Do your part: Democratic Lawmakers must enact the Massachusetts Democratic Party Platform
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Chairman Bickford and Massachusetts State Democratic Party Committee,
With Donald Trump taking us backward on issue after issue on the national level, Massachusetts is lucky to hold Democratic supermajorities in our legislature, with 90% in the house, and 84% in the Senate. Despite their power, our overwhelmingly Democratic Congress has not addressed the issues facing the Commonwealth with any urgency. Their inaction makes the words of the MA Democratic Party Platform adopted in June ring hollow:
We Demand: Living wages, benefits that support working families, and the right to organize and collectively bargain for all workers.
- Raising the minimum wage (H.2365/S.1004)
- Paid Family and Medical Leave (H.2172/S.1048)
We Demand: A single-payer healthcare system that delivers health care as a basic human right.
- Medicare-For-All (H.2987/S.619)
We Demand: Free, high-quality public education from preschool through college
- Free Public College (H.633/S.681)
We Demand: That all people be treated equal, no matter their race, religion, national origin, gender identity, or sexual orientation; We stand with our immigrant, refugee, and minority communities.
- Safe Communities for Immigrants (H.3269/S.1305)
We will fight for: same day voter registration and automatic voter registration.
- Automatic voter registration (H.2091/S.373)
We will fight for: Investment in sustainable green jobs and 21st Century green technologies.
- Building the Green Economy (H.2706/S.1864).
These bills are stuck in "Committees" and may never be brought to a vote. Key platform planks are not legislated—they are put to ballot initiatives, allowing legislators delay the process, shirk their responsibility and pass the buck to their overburdened constituency.
The supermajority Democrats are plenty capable of legislating. Their very first achievement was to pass an emergency law (H.58) to give themselves a massive raise. They promptly overturned Governor Baker’s veto (116 to 43) so we know they can exercise their considerable power. Yet those who were so quick to enrich themselves refuse to follow the platform and raise the minimum wage to $15/hour.
Last week, we received an email from Chairman Bickford urging us to “do our part” to collect 10,000 signatures to get Paid Family and Medical Leave and the $15/hr minimum wage on the 2018 ballot. It seems a noble goal, until you consider the fact that those bills could be passed in an afternoon by our elected Democrats.
We are already out there collecting signatures for these desperately-needed reforms, but we act in the absence of party leadership. If there were true leadership, these labor-intensive ballot initiatives would be completely unnecessary.
We are utterly disgusted. What, if anything, does this Democratic Legislature stand for besides their personal enrichment? What, if anything, does this Democratic Party stand for besides hollow rhetoric?
We expect Chairman Bickford to issue an apology for asking for volunteer labor to do his work, and we demand that he "do his part" by publicly denouncing the Democratic legislative leadership responsible for not bringing platform bills to a vote.
Through inaction and unaccountability, the Massachusetts Democratic Party is undermining its own platform, its political legitimacy, and its future. By remaining silent and refusing to act, the Democratic Party risks alienating a generation of activists and political leaders.
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