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MASSACHUSETTS

Incumbent Challengers Aug. 2020       Historic Election 2019       Champions of Transparency 2020

At Maria's List, we elevate progressive candidates, especially women and people of color, who promote equity, who close opportunity gaps in education and wealth creation, who promote accountability and a robust democracy.

 

MA Strategy & Endorsement Criteria

 

The sustainability of the public commons is about the art of political decision making. The spread of COVID-19 has made it clear the arc of decision making has broken down across our democracy and public institutions. Even prior to this public health and political crisis, Beacon Hill found itself in a progressive stalemate. Now, the conservative Democratic and Republican stronghold stubbornly persists stronger than ever, which is compounded by a widening, economic crisis and a larger the national electoral emergency.

 

Despite our collective progress in the last 3 decades, Republicans and conservative Democrats are the chief policy makers in both Beacon Hill and the Office of the Governor. They stand ready to consolidate their power in a more obscure legislative making process, where votes will likely not be public at all.

 

So, what can we do? Electorally, we know what to do. But we must resist the tendency to support incumbents in winnable districts for progressives challenging the status quo. This means investing in individuals and collective efforts that are willing to buck tradition by taking risks seen as unconventional. It also means increasing direct financial support for social justice infrastructure and supporting a new set of actors that can lead this next stage for progressives in Massachusetts. No matter the actor, most stand to lose too much to adequately engage in this fight. And the politics of process negotiations will not yield the needed concessions or policy transformation. Furthermore, electing an inclusive and progressive Democrat to the Governor’s office in 2022 is a north star that must guide us all. In Beacon Hill, however, it requires a strategy of permanent interests that agree to a package of rules changes for the House that brings together progressives, republicans, unenrolled and democratic voters, including donors on both sides of the aisle. Often the current rules of engagement marginalize both sides of the political spectrum, albeit not equally. We need committees to have real power so bills with overwhelming support make it to the floor for a public vote. We need to unlock the centralization of power by reestablishing term limits for the Office of the Speaker, term limits for all committee chairs, and other rules reform. There is more than one solution. That requires us to build a movement, so voters and legislators support a robust package of fixes that recalibrates the policy making process in Beacon Hill.

 

We must be bold, creative, and strategic in order to articulate this kind of change. To build a more sustainable coalition of voters, all of this must be tied to expanding the likely Democratic electorate in the 2020 and 2021 election cycles.

 

It will require deeper courage and innovation as the November 2020 election will likely be a remote GOTV and Election Day effort. Facing this reality now and incorporating it into Maria’s List research and endorsement process will strengthen our understanding of the political landscape. Historic turnout is likely to be depressed while declining voter enthusiasm should be of great concern to all Democrats and democracy donors.

 

Using Rivera Consulting’s deep democracy strategy and research, the goal of Maria’s List MA is to elect and protect movement leaders, candidates, and elected officials, particularly those in the Black, Latino/a, African, Asian, Asian Pacific, South East Asian, and LGBTQIA communities. This work is guided by the goal of recalibrating the Beacon Hill policy-making apparatus in this moment and for the future of the public commons. It does so by matching political giving to candidates and movement organizations with philanthropic giving to movement organizations within targeted Massachusetts legislative state house districts. It also focuses on issues of government transparency, election reform, and progressive revenue.


MASSACHUSETTS INCUMBENT CHALLENGERS
August 2020

Here are my recommendations for candidates and organizations I trust to fight for long overdue legislative equity. Please consider donating to their campaigns.

Damali Vidot - 2nd Suffolk

Erika Uyterhoeven - 27th Middlesex

12th Suffolk

Stephanie Everett - 12th Suffolk

Brandy Fluker Oakley - 12th Suffolk

 

Damali Vidot's photo

Damali Vidot
2nd Suffolk

 

Damali ran for office because of her lived experience as a kid growing up in Chelsea. From her perspective, even though community engagement and schools were better funded while she was growing up, she still “got lost in the sauce.” Now, with fewer youth programs and waning school funding, Damali centers her leadership around the needs and dreams of the city's youth.

