Tompkins Banks Key Vote in MassDems Chair Campaign

Suffolk County Sheriff Steve Tompkins has won the support of an influential member of the Democratic State Committee in his bid to replace Sen. Tom McGee as Chair of the Massachusetts Democratic Party.

He was also endorsed by Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.

The 400-member DSC, the MassDems governing body, will meet after the November 8th presidential elections to pick McGee’s replacement. Tompkins is running against former Lt. Gov candidate and 2012 Democratic National Convention head Steve Kerrigan, and long-time DSC stalwart Gus Bickford.

Yesterday, the Boston Globe reported that Walsh will supports Tompkins bid. Today, former State Rep. and MassDems Vice-Chair Ray Jordan sent an email to fellow committee members asking them to vote for the Sheriff.

If Walsh holds sway over Boston’s DSC members, his endorsement could be a huge boon for Tompkins. About a quarter of DSC members are from the hub.

Walsh has also shown some ability pull the levers of the MassDems machine to support a candidate. In 2014, Walsh muscled Warren Tolman through the state convention, besting Maura Healey to win the coveted “official endorsement” in his bid for the Attorney General’s office.

I love my mayor, but Ray Jordan is the big get for Tompkins. Jordan is a widely-respected party elder, and a representative of two important DSC factions: people of color and members from Western Mass.

Jordan will amplify Tompkins’ focus on increasing diversity in the state party, and might add a counterweight to the other heavy hitter from out west, Chicopee’s Deb Kozikowski.

More importantly, Jordan gets to vote on the next MassDems Chair, Walsh doesn’t

Here’s Jordan’s emails to DSC members todayGreetings Democratic Committee Members:

I am writing to you to tell you of my support for Steve Tompkins to be the next Chairman of the Massachusetts Democratic State Party. I do not really know Steve Kerrigan, but have worked with the other two  candidates for Chair. I believe Steve Tompkins is the best choice to move our Party forward. Steve has demonstrated a successful track record as a grassroots organization builder, visionary thinker, strategic communicator and aggressive fundraiser.

Many of you know that I have dedicated my life to the service of others with a public career spanning nearly forty years as both a State Representative and a member of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. I have also been an active participant within the Democratic State Committee for more than forty years and served as its vice chair in Massachusetts from 1996 to 2016. Throughout that time, I have worked for inclusion, equality, justice and opportunity for all people.

Given the current climate of division and strife that circles above every state in the nation we need to have all Democratic hands on deck with a renewed commitment to inclusion by cultivating new members that more truthfully depicts the current demographics of our nation. We need greater engagement of our young men and women in the party. We have to recruit and welcome the participation of more seniors, military personnel and members of the LGBT and Transgender communities into our ranks. And, we absolutely must have more people of color to provide the kind of representation in our membership that reflects the times in which we find ourselves.

I believe that Steve Tompkins is the single person in this race who can effect such change.

Steve possesses a vast breadth of knowledge and experience in the realm of mass communications, political messaging, social media, and strategic outreach that will prove invaluable in his efforts to promote and raise capital for the party platform.

Having worked with him on many socially conscience initiatives and several campaigns – including his successful efforts to elect U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren — I can tell you firsthand that he is a tireless worker who is more concerned with results than resting. He has also been a powerful advocate for the ideals that represent the core of the Democratic Party: fighting for better access to quality education for all; sustainable employment at a true living wage for every American; the great importance of being civically engaged; an end to mass incarceration; and inclusion of all people, regardless of race, gender, age, religion or sexual orientation.

While there are others in this race with, perhaps, more experience as Democratic Party operatives than Steve, there are no others who embody his passion, persistence and vision with the ability to bridge the gap between yesterday’s Massachusetts Democratic Party and tomorrow’s.

I have written this letter to tell you of my support of Steve Tompkins for the Chairmanship of the Massachusetts Democratic State Party and it is my hope that you will join me in supporting this candidate who I believe has the requisite skills to move our Party forward.

Sincerely,

Ray Jordan

 

 

 

 

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O’Brien Out of MassDems Chair Race

Democratic National Committeeman David O’Brien sent out the following email this afternoon withdrawing form the race for Chair of the Massachusetts Democratic Party:

Dear Friend,

I’ve been a candidate for Democratic Party Chair for just a couple of weeks and I’ve learned some important things.

