Center.
We are still coming out of one of the worst economic downturns we have seen in decades; unemployment will remain an issue as federal and state budget cuts continue to ripple through our local economy. Lowell’s unemployment rate is close to 8% – still higher than the national average. We need sustainable jobs. Lowell will also continue to receive lower state and federal revenues for critical services, many of our local organizations that fill in the gaps for so many families will feel the weight of these cuts too. This will impact families. Families that have already experienced substantial losses; some have lost jobs, some have lost homes, some have drained their savings just to get by.
I personally know how hard it is to live paycheck-to-paycheck, and sometimes making the tough decision between paying the electric bill and buying groceries. I did my fair share of penny pinching and going without for my entire 20’s as I was putting myself through college and working full time.
I know that it will take years for savings accounts to build back up and families to feel stable again. This means that NOW is the time to face the challenges that threaten further damage to our local economy .
Now is an opportunity for new approaches. Now is the time for innovative solutions that will build an even stronger Lowell. We have much work to do.
As a city councilor, I will work for Lowell. I’ll take a respectful and professional approach to strengthen investments in our community, putting families first. While there is talk that the economy is slowly starting to improve, that optimism is returning, and the private sector is starting to add jobs, we have to make critical investments in order to develop the small gains we’ve seen.
I will work collaboratively to
• Invest in public safety
• Strengthen our workforce
• Support our unique local businesses
• Attract new business
• Revitalize local investment
• Encourage prosperity for families
I believe these are priorities so we can grow our community wealth. These are key actions that can lead to increased economic stability that supports and promotes Lowell’s unique human, cultural and historic resources.
But I need your help. You know that I didn’t come here with a huge family, but I’ve made some great friends — all of you gathered tonight. And now I need your help.
Let’s work together to grow our community wealth.
Let’s work together to meet Lowell’s challenges and celebrate our successes.
Please give me your vote in November and please give me some of your time this election season.
US Sen. Kelly Ayotte has to go. The focus is on her now that she voted against gun safety legislation. I say, Pour it on and get her out of there.
Lowell City Council candidate Stacie Hargis addressed a lively group of supporters this evening as she launched her first run in a Lowell city election at a fundraiser in historic downtown Lowell. The crowd was a mixture that any first time candidate would envy… activists both civic and political, young professionals, bankers, lawyers, educators, retirees, elected officials, newcomers and old liners, her colleagues from her days with Congresswoman Tsongas and current coworkers… movers and shakers and regular citizens. They were all enthusiastic about her candidacy and loudly applauded her savy and heart-felt remarks. Voters will be seeing a lot of Stacie Hargis as she takes her campaign into the homes and neighborhoods of Lowell. It promises to be a very interesting campaign.
In yesterday’s U.S. Senate special election primary for the Democrats, Ed Markey defeated Steve Lynch, 309,487 to 229,594 (57% to 43%). On the Republican side, Gabriel Gomez was victorious, receiving 96,072 votes (51%) to Michael Sullivan’s 67,756 (36%) and Danny Winslow’s 24,547 (13%). The above image which shows the town-by-town Democratic results is a screen shot of the excellent election results graphic on boston.com. (On the boston.com image, you just move your mouse over each town to get that town’s results). The Republican version of the map is here.
In Lowell, with a turnout of just 11%, on the Democratic side, Lynch defeated Markey, 2690 to 2110 (56% to 44%) while on the Republican side, Gomez received 614 votes (49%) to Sullivan’s 462 (37%) and Winslow’s 159 (13%).
In the Commonwealth’s ten largest cities, each of the Democrats won five. Here are the results with percentages:
1. Boston – Markey won 53% to 47%
2. Worcester – Markey won, 51% to 49%
3. Springfield – Markey won, 65% to 35%
4. Lowell – Lynch won, 56% to 44%
5. Cambridge – Markey won, 88% to 12%
6. New Bedford – Markey won, 58% to 42%
7. Brockton – Lynch won, 71% to 29%
8. Quincy – Lynch won, 76% to 24%
9. Lynn – Lynch won, 56% to 44%
10. Fall River – Lynch won, 57% to 43%
(And be honest, before reading that list, who could name the ten largest cities in Massachusetts population-wise, according to the 2010 census?).
Congressman Ed Markey visited his Lowell campaign headquarters yesterday to fire up local supporters for the final Get Out The Vote push up to and through Primary Election Day this Tuesday. The polls will be open from 7:00 am until 8:00 pm. Please be sure to vote.
Governor Deval Patrick recently named Marian Ryan to be the new Middlesex District Attorney. Ryan, a prosecutor for more than thirty years in the Middlesex DA’s office, will serve the balance of the four year term to which Gerry Leone was elected in 2010. Leone resigned last month to go into private practice. Ryan, a Belmont Democrat who has never before sought elective office, has indicated that she will run for a full term as DA in the 2014 state election.
While no other candidates have announced for the office, it will likely be a contested race. The Middlesex DA’s office has launched the statewide political careers of Scott Harshbarger, Tom Reilly and Martha Coakley so it is an office that draws much attention from aspiring politicians. Despite Ryan’s lack of political experience, she could be a formidable candidate next fall, especially if she uses her time in office going forward to raise her profile around the county. In some ways, the 2014 race could resemble the 1998 contest in which career prosecutor Martha Coakley won the Democratic primary with 80,603 votes to Michael Sullivan’s 46,195 and Tim Flaherty’s 41,254 (Coakley defeated Republican Lee Johnson in that year’s general election by a margin of nearly 3 to 1).
To extend the 1998 comparison even further, Coakley greatly benefited that year from having just prosecuted the case of Louise Woodward, the nanny from England who was accused of causing the death of an infant in her care. The case was televised live on CNN everyday for weeks and Coakley became a nationally recognized figure (the case also raised the profile of her co-prosecutor, Gerry Leone). While Ryan may not be handling any high profile cases herself in the coming year, her office might end up trying Boston Marathon suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev for the murder in Cambridge of MIT police officer Sean Collier although it’s quite likely that Tsarnaev won’t make it beyond the murder-by-bombing charges in US District Court that will be tried first.
While the Middlesex DA’s office has launched political careers, it’s last three occupants – Tom Reilly, Martha Coakley and Gerry Leone – all were full time, career prosecutors first and politicians second. Marian Ryan fits that template so her prospects in the 2014 election should not be underestimated.
AGENDA: The regular agenda for the April meeting will include: update from the DSC meeting; the Mass Dems convention in Lowell July 13, 2013; the US Senate “special” primary / election / debates / campaign activities; election 2014 / candidates/ etc.; 2013 Distinguished Dem update; other topics on the minds of members.
Elected officials, candidates and their representatives are welcome to join us! Please advise the Chair.