 

Damali was first elected in 2015 and became Council President during her second term in 2018. In the most recent city wide election - Damali was the highest vote getter. In her second term, Damali became the first woman elected to be Chelsea City Council president and served in this role for two years before stepping down to focus on local climate change, community resiliency, and transit equity. In doing so, she has been able to leverage her City Council and activist role.

 

Damali Vidot is a mom, community advocate, she’s lived in Chelsea, Massachusetts since her family’s move from New York City when she was 7. As an Afro-Latina raised by a union father and a mother who was a survivor of domestic violence, growing up, Damali grew up centered on the values of family, community, and justice. Nonetheless, like too many of us, she acutely experienced systematic failures of a biased criminal justice system, police brutality, and homelessness.

 

Damali shows up when times are hardest. She believes Charlestown and Chelsea deserve a representative that has been at the forefront of change that uplifts and centers the needs of the most vulnerable people in our community, and that she is uniquely qualified to take on this challenge.

 

Key Policies Priorities

Deep Democracy Race Analysis

 

This district is viewed as a reliable seat for those who traditionally hold power in Boston - the previous incumbent left the seat to work in Marty Walsh’s administration. However, both Charlestown and Chelsea have seen a rapid increase in gentrification and income inequality in the last decade. Even as a COVID19 epicenter, Chelsea remains an afterthought for its current representation. Damali is running a robust yet socially distant insurgent campaign. Given her deep community work in Chelsea, both as an advocate and City Councilor, Damali is well known and respected by a core constituency of this district. Chelsea was also a major battle ground during Ayanna Pressley’s 2018 Congressional campaign. While now Congresswoman Pressley narrowly lost Chelsea, overall turnout did increase.

 

This district is in dire need of bold new leadership, and previous elections have primed the district to consider ousting an incumbent. Given Damali’s profile, how much money she has raised, and how active her grassroots campaign has become, there is a real possibility she could win. Her campaign team is led and composed of key field staff from Ayanna Pressley’s 2018 victory and is supported by key activists in Chelsea and Charlestown.

Candidates

Erika Uyterhoeven's photo

Erika Uyterhoeven
27th Middlesex

 

Erika Uyterhoeven grew up in Wayland and is a first generation Japanese American. She was raised by a single mother, who worked as a flight attendant. After college, Uyterhoeven was an antitrust economist and strategy consultant. In these roles, she analyzed the economic damage companies cause when they break the rules of the market, which deeply influenced her to become a democratic socialist. Through her experience in the private sector, Erika has detailed knowledge of how corporations undermine e workers rights and profit from our government.

 

In 2016, she served on the National Field Team for the Bernie Sanders campaign. Erika was one of the first hires in Massachusetts, and was in charge of organizing volunteers from across New England for the New Hampshire primary. After Senator Sanders won the primary, Erika was promoted to National Out of State Organizing Director. The Sanders campaign was a seminal experience for Erika, because she learned how disconnected “grasstops” can be from movement organizing. In 2018, Erika also worked on Nika Elugardo’s successful campaign to unseat the House Ways and Means Chair Representative Jeffrey Sanchez. From that campaign, Erika learned to create messaging on progressive issues that resonates with all voters.

 

Erika co-founded Act on Mass, a nonprofit dedicated to activating grassroots organizers and voters to hold the Massachusetts State House accountable on progressive issues. In the fall of 2019, Erika mobilized more than 1,000 Act on Mass members to successfully block a $37 million corporate tax break from being slipped into the budget.

 

Erika is running to be a progressive champion on Beacon Hill, and an unapologetic advocate for the next generation of Left.

 

Key Policy Priorities

 

Deep Democracy Race Analysis

 

With Denise Provost stepping down, the 27th Middlesex is an open seat and Erika’s opponent is a Democrat named Catia Sharp. Catia is a Harvard Kennedy School graduate who worked in Deval Patrick’s administration, and appears to be a traditional Massachusetts Democrat. Erika has raised her opponent by $10,000, and is running an aggressive (yet socially distant) grassroots campaign. Erika’s campaign has worked to innovate around how they engage voters; they host bi-weekly live streams where she provides updates on Beacon Hill COVID19 legislation, and where she interviews Somerville elected officials and activists on pressing issues such as income inequity and mass incarceration. Erika’s campaign is also hosting a number of virtual house party style events to help expand their volunteer base. Because of Erika’s background as a community organizer with Act on Mass, and her volunteer strategist work with now State Representative Nika Elugardo, she has some access to a prepared and experienced progressive volunteer base.

