Activities of the Carlisle Committee
Democratic Town Committees are the party's closest, most direct connections to towns. We promote the objectives and interests of the Democratic Party, by working for the success of Democratic candidates and supporting progressive ideals.
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.
As has happened everywhere we have switched to virtual meetings in Zoom. Right: 9 of our members and a volunteer in our Friends group, Dec 2020. A computer snag reduced attendence, sigh...
Recent Activities 2021
Capitol Take Over, Jan 6
This egregious act demanded that we take a stand. We wrote a letter of condemnation to the Mosquito asking citizens to contact Rep. Trehan, and Senators Warren, and Markey letting them know of action we thought they should support in Congress. Our letter elicited an unsigned response that contained Trump supporters' standard blame game and trying to draw us into the game of what-about-ism. We discussed extensively and decided to write a letter to the Mosquito board asking if they would revisit their policies regarding opinion without factual basis and their anonymity. They published their response to our letter and others (focused on anonymity) by ignoring the question of factual basis and stating that it has long been their policy to protect writers from possible harassment, which they felt applied in this case. With regard to facts and possible disclaimers, they are probably constrained by their non-profit status from taking any position even in the case of lies, though they did not offer this explanation. We concluded that facts are the responsibility of the LTE writers and followed up with an LTE citing factual support for our original assertion that the Jan 6 takeover was an attempt by Donald Trump and his various supporters to stop Congress's obligation to affirm the Electoral College Vote.
MA State House Opaque Rules
Act On Mass has been working for some time on moving the state legislature toward greater transparency in its legislative process. At the CDTC Jan 21, Ryan Daulton from AOM presented what they have been doing: breaking the ice with House reps through constituent meetings, defining a substantive first step and signing on members to support three improvements for 2021-2022. The CDTC unanimously endorsed the Act On Mass initiative. We contacted all DTC chairs in the state to help and submitted a letter to the Mosquito acknowledging Tami Gouveia's leadership in this effort, and urging townspeople to send her their support. Most rule changes are still in the future (Jun or Jul 2021) but joint committee rules were passed with a modest step forward. In the future, joint committee votes, rather than being unpublished, will be published with the No Voters only listed. Odd.
National Day of Service Dedicated By Joe Biden & Kamela Harris
Jan 11 through Friday Jan 15 we accepted food donations in a bin at Gleason Library. It was quite successful! The town donated 4 and a half bins full plus a car that trailed Bob Kearney to Billerica one day with additional donations. Thanks to the many neighbors who generously responded!
Support for 2020 Elections
Needless to say this was an action-packed year. The pandemic precipitated revisions in how we vote. Rick and Francis made an email list of all the DTC chairs in the state. Launa and Nancy prepared a finely tuned letter advocating the most comprehensive changes to make voting easier. We got it mailed to all DTC chairs precisely timed in the narrow window between all amendments approved and voting in the Legislature. We asked the chairs to forward to members and townspeople and ask them to contact Reps and Senators supporting it.
The largest project undertaken by the DTC as a whole was writing postcards. A Concord Indivisible member made and distributed packages of postcards with all materials needed to write and mail. 19 volunteers - CDTC members and others who got the word - wrote thirteen rounds of postcards - more than 3000 altogether - to GA, FL, PA, TX, NC urging voters to apply for mail-in ballots. In Manatee County, FL we even piggy-backed the stamped VBM application on our contact post card so the voter had only to fill it in, tear it off and drop in the mail. Special thanks to members of CRTA who picked up post card packages in Wayland and delivered them to Carlisle.
Indivisible Andover volunteered to train us in texting for the Environmental Voter Project. Following training we texted for them until they ran out of lists. Then some of us moved on to texting in ME, PA, WI, TX. One member connected through TogetherFor2020 to the democratic campaign in Arizona.
Several members recruited volunteers in town to work for the Biden campaign and the "Carlisle 4 Biden" group then phone banked for the campaign for many weeks. Two members volunteered with the Warren and Warnock campaigns.
The DTC donated funds to various senate campaigns, and also to BLM.
Thanks to a committee friend for working assiduously to get RCV on the ballot. Thanks to another friend for writing letters with Vote Forward.
In our new town center members and friends held socially distanced visibility events with signs for our candidates.
The website home page was frequently updated to provide "curated" opportunities to help, e.g., links to high leverage organizations like the Sister Districting Project which reaches into state legislature elections, Stacey Abrams' Fair Fight for the best way to help the GA Senate elections, as well as directly to campaigns. Thanks to Francis for keeping our FB page up to date with news.
Grass roots really works! And, it's also rewarding to partner with groups and individuals beyond the DTC.
More - 2018 and 2019
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.
RCV made the 2020 ballot questions, but failed to pass. Still, it is worth looking at our experiment to see exactly how it works - probably it will be back.
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.