Activities of the Carlisle Committee
Town Democratic Town Committees are the party's closest, most direct connections to towns. We promote the objectives and interests of the Democratic Party, encourage interest in the Democratic Party, and work for the success of Democratic candidates in our district, county, state, and nation, and we support progressive ideals in party platforms.
Who We Are
We are a group of about 25 members organized according to the MA State Democratic Town Committee rules. We meet almost every month to share ideas, hear from guest speakers, and undertake projects. We also have several members who are State Committee members and keep us current with work at the state level. The public is encouraged to attend our meetings, all of which are open. And remember, it is always more fun holding those signs in the cold November rain with compadres!
What We Do
Acquaint Townspeople with candidates and elected officials. Below left, Co-chairs Bob Wallhagen and Nancy Kronenberg host 2018 Gubernatorial Candidate, Jay Gonzalez (center.) Right, Candidate for Governor, Bob Massie speaks to us.
Candi-Dating. The Carlisle DTC partnered with our town's Indivisible chapter, Carlisle Rising to Action, to create a 3 part series to bring all the candidates for the US House primary to speak, and then answer questions in small groups. The DTC moderated the third, and largest, segment on April 5th.
Educate: Invite speakers, and try new things together. A popular presentation in June of 2018 was by Jacob Silterra from Voter Choice MA on Ranked Choice Voting. He explained how it works, and mentioned OpaVote.com which has RCV simulators anyone can try. We set up an experiment with 25 voters - members and other interested people. We voted on the slate of ten primary candidates for US House, a slate guaranteed not to produce a majority winner in the first round. The OpaVote report showed each of the six rounds needed to decide the winner. Looking at the rounds helps to see some of the fine points. Ballots for ranking choices will be more complex, but can still be done on paper if needed.
Voter Choice MA is collecting signatures on a petition to get the question on the 2020 November ballot. The signature drive runs through Nov 8, 2019. There are voters who do not know what RCV is, so here is the most straightforward description:
The ballot allows the voter to rank candidates by specifying the one which is their 1st choice, 2nd choice, and so on. Vote tallying is done in rounds, the first of which is just like an election today: a candidate who wins a majority of the vote, is the winner. If no candidate wins a majority, then a second round of counting begins by eliminating the candidate with the fewest votes in the previous round. Each ballot which had this candidate as 1st choice then has their next highest choice for a candidate still in the race, counted. Rounds with a candidate elimination, and alternate choices given to other candidates continues until at least one candidate has achieved a winning majority.
Advantages of RCV are 1) the winner has a majority, not merely a plurality; 2)runoff elections are avoided; 3)campaigns may be a little less partisan as each candidate is aware that if they cannot be a first choice, they can benefit from being a voter's second choice; 4) voters improve their participation through having multiple choices considered. There are a couple of downsides: 1) the ballot is more complex, and 2) counting votes is more complex too and takes longer. Note that Secretary of the Commonwealth, William Galvin favors RCV.
Act On Issues
In early 2019, we surveyed our members to see what issues topped their lists. Climate Change was considered the most serious followed by Clean Elections. A member suggested a speaker program for the year, not only to educate our town and others, but also to try to strengthen our committee for the challenges coming in 2020. The first speaker was Dr. Naomi Oreskes, May 9, 7pm at the Carlisle School. She spoke to a large audience on "Climate Change: What Now?"
Social Gatherings! We have two social gatherings each year at members' homes for good conversation and meeting candidates, elected officials, friends and neighbors. The Spring Social for town residents was this past March and we had a chance to discuss issues of interest with State Senator Mike Barrett.
The 2019 Summer Picnic for the the 3rd Middlesex Area Democrats was August 18. It was hot and sunny, causing shade to be in, well ... hot demand. But we had a game crowd who came to mingle and talk with Rep Lori Trehan, MA Sen Mike Barrett and Rep Tami Gouveia, plus 2020 US Senate candidates Shannon Liss-Riordan and Steve Pemberton. Also: Register of Deeds Richard Howe, Middlesex DA Marian Ryan.
Thanks to Bob and Marcia for hosting. Thanks to Anne Gibbs for organizing, Francis Tacardon for publicity and photographer Maureen Cosgrove-Deery. Finally, the picnic would not be possible without the good natured work and commaraderie of numerous Carlisle DTC members and friends.
Campaign for Democrats via door-to-door, phone banking, texting, and writing postcards. Our members are experienced with the tools, and have contacts in other organizations which we sometimes work with. Shed your door-to-door intimidation by going out with an experienced member; feel the reward of personal contact! Our members canvassed in the primaries and also the mid-terms for specific candidates and the coordinated Democratic Campaign of Massachusetts. Several worked for campaigns in other states as part of the Indivisible 2018 goal of re-taking the US House.
Contact Legislators to support issues. Yes, you can write them and we make it as easy as possible, by providing names and full contact info right in one convenient table. At the moment we have an initiative to contact all the co-sponsors of the Benson Carbon Pricing Bill in the State House. Since they already support the bill, what we expressed was thanks for the co-sponsorship. You might be pleasantly surprised that quite a few take a moment to write a personal email back.
Call to Caucus to elect delegates to the Massachusetts State Convention. The CDTC publishes information in the local paper, and urges registered Democrats in the town to participate in the caucus. We usually hold our caucuses on Saturday morning in the Hollis Room of Gleason Library, from about 10:30 to 1:30, a time we hope most can make. You may register as a democrat on the spot. This year's caucus was May 18, 10:30.