Political Action

This IS what Democracy looks like!

MARCHING FORWARD MASS leaders, members, friends and neighbors.  WOW, what a group of activists! This is a LONG blogpost but we have lots to say and we hope you enjoy reading.  Please send thoughts and comments to strength@marchingforwardmass.com.

From our start in January 2017 as we returned from Marches across our nation (and world), we came together to form strategies as a positive and pragmatic path forward during the most volatile political times in many of our collective memories.  

We gathered friends and neighbors from the South Coast to decide on best practices for our nascent group.  We aligned with Indivisible Guide together with Sister Organizations in regions within the State of MA. First, we formed HUDDLE groups around key areas requiring protective actions:  Healthcare, Immigration, (Protection of) Honest Journalism, Political Actions and Environment. We huddled in subgroups and "rolled up" into our combined MFM (Marching Forward Mass) group to gain knowledge, share learnings and form actions.  Speakers included Helena DaSilva Hughes with State Senator Chris Markey (Immigration), Paul Feeney, newly announced MA State Senate Candidate and now State Senator (Foxboro) and Tad Devine (Al Gore, Bernie Sanders National Campaign Consultant) with Scott Lang, Attorney and former Mayor of New Bedford, as well as Michael ROCHA MD , who spoke with our Healthcare Huddle on moving to Healthcare for All.  We closed the year with a forum for constituents with our U.S. Congressman Bill Keating and our Journalism Huddle hosted an evening with Charles Sennett, The Ground Truth Project.

We have deepened long term friendships, made new friends and welcomed many new residents to our towns seeking like minded political activists looking to affect positive change.To enable this our website, www.marchingforwardmass.com, provides our home base for communication, outreach and database management.  450 interested citizens follow us on our Facebook page. All of this "funded" by volunteers and a donation jar passed at meetings and events*.

Early last Spring, we turned our attentions to the essential Midterm Elections, November 6, 2018.  We first attended an Indivisible Guide conference in Worcester, MA and then met with a partner IG (Indivisible Guide) team in Weston, MA who are expert at tracking data on candidates in "swing regions" of our country. We learned that Congressional seats were the most likely to benefit from our actions.  Our leaders met together to form strategies: First, we decided that we wanted to "step out of our Blue state" with attention on Congressional Campaigns in regions close enough to travel to at Canvassing time. We launched our "ADOPT A CANDIDATE" program in April and backed our first Candidate Conor Lamb, PA 17.  Our list of candidates was sent to our full membership for online voting and four additional districts (some had primaries) were selected for focus and support: NJ03, ANDY KIM (in June, Mary Boger and Terry Cryan hosted a well attended breakfast at Mary's home in June with ANDY); NJ11 MIKIE SHERRILL, led by team leaders Laurie Bullard, Nancy Train Smith (who both grew up in the district) and John Bullard; ME02, JARED GOLDEN led by Vic Mailey, Bess Coughlin and Bettina Borders; and NY01, PERRY GERSHON led by Judy Jenkins, Barbara Trecker, Susan Kehoe and Rachel Lewis.

Each team expanded to include relatives, friends and neighbors to participate in each campaign's plan of attack.  Every team began by connecting to Campaign Directors to determine how we could best help. Tactics included postcard mailing, calling, texting, sending money (of course) and canvassing in districts. We were all so grateful for the generosity of TIME, resources and donated housing from the members of each team.  Many of us have now lived together, walked muddy roads together, discovered "minivan" software, had like-minded and vastly opposing political conversations, felt safe and unsafe but mostly purposeful in our attempt to contribute to the complex work of protecting our democracy, piece by piece. Working together with focus, purpose, passion and AN END DATE has been hard work and rewarding.  Mostly we agree that it has been spirited FUN.

The 2018 Midterm Election gave Democrats control of the House AND gains in Governorships and State Legislatures, too.  Democrats gained enough seats to deprive Republicans of super majorities in Michigan, North Carolina and Pennsylvania and set a record for the number of single-party-controlled legislatures. Only Minnesota will be divided. The last time U.S. had only one divided legislature was in 1914. With final ballots counted, Democrats have achieved a total takeover of congressionals seats in the one-time Republican bastion of Orange County known as “Regan Country”).

