When the chips were down a few years ago and few were willing to stand up, rock the boat and call on President Barack Obama to slow down deportations from the country and places like Chelsea – Illinois Congressman Luis Gutiérrez told a crowd of people at Pan Y Café in Cary Square last Friday that one man stood with him.
That man was Congressman Michael Capuano, and the popular Latino congressman from Illinois appeared with Capuano Friday morning, July 20, in Chelsea to endorse Capuano and remind voters here how hard Capuano has been working – both in good times and bad times.
“Ten years ago I came to East Boston to tell President Obama to stop the deportations,” Gutierrez said. “There wasn’t a lot of Democrats who wanted to strongly tell our president to do that. Barack Obama was popular, we liked him and we wanted him to success, but the deportations were continuing. Not many wanted to do that. Mike didn’t hesitate. We met with immigrant groups together 10 years ago to deliver that message and we’ve been working together every since then on these issues.”
Gutierrez has become a very popular member of Congress in the last few years as immigration issues have come to the forefront and he has combined with others like Capuano to tell the stories of those caught up in the system. Capuano took him on a tour of two locations in Chelsea Friday and one in Boston – talking to Latino and immigrant groups throughout the City. It reinforced that battle ground nature that Chelsea has taken on within the congressional race between himself and challenger Ayanna Pressley.
On Friday, he also received the endorsement of Councillor Leo Robinson and Roy Avellaneda. State Rep. Dan Ryan, who previously endorsed him, was also in attendance – as were several local movers and shakers.
“I didn’t know a lot about Mike when I came on the City Council many years ago, but on the advice of a neighbor and other councillors, I met with him and he was a solid guy,” said Avellaneda. “I looked at his resume and I’ve never looked back and never regretted supporting him. I’ve called on Mike so many times over the years for an issue regarding Chelsea…He earned my vote back then and has for the last 20 years.”
Robinson reminded everyone that Capuano has always brought home important monies for Chelsea from the federal government, including money recently allocated for rebuilding Quigley Hospital at the Soldiers’ Home.
Capuano was gracious, and said he really appreciated the support from Chelsea and Gutierrez, his colleague in Washington, D.C.
“It’s nice when you’re under the gun to learn who stands with you,” he told the crowd, moving on to the immigration issue and the family separation he recently saw in a trip to the Texas/Mexico border. “It’s a simple question. Do you like people or don’t you? Do you want to be a country that’s welcoming or don’t you?…None of us would have said that we would live in a country where the official policy was to rip nursing infants from their mothers…It’s horrible and it’s not right. Infants and their mothers should be together…Unless Democrats get the House back, we won’t have any progress on these issues. If Democrats get the House back, I promise you we will deal with the TPS (Temporary Protective Status) issue. We will deal with the infants ripped from their mother’s arms. We will have honest discussions and debate about comprehensive immigrations reform. It will be difficult, but at least we will have a chance because we’ll be talking about it.”
Nathan Smolensky, a non-profit manager from Somerville, has announced that he will be running as an Independent for Massachusetts’s 7th District Congressional seat.
“We need Independent voices to speak up,” says Smolensky, “now more than ever. The parties are becoming increasingly polarized, and that means more strong-arming and undermining in our politics, and somehow even less getting done. The Democrats and Republicans are locked in this endless tug-of-war, and the American people are paying the price. But we can break the partisan stranglehold by demonstrating a formula for Independent success, and if we do that we can really change things.”
Smolensky’s own brand of non-partisan politics is focused on themes of empowering local solutions by making the federal government more symbiotic with local efforts, improving government efficiency by addressing wasteful and unsustainable spending programs, and making long-term policy possible by creating a blueprint for Independent success that can pave the way for a shift of the political landscape away from the volatile pendulum swings of the current paradigm.
The 27-year-old Somerville resident is currently best known for his work with the non-profit Massachusetts Chess Association, where he has served as president since 2013. In that role, he has spearheaded the organization’s educational initiative, Chess for Early Educators, which currently has pilots for curricular programs run by regular schoolteachers in several Somerville public schools.
Massachusetts’s 7th Congressional District is comprised of the municipalities of Somerville, Everett, Chelsea, and Randolph, roughly 70 percent of the city of Boston, and about half of the city of Cambridge and the town of Milton. Since taking its current shape in 2013, it has been won by incumbent Democrat Michael E. Capuano, also of Somerville, without a general election challenge. Its lopsided nature, however, can be a boon for independents, argues Smolensky:
“That’s the beauty of running in a district like this one. There’s no third-party or spoiler stigma. You’re not asking anyone to throw their vote away. You don’t have that bogeyman of the greater evil to scare people away from voting Independent. This is the kind of environment we [Independents] can thrive in, and, thanks in part to gerrymandering, there are a lot of places we can find it.”
Currently, Capuano is facing a primary challenge in Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley. No other candidates have announced intentions to run.
Registered Democrats in the City of Chelsea Ward 4, held a Caucus on February 3, 2018 at the Chelsea Public Library to elect Delegates to the 2018 Democratic State Convention.
Elected Delegates are:
Olivia Anne Walsh
91 Crest Ave.
103 Franklin Ave.
Thomas J. Miller
91 Crest Ave.
Theresa G. Czerepica
21 Prospect Ave.
This year’s State Convention will be held June 1-2 at the DCU Center in Worcester, where thousands of Democrats from across the Commonwealth will come together to endorse Democratic candidates for statewide office, Including Constitutional officers and gubernatorial candidates
Those interested in getting involved with the Chelsea Ward 4 Democratic Committee should contact Attorney Olivia Anne Walsh, Ward 4 Chair, at 617-306-5501.