  1. The incredible passion and kindness of you, my fellow members, who care so much about our party.
  2. We have a broken system that disrespects all of us.
  3. Life sometimes gets in the way of our best laid plans and intentions.

Promises are important to me. Earlier this week, a previous commitment I made to an international client experiencing a just now currently critical challenge requires my withdrawal from this race.  I apologize to the many of you who have already pledged your support – I am humbled and grateful for your trust and confidence in me as I believe we would have won.  To the numerous others of you that I have spoken with and to those who were considering supporting me, thank you!

While my leaving is personally painful I’ve learned one overriding lesson.

Lesson:

The scheduling of this election is a travesty.  We should not be spending the critical months during our busiest political season with the distraction of electing our party chair.  (Even our Republican counterparts at the Mass Republican Party hold off on their election of chair until January). So much is at risk nationally in this election.  All of us should be spending as much effort as our family and work obligations allow us to assure that Hillary Clinton is elected President.

Solution:

We need to change the election date to avoid having to face a similar conflict in the future.  Having the distraction of a chair’s race in the midst of the most eventful period on our political calendars is simply wrong.  This will require us to change state law to fix this.  I hope you will join me in an effort to do just that.

Challenge:

I ask you and all of the remaining candidates for party chair to join me in pledging to change our state law so that we do not face a similar situation in the future. If all candidates for Chair do so we will be able to do two things for our party – focus on electing our next president AND elect the best party chair possible in a saner and more respectful process.

I look forward to continuing to work alongside you to elect Democrats across Massachusetts and our Nation!

Appreciatively,

David O’Brien

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MassDems Chair Candidate Bickford Calls for Beaton’s Resignation

The Massachusetts Democratic Party has yet to issue a response to the latest slime oozing out of Gov. Charlie Baker’s Administration, but one of the candidates running to lead the party has.

Today, the Herald reported that state employees loyal to Baker have been accused of harassing and retaliating against a co-worker after her fiancé filed papers to challenge a Republican State Senator.

Though the paid staff and leadership of the MassDems apparently had more pressing matters to deal with, Gus Bickford, a former party staffer and candidate to replace Chair Tom McGee quickly called on Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton to resign.

“The latest allegations of retaliation, threats, and coercion by Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs are the 3rd strike for Secretary Beaton,” Bickford said in a statement. “First we have the Boston Pops event where DCR used taxpayer resources to fundraise politically, next we have the $134,000 a year job for the Governor’s former campaign driver, and now retribution against an employee whose husband challenged a GOP incumbent.”

Bickford called the series of reports “beyond egregious,” and said Baker should ask Beaton to resign.

Bickford also said that if he were leading the MassDems, he would have immediately filed an ethics complaint and demanded relevant public record from the Baker Administration.

“On behalf of MassDems, I would not give Governor Charlie Baker and his administration a free pass,” he said.

 

Disclaimer: I love all of the candidates for MassDems Chair equally. 

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Tompkins Running for MassDems Chair

Suffolk County Sheriff Steve Tompkins today announced that he is running for Massachusetts Democratic Party Chair.

Here is the email he sent to Democratic State Committee members this morning:

Dear XXXX,
Last Friday, I sent an email to my colleagues on the State Committee about Chairman McGee’s decision not to seek reelection to his role as Chair of the Massachusetts Democratic Party. While I hadn’t yet made a decision as to whether or not to run, I shared my plans to use the weekend to talk to people about their thoughts for the future of our party and ideas about what constitutes an effective chair.

I didn’t end up talking to people. Instead, I listened.

I listened to people like State Senator Linda Dorcena Forry. As a leader of color, Senator Forry believes that it’s hard to aspire to be what you can’t see, and that to inspire people of color to actively engage with the Party, the composition of our leadership should reflect the diversity of our state.

I listened to people like Nicole LaChapelle from Easthampton, who believes the Party is most effective when it engages communities from each corner of the Commonwealth. A former Party Treasurer and national finance committee member for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, Nicole knows what it takes to raise the financial resources necessary for a professional operation. I look forward to tapping into these national fundraising networks so we can grow our Party.

I listened to people like Boston City Council President Michelle Wu. Council President Wu values having a Chair who can speak thoughtfully and from the heart about the issues that impact the daily lives of people in Massachusetts – tackling income inequality, improving educational opportunities from pre-k to workforce training programs, criminal justice reform, enhancing affordable housing, and creating jobs.