Women have never held more than 84 of the 435 seats in the House. 100 Women, who are overwhelmingly Democrats, have been officially declared winners (net gain +4%) and it's not just numbers but a diverse group of women:  

  • MA and CT are the first to have African American Congresswomen;

  • Texas elected its first two Latina women;

  • Two Muslim women and two Native American Women will be part of our new Congress;

  • Two of the youngest women, both 29, were elected to Congress.

Our Adopted Candidates results:  

  • Perry Gershon, NY01: Our group, lead by Judy Jenkins, Barbara Trecker, Susan Kehoe and Rachel Lewis,  found campaign directors to be most responsive and eager for our engagement. Leaders led many of us with strong actions and thousands of postcards written for Perry.  The campaign was a very difficult race from the beginning as voters liked status quo in this very red, wealthy district believed to be enjoying tax breaks both corporate and individual. Further complicating this campaign was a population low in year round “millennials.”  Trump-like incumbent remains.

  • MIKIE SHERRILL, NJ11: Mikie is a strong candidate seeking a seat vacant due to retirement. Our group, led by Laurie Bullard, Nancy Train Smith (who both grew up in region) and John Bullard, found the Campaign well-staffed (both paid and volunteer), organized, and welcoming with progressive training from canvassing 101 on up.  John and Laurie spent time with Mikie’s father at a post-election party and Laurie received an email from Mikie post-election. Canvassers spent several (often rainy) weekends in the region.

  • ANDY KIM, NJ03: After accepting a very narrow win and a challenge of results, Andy was declared the winner a week following election. The campaign was very responsive and eager for “boots on the ground.”  Andy was well known to many of us as we were introduced and devotees after meeting him in our hometown in June. A band of activists led by Terry Cryan and Mary Boger rented a place in the NJ region together (dorm room anyone?) and knocked on hundreds of doors over a four day stay just prior to Election Day.  

  • JARED GOLDEN, ME02: After a nail biting challenge to “ranked choice voting” law, Jared Golden has been declared the winner in this very tight race.   Leaders Vic Mailey, Bess Coughlin and Bettina Borders spent seven weeks in this huge district with three contingencies. It is the largest Congressional District East of the Mississippi (28,000 Square Miles) and the 24th largest district overall.  Generous friends donated housing in multiple locations and several teams participated in sections and blocks of time. Rick Schnure hosted groups for canvassing in Mexico, Rumford and Bethel, Maine and Betsy Powell canvassed together with her sister through their childhood neighborhoods and surrounds. When I witnessed the campaign outpost being set up in Machias by Bettina, Vic and Bess, I realized how deeply embedded they were and how the campaign was so deeply grateful for their leadership, actions, organization, compassion and fight!  Vic says “In all the areas where South Coasters worked - Hancock, Oxford and Washington Counties - Democrats outperformed their showing in 2016”.

MIKIE SHERRILL, NJ11, ANDY KIM, NJ03 and JARED GOLDEN, ME02 now represent their constituents in the 116th U.S. CONGRESS!  

I am SO honored to have served by your sides as we took strategic actions together.  

We gathered many of our leaders together two days post-election day while several of our AAC races were still pending.  We shared stories and experiences. As I walked into my kitchen to join our activists, friends and neighbors, whom I know so much better now, I nearly burst into tears as EVERY PERSON in that room (and many who couldn’t make it on that particular night) would have been active in the Midterm elections in some shape or form.  What they, and many of you have said, is it is the sense of “community” in our group that unites us and forms a collaborative to form strategies and actions with spirit. Our “regional, neighborhood group” MARCHING FORWARD MASS is like SO MANY activist organizations that sprung up after the 2016 election. We are united as Indivisible Guide groups and part of the whole.  YUP. This IS what Democracy looks like.


So now.  We are taking a break to enjoy some wins and some family, holiday time.  We continue our cause and politically related actions on a local, statewide, regional and national basis.  We are reaching out to leaders in the Democratic Party and to activist groups that we may choose to join together with in the near future as we look ahead.  We know 2020 is just around the corner and we will be back in late January/early February with a Speaker forum and thoughts about “next”. Until then as we gather in thanks please plan to join us in 2019 as we MARCH FORWARD www.marchingforwardmass.com   


*Funds are used exclusively for website software fees and incidental meeting fees.