Registered Democrats in these will hold a caucus on February 3, 2018, 10:00 a.m. at Chelsea Library to elect delegates and alternates to the 2018 Massachusetts Democratic State Convention.
This year’s state convention will be held June 1-1 DCU Center in Worcester, where Democrats from across the state will come together to endorse Democratic candidates for statewide office, including Constitutional Officers and gubernatorial candidates. The caucus is open to all registered and pre-registered Democrats in Chelsea Wards 1, 2 & 4.
Pre-registered Democrats who will be 18 by September 18, 2018 will be allowed to participate and run as a delegate or alternate.
Youth, minorities, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ individuals who are not elected as a delegate or alternate may apply to be an add-on delegate at the caucus or at www.mass.dems.org.
Those interested in getting involved with the Democratic ward committee Committee should;
Jose Vaquerano Ward 1 617-279-3867
Sandra Brown Ward 2 617-466-1548
Olivia Walsh Ward 4 617-305-5501
Candidate Chris Remmes said he learned
to deal with cold ears in opting to wear
his Red Sox cap instead of warmer ski
hats or ski masks – which might worry
those answering their doors.
Frozen pens, rain-frazzled hair and thermal-insulated snowsuits aren’t typically the things of political campaigns, but cold weather campaigning has been the only option for the candidates of the 2nd Suffolk District over the last few weeks due to a unique race that has transpired over one of the worst winter stretches in years.
Snow came down and the temperatures dipped into the teens for several days earlier this month, but nonetheless candidates Roy Avellaneda, Dan Ryan and Chris Remmes – all Democrats vying for election in next week’s March 4 Primary – have not taken a day off or curled up on the coach to make phone calls.
There simply is not enough time.
The three candidates have been out in the thick of it; and oh the stories they have to tell.
“I was at a Senior Center the other day and bringing in several boxes of pizza for a meet and greet,” said Avellaneda. “I was all scarfed up and had my big rain boots on as I carried the boxes. I took a step and slipped, and literally fell completely on my back. This was in front of a bunch of people who were inside looking out at me. I landed flat on my back. When I got up and went in, one guy told me that any guy who would break his back for a state rep seat had his vote. That’s been the reaction across the district. Everyone is amazed the candidates are coming out. Most say that because I’m willing to come out in this weather, then they are impressed enough to vote for me.”
At the Dan Ryan campaign, they have learned a few tricks through the experience of trudging through the snow and ice to get our their message.
“Normally, you would go out for about three hours at a time, but that’s not possible in sub zero temperatures,” said Adam Webster of the Ryan Campaign. “You go out for 15 minutes and come in and warm up and then go out again. We’ve been doing everything a regular campaign would have done in warmer weather, but the cold has made it trickier. You do learn how to deal with strange, cold weather things like how pens freeze up all the time. They freeze really quick in this weather, so you learn to have a stash of pens in your pocket so you always have a warm one ready. You learn these little things as you go.”
Candidate Chris Remmes said going door-to-door in the snow requires a different tack and attention to the details of how one dresses.
“I’ve knocked on more than 3,600 doors already in the district,” he said. “Generally, with the weather situation, I think it’s mostly attitude. You work on 80 percent attitude, and the other 20 percent is warm clothing. I have figured out how to dress properly for sure. However, you have to keep in mind what you look like when people answer the door. You can’t wear a big knit ski cap or a ski mask even though it’s very cold. So, my Red Sox hat has gotten some major wear.
“Also, earlier in the campaign – in January – you only had a limited time to campaign because it got dark at 4:30 p.m.,” he continued. “You can’t go to a door or hold signs in the dark. So you have to plan carefully ahead, and I tended to do two-hour clips at a time and then take a break. That proved to be about what I could tolerate.”
Meanwhile, there is also a bit of strategy involved in figuring out how to be efficient and how to keep the campaign rolling even when the rest of the world has seemingly stopped in its tracks due to bad weather.
“We’ve focused a lot on a real neighbor to neighbor and friend to friend approach with our campaign,” said Webster of the Ryan Campaign. “Instead of only going out and knocking on the doors of strangers, we’ve developed a network of supporters reaching out to people and luckily that can be done from the warmth of their homes. We have been knocking doors and holding signs too, but networking has proven important.”
Remmes said he has found that indoor activities have proven helpful, and his campaign has moved in that direction this week – including two house parties in Chelsea.
“In the last week or so, we’ve done a lot of host parties, which is a good way to meet people,” he said. “Chelsea is going to be a central piece of this election, so my last two parties are going to be in Chelsea. We’ve naturally also done a lot with social media and phone banking, which helps us take a break from the cold.”
Avellaneda said it has been interesting to learn how to stay efficient and on the move in times where there are snow emergencies or blizzard warnings.
“You can’t predict the weather,” he said. “When it comes to door knocking, we find ways to continue. For example, there was one blustery weekend when we planned to hit a neighborhood of single-family homes, but we couldn’t because of the snow. So, we changed up and concentrated on a few large apartment buildings that we were going to do later. Where we were going up elevators and through hallways, we could campaign in the warmth when it wasn’t compatible outside. That was a day when you weren’t allowed to drive the streets. You can’t stop though because you can’t take a Saturday off. There’s just not enough time in the campaign.”
And that campaign is quickly coming to a close, with voting taking place next Tuesday, March 4. Because there is no Republican on the ballot, the winner of the Primary likely will be the automatic winner of the April 1 General Election.