I listened to people like Adrian Velazquez, a founding member of the Latino Caucus. A dedicated Party staffer who has worked with multiple chairs, Adrian believes that for our Party to grow and thrive, we must focus on a collaborating to cultivate partnerships at the grassroots level.

And they’re right. Our Party will only get stronger if we stand together and use our collective voice to empower people from every corner of the Commonwealth. Our Party will only get stronger if our leadership reflects the diverse faces and shared challenges of those we represent. Our Party will only get stronger if we use our resources to build a foundation that allow us to stand taller together – not prop up a chair with a high salary.

This week, I made the decision to run because you committed to run with me. I’m asking you to support me this November for the following reasons:

We need a Democratic Party chair who is a collaborator. With your support, I will travel across the Commonwealth to make sure that all voices and perspectives are heard and respected.

We need a Democratic Party chair who inspires others to get involved. With your support, I will make it my mission to engage an entirely new group of Democrats that are too often left out – people of color and young people. It is essential that our party reflects the diverse community we represent and that we work to grow it by recruiting and training young adults and people of color.

We desperately need to make investments in our Party to ensure that we have the tools to engage all voters across the state, especially young people, people of color and those who’ve felt left out of the process for too long. Instead of taking the Chair’s salary, I commit to putting the $100,000 back into operations so we can increase our staff and grassroots capacity to move the needle on progressive policies. Additionally, I’ll fundraise vigorously for the Party to ensure that we have the resources to sustain an operation needed to reelect our champions on a local, statewide, and federal level. We must work together and commit to meeting these ambitious goals, and I will be laser focused on that goal as Chair.
But if we are going to do this together, I need you with me. By working together, we can make our Party more inclusive, efficient, effective and collaborative. Can I count on you?

As always, I am most appreciative of your input. Please give me a call at 617.899.XXXX or reach out via email at XXXX@gmail.com.

Steve

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Time for the Legislature to Investigate Baker’s Hack Hiring Hall

The scandal dripping out of Gov. Charlie Baker’s hack hiring hall continued today with an explosive report from the Boston Herald alleging that Baker loyalists within the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs “harassed and retaliated against” a state employee after her fiancé announced a challenge to a sitting Republican State Senator.

Cynthia Lewis, the target of Baker’s hack vigilantes (hackilantes?), has lawyered up.

But according to a “cease and desist” demand letter sent by her former attorneys to the EEA’s legal counsel, and obtained by the Herald, she was “subject to harassment, threats, coercion and intimidation” by Baker appointees in an attempt to get Parker-O’Grady to call off his Democratic challenge to Humason.

The letter says “within an hour” after Parker-O’Grady announced his campaign on Facebook, Lewis was contacted by EEA “personnel officer” Jared Valanzola, a failed GOP legislative candidate whose cousin Michael Valanzola, another failed GOP candidate, was appointed by Baker as chief operating officer at the agency.

“Jared informed Ms. Lewis that (Michael) Valanzola was disgusted with her, suggested she break off her engagement with Mr. Parker-O’Grady, and ominously stated that if Mr. Parker-O’Grady cared about Ms. Lewis’s career he would not turn in the nomination papers,” the letter states.

“Jared specifically told Ms. Lewis that ‘the Administration’ was unhappy and that if Mr. Parker-O’Grady continued his run, her career with the state would be over …”

According to the Herald, the letter from Lewis’ lawyers has sparked an internal investigation within the Baker Administration.

It’s now clear that something is rotten within the Baker Administration. Internal investigations and one-off stories about this hack or that hack aren’t enough to find out what is going on.

It’s time for the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture to open an immediate investigation into the patronage and abuse of the taxpayer’s trust that appear to be running rampant within the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

Late last month, an investigative report from WCVB exposed an illegal party thrown for high-ranking Massachusetts Republican Party officials in July that was organized by top officials at DCR. Those officials apparently directed state employees to organize the party while at work, and used state employees and resources to provide transportation to party guests.

A guest list obtained by State House News Service shortly after that report found that many of Gov. Baker’s top aides, allies and appointees were invited to the party, and therefore had advanced knowledge of it. Reporting from other local news outlets in the wake of this scandal has identified a number of politically-connected staffers working in the upper echelons of EOEEA and DCR.

Last week, the Herald found that Baker’s former campaign driver is earning a six-figure salary as the head of the Environmental Police. Cynthia Lewis worked for him.