Charles Sennott, General Meeting, and Latest News

Speaker Event: Charles Sennott


Charles Sennott

Charles Sennott

Please join us this Thursday, February 15th as our Journalism Huddle will host a talk by Charles Sennott, the founder and executive director of The GroundTruth Project, a nationally-recognized non-profit news organization championing the work of emerging journalists. The 6 PM event is free and open to the public. It will take place at the Francis J. Larkin Moot Courtroom at the UMass Dartmouth Law School, 333 Faunce Corner Road, North Dartmouth, MA. Ample free parking is available.

Sennott, a veteran journalist with a storied career as a foreign correspondent, will speak about attacks on the media and what can be done to strengthen legitimate journalism. “There are problems across the information landscape, including fake news manufactured in the dark corners of the web and in the corridors of power, ‘’ he says. “Opposite ends of the political spectrum retreat to cable news and social media networks that reinforce existing views.”

GroundTruth supports enterprise and investigative reporting from all corners of the globe, including underreported areas of the United States. The mission of Groundtruth is to shatter preconceived ideas and get to the heart of an issue through factual, objective and immersive reporting that enlightens and informs across all media platforms. GroundTruth has partnered with news organizations to support projects such as “Crossing the Divide: Reporting Across America,” in collaboration with WGBH. Together with public radio station WCAI, it has just announced an environmental reporting fellowship on Cape Cod. For more information, go to http://thegroundtruthproject.org/

Group Meeting for Candidate Voting

All are welcome

All are welcome


Our Political Action Huddle and MFM Leaders have been working with sister INDIVISIBLE GROUPS throughout MA to build strategies together for the crucial 2018 MID TERM ELECTIONS.  We will share our combined selection criteria to "turn the house blue" using offensive strategies in chosen districts. Numerous tactics will be reviewed for deployment during primaries (mainly May/June) through to elections in November, 2018.  

Teams will PITCH their candidates as we aim to narrow our list of "Adoptees" from 7-8 to 3-4.  Our members will vote online AND in person at the 2.22 meeting so please spread the work AND reply regarding attendance as space is limited.

Conor Lamb

Conor Lamb

candidate spotlight:  Conor Lamb
Pennsylvania 18th district

As a ‘warm up’ to our Adopt a Candidate program, we invite you to support  Conor Lamb. Conor is a strong candidate for the March 13 special election in PA18. He has deep local support - and is also up against big Republican spending and negative ads.

This is an opportunity for all of us to get involved in a critical race with national implications.

Some background:
- Local to his district
- attended college and law school in PA
- was Captain in US Marine Corps, completed active duty in 2013, now in Marine Corps reserves
-served as Assistant US attorney in PA from 2014-2017

Conor Lamb’s priorities are positive, action oriented, and importantly, reflect the needs and priorities of his district.

What you can do now:
- visit Lamb’s web site and sign up as a volunteer.
- visit his campaign Facebook page often. ‘Like’ and comment on posts there. Share his posts on your personal Facebook page. Spread the word via other social media.
- consider contributing to his campaign

additional articles of interest

Will truth win out? Rob Porter’s departure holds a key to effective journalism in the Trump era.
- The Washington Post

Attack ads fly in Pennsylvania as Republican meets with pro-privatization group
- The Washington Post

Posted by Lisa Segura

Looking Ahead

Marching Forward

Summer is waning, and the Administration and Congress have a very full schedule for the next few months.  That means that we at Marching Forward do as well.  Pay attention to the issues that matter most to you, and contact your members of Congress, and also Congressional leaders and committee chairpersons.  We have all heard that the involvement and feedback from citizens all over the country has made a real difference in Washington.  Let's keep it up!

More specific news about Marching Forward actions and events will be posted in the coming weeks, including meeting dates, political action opportunities, and the Film Festival in late October. 

From our hardworking HealthCare Huddle is this update on ACA.  
GOP ability to Dismantle ACA may expire, possible bipartisan effort to shore up insurance markets.  New York Times,  September 1, 2017

Looking Ahead to 2018 and 2020

2018 elections are coming, and are very important.  Do you want to play a role?  Search our Political Action resources on the web site, and stay tuned for local initiatives. 

How progressive activists are leading the Trump resistance - with or without the Democratic Party.  
Rolling Stone, August 24, 2017

Trump resistance groups look beyond Washington for victories.                                       Washington Post, September 3, 2017 

This behavioral phenomenon is one of the reasons Trump will probably win re-election in 2020.

This week from Indivisible

Your weekly Indivisible to-dos:

  1. Defend DACAmented youth. Media reports this weekend indicate that Trump is getting ready to eliminate the DACA program -- and yank the American Dream from 800,000 young immigrants who are living in the U.S. lawfully. Congress can prevent this. You can make them.  Ask your representative and two senators to co-sponsor S.1615 in the Senate and H.R. 3591 in the House to permanently protect these young Americans, and take their future out of Trump’s hands. Here’s an explainer to get you started.
  2. TODAY show up with DACAmented youth and allies. In cities and states across the country today, thousands of immigrant youth and allies, led by United We Dream, will take to the streets to demand the protection of DACA and the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) programs. Find an event near you, RSVP, or register your own.
  3. Respond to Hurricane Harvey. The communities affected by Hurricane Harvey need immediate disaster aid and we could see a package as early as Wednesday. Make sure your member of Congress (MoC) is working to provide it using our new explainer.
  4. Stop Trump’s tax scam. The next big legislative priority for Republicans is to give massive tax cuts to the wealthy and corporations at the expense of critical social programs and working families. It’s time to fight back against tax giveaways to the rich. Use our new comprehensive microsite--TrumpTaxScam.org-- that has everything you need to hold your MoCs accountable.
  5. Stop Trump from starting war with North Korea. Impulse-prone Trump is the last person we want playing a game of nuclear brinksmanship. Tell your MoC that you don’t want him starting a war with North Korea using our explainer and questions you can ask when you make your calls and district office visits this week.
  6. Stay vigilant on ACA. On Friday, we got news that the Senate Parliamentarian ruled Republicans only have until the end of the fiscal year, September 30, to use the Fiscal Year 2017 reconciliation bill to pass TrumpCare. There’s nothing to act on yet, but this could mean a renewed push to jam TrumpCare through the Senate while they still can. Keep your eye on this over the next couple of weeks.
  7. Tune in to Facebook Live to plan for this September in Congress. Join us tonight at 8:30 PM ET when we’ll be joined by tax experts from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) to talk about the upcoming tax fight.

Dear Indivisibles,

Consistent with his white supremacist agenda, news broke this weekend that Trump will likely announce the elimination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This program has provided relief from deportation to 800,000 young immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, who passed rigorous background checks, who paid a fee, and who met several other requirements. Trump has affirmed that he has no regard for the promise of safety made to immigrant youth by our government five years ago. But let’s be clear: it is on Speaker Ryan and Congress to pass a permanent legislative fix. Many Republicans, including Ryan, have voiced their support of DREAMers. Now it’s time to make sure their actions match their words. It’s not enough for your MoCs to disapprove of the decision. Words are empty if not followed up with immediate, decisive action.

Say it with us: We will not stand idly by while this White House tramples on the civil rights of members of our communities. There are two things you can do right now to support DACAmented young people:

First, tell your representative and senators to co-sponsor a legislative fix for DACA. Like so many other issues, Congress has the power to remedy this situation. Congress doesn’t have to—and should not—sit on the sidelines. Removing DACA protections from these hundreds of thousands of young people would turn their lives upside down, and harm the communities where they live, work and study. The only beneficiary would be the for-profit private immigrant detention complex and Trump’s runaway deportation machine, which would embark on a new taxpayer-funded mission to apprehend, process, detain and remove these young people. Congress can pass legislation protecting these immigrant youth. Ask your representative and two senators to co-sponsor S.1615 in the Senate and H.R. 3591 in the Houseto protect these young Americans and take their future out of Trump’s hands. Here’s an explainer to get you started.

Second, show up in your community TODAY for DACAmented youth. Today is the deadline that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and 9 other right-wing politicians have given Trump to end the DACA program. In cities and states across the country today, thousands of immigrant youth and allies, led by United We Dream, will take to the streets to demand the protection of DACA and the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) programs. DACA recipients, immigrants protected under TPS and our allies have a message to the Trump administration: We have won before, we will win again, and we are #HereToStay. Find an event near you or register your own.