As a co-equal branch of government, it is the responsibility of the legislature to provide oversight of the Baker Administration. There is more than enough reasonable cause to suspect that Gov. Baker has revived the bad old days of the MDC, when it was known as a haven for patronage.

If the important work that state agencies charged with protecting our natural resources and promoting tourism has been negatively impact by the shenanigans of unqualified, but politically-connected staff, our elected representatives in the legislature have an obligation to investigate and remedy the problem.

 

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Baker to Put a Banker in Charge of Regulating Banks

A senior executive at Massachusetts’ largest bank is set to become the Commonwealth’s chief bank regulator.

Terry McGinnis quietly resigned his position as General Counsel at Eastern Bank last week and Gov. Charlie Baker is expected to appoint him to be Commissioner of Banks at the end of the month, the Globe reported today.

McGinnis’s appointment marks the first time in nearly three decades that the state’s banking commissioner will come from the banking industry and not from regulatory side. Bankers, lobbyists, and attorneys have been expecting Governor Charlie Baker to appoint his own commissioner since he took office in 2015.

The banking commissioner oversees more than 200 banks and credit unions with combined assets of more than $400 billion. The office supervises nonbank companies such as mortgage lenders and brokers, consumer finance firms, and debt collectors.

McGinnis, shockingly, has been a consistent campaign contributor to Baker and other Massachusetts Republicans.

mcginnis-contribs

Aside from a few written-by-committee statements from advocacy organizations, don’t look for much push back. Eastern Bank is a mammoth financial – and political- institution in the Commonwealth. Through their corporate PAC, to which McGinnis contributed,they spread around a lot of money and influence. Nobody on Beacon Hill wants to get on their bad side.

Eastern Bank PAC contributed to both gubernatorial candidates in 2014, just in case. And they’ve given to most of the Constitutional Officers and some key mayors. The PAC only contributed to two legislators in the last two years: Sen. Jamie Eldridge and Rep. Aaron Michlewitz. Eldridge and Michlewitz co-chair the Joint Committee on Financial Services, which oversees “all matters concerning banks.”

And so it will soon come to pass, in the home state of Sen. Elizabeth Warren a fox in a suit will be put in charge of guarding a $400 billion henhouse.

 

 

 

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BREAKING: Duff out of MassDems Chair Race, endorses Bickford 

Governor’s Councillor Eileen Duff has dropped out of the race to succeed Sen. Tom McGee as Chair of the Massachusetts Democratic Party. 

In an email to Democratic State Committee members this morning, Duff endorsed former MassDems Executive Director and longtime DSC member Gus Bickford.

Here’s Duff’s email:

Dear Friends, 

Thank you for all your support over these past weeks. I can not express how truly grateful I am for you friendship. You represent all that is great about our party. However, at this time I regret to inform you that I will not be a candidate for Chair of the Massachusetts Democratic Party due solely to family issues.

Our party is at a critical juncture, we can either decide to hold the course or opt for a selfless leader with strong progressive values whose sights are firmly fixed on the parties best interest. My call for change gave voice to the importance of our platform, and made clear that we elect candidates that fit our values, not the other way around

I emphasized the importance of a Party apparatus that reflects the identities of all of our communities. Too often we forget that our state has elected only one African-American governor, and has yet to elect a female one. Equitable representation starts with us, in the makeup of our organization and our campaigns.

We still have a long way to go until our organization is achieving its potential.

My objective during this transformative time was to bring much-needed change to our Party leadership, and I’m proud to say I’ve accomplished that goal. Sometimes it just takes one person to stand up, and I am proud to have been that person. No matter what happens in November, we’ll have a new face leading the Party. But long-lasting change requires someone with vision and demonstrated ability to run the Party. I believe that Gus Bickford is the best candidate for the job. Over the coming weeks I will work tirelessly to ensure he is elected in November. Gus’s first job out of college was as an organizer running the campaign of the first African-American state representative to win in a majority-white district. Since then he has worked at nearly every level of the Party, including as Executive Director when Weld held the corner office. No one knows better than he, the challenges we are facing with Baker as Governor. I believe that he has the progressive values, grassroots mindset, fundraising prowess and organizational experience to move our Party forward.

Let’s continue to work towards our goal of a building an effective organization. Can I count on you to stand with me in my support of Gus? 
In solidarity,

Eileen Duff

DSC Member

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