Congress is back for a big September. Congress returns to Washington this week with a long to-do list and not much time to do it. Here are just a few agenda items Congress must attend to this month:

  • Pass a critically needed aid package for communities affected by Harvey
  • Raise the debt ceiling
  • Reauthorize the national flood insurance program
  • Reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program
  • Agree on a plan to fund the government by the end of the month.

For more, read our preview of what to expect in September.

Tune in to Facebook Live TONIGHT 9/5 at 8:30 PM ET/5:30 PM PT
Due to Labor Day, this week’s Facebook Live will be tonight, 9/5. We’ll be joined by tax experts from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) to talk about the upcoming tax fight and what’s on deck on Capitol Hill this September. Tune in at 8:30 PM ET/5:30 PM PT!

Help Wanted! Tad Devine/Scott Lang event recap. Health Care.

The Political Action huddle needs you!  

We are beginning to work on our August 30 event with Representative Bill Keating.  We need a few folks who are willing to help with planning and logistics.  The rewards are rich indeed and are sure to include the endless gratitude of Pattie and others, along with the great feeling that comes from doing good work!  Email us at strength@marchingforwardmass.com to volunteer.  
And thanks!

Devine/Lang Event Recap

Tad Devine and Scott Lang gave illuminating and inspiring presentations at our June 14 event.  Many thanks to both of them and to UMD professor Doug Roscoe for moderating the discussion.

Tad Devine gave us a fascinating overview of the Bernie Sanders' ad campaign, complete with video clips of ads from all phases of the campaign and an insider's perspective on what it takes to put together a successful media campaign. 

Scott Lang, a former lawyer for the Democratic National Committee and 3 term mayor of New Bedford gave us an in depth look at the inner workings of the Democratic Party, from the late 1960's to present. Key to his presentation was an explanation of party rules, and how they can affect debates, primaries and conventions, for better and for worse.  

Key takeaways from the evening:

2018. 2018. 2018.
Electing Democrats to the House and Senate in the 2018 mid-term elections is very important. It could be a watershed year for the Democratic party.   If Democrats do poorly, it could foreshadow a weak Democratic party for many years to come.  
On a local level, we can help to tip the balance towards Democratic candidates by:
- Working with the local and state Democratic Committees to re-energize local, grass roots political action within the Democratic Party organization.  
- Participating in the efforts of Swing Left, New Politics and other organizations that are already working to elect progressive candidates. Now is the time to find and cultivate new voices. 
- Encourage the national DNC to give state and local committees the tools they need to cultivate, educate and inspire Democratic and potentially Democratic voters. 

Health care update and weekly action from Indivisible

Let’s not waste any time: your work this week is what will win the TrumpCare fight. Senate Republicans are planning to vote on their still-secret bill in the next two weeks. We still don’t have text. Or a CBO score. And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is too busy twisting arms and cutting deals with your Senators to meet with patient groups like the March of Dimes and the American Heart Association. But none of that will matter in the end: if they get the votes, they’ll pass it in the dead of night, without any public input, and without knowing its full impact on your family. McConnell will schedule this bill for a vote as soon as he secures enough support. So If you wait until a vote is scheduled to act, you’ve waited too long.

Whether you have a Democratic or Republican Senator, it’s time to step up our constituent power game and win this thing.

  1. Use our new Stop TrumpCare June toolkit to plan your coordinated visits and sit-ins at your Senator’s office. 
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  2. Use our new state-by-state map of the impact of TrumpCare to inform your calls, letters to the editor, and conversations with your Senators on how this disastrous bill will impact you and your neighbors—and find the right staffers in their offices to direct your calls and emails (we’ve done the work for you).
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  3. Turn up the heat on your Senators daily using the right resources:
    1. For Democrats: Use our script to demand that they slow down Senate business by withholding consent on all regular Senate business, and prepare to filibuster by amendment until and unless there are public hearings on TrumpCare. After your visits and calls, use these great social media shareables from Indivisible Data to hold your Democrats accountable and demand they #WithholdConsent. 
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    2. For Republicans: After you’ve planned your visits (see #1), make sure they hear from you that oppose TrumpCare, on both substance and process. Use this script to call them and demand that they protect our care.
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    3. For constituents in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Maine, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia: Visit TrumpCareTen.org and use the daily call scripts and information to email Chiefs of Staff and Health Staff.
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Thanks to Indivisible for permission to reprint their content.