 

This district is perfect for a Democratic Socialist like Erika. Somerville is becoming increasingly progressive, as young people and other non-traditional voters continue to show up to vote In 2017, Somerville saw its highest voter turnout in a municipal election in the city's history, with 31.67% of registered voters casting ballots, up from 14% in 2015. It was a contentious election year, with several Ward Aldermen being challenged by Our Revolution Somerville candidates. That cycle is colloquially described as the “OR takeover.” In 2018, Ayanna Pressley won all of Somerville except one precinct, and won overwhelmingly in parts of Somerville that had younger and middle age voters between 18 to 49 and more people of color. A very important fact to note is that Erika’s district makes up the majority of the districts won by Congresswoman Pressley in 2018.

Candidates

12th Suffolk

 

12th Suffolk is one of the most racially and socioeconomically diverse districts in the Commonwealth. It is made up of 15 precincts in Boston (Mattapan and Dorchester) and two precincts in Milton. In 2018, 12th Suffolk Ayanna Pressley expanded by 17.2 percent from 2016 and 6.7% from 2014. Mattapan was one of the critical communities of color who turned out en masse to elect now Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley. She won every precinct in the 12th Suffolk. Dan Cullinane was first elected to represent the 12th Suffolk in a 2013 special election to replace Linda Dorcena Forrey when she was elected to the Senate. With the current incumbent retiring, 12th Suffolk has an opportunity to elect a progressive woman of color again who would do right by them in the legislature. However, voters have a tough choice on Election Day. Stephanie Everett and Brandy Fluker Oakley are both progressive women of color running impressive campaigns. We’re recommending folks contribute to both candidates as an investment in the pipeline of candidates of color in Boston.

website: Stephanie Everett

Stephanie Everett's photo

Stephanie Everett
12th Suffolk

 

Stephanie Everett was born and raised in Mattapan, where she currently lives with her husband and children. Being raised by a single mother with a mental health condition and her father in jail, presented a unique set of challenges growing up, and at a young age Stephanie became responsible for caring for and protecting her younger siblings. At the age of 19, Stephanie became a teen mom and a year later found herself homeless, living in a shelter with her daughter. Despite these challenges, Stephanie refused to let society determine her fate. She enrolled back in college, graduating from Northeastern University in 2002 and earned her Juris Doctorate from Suffolk University Law School in 2008

 

Stephanie has devoted much of her professional career to public service. She served as State Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz’s first Deputy Chief of Staff, where she successfully advocated for foreclosure prevention legislation, and then as the Chief of Staff to the Department of Transitional Assistance under Governor Deval Patrick, an agency she once relied on. For the last six years, Stephanie has been in private practice, with an emphasis on criminal law, business contracts, and real estate matters.

 

Personal and professional experiences have provided Stephanie with the tools to tackle the major concerns of the community: housing, education, and employment. Stephanie’s time at the state house has granted her with experience-driven knowledge, preparing her to get work on day one on policies that best support the residents of the 12th Suffolk District.

 

Key Policy Issues

Brandy Fluker Oakley's photo

Brandy Fluker Oakley
12th Suffolk

 

Brandy Fluker Oakley grew up in both Dorchester and Mattapan. She is a proud graduate of Boston Public Schools. Raised by a single mother from the segregated south, Brandy has a long-standing passion for social justice and organized her first protest in the third grade. Never one to accept the status quo, Brandy has dedicated her career to advocacy, education equity, and progressive causes.

 

Upon graduating from Boston Latin School, she attended Syracuse University. After graduation, Brandy taught third-grade in Baltimore. Brandy is passionate about education, however during her time as a teacher, she learned of the systemic barriers faced by her students and their family. As such, she chose to go to law school to learn more about a system she wanted to undue.

 

After law school, Brandy became a public defender with the Committee for Public Counsel Services in the Boston Municipal and Chelsea District Courts. While zealously representing clients, Brandy witnessed firsthand systemic inequities and how those who are not served well by our public school system, are served very well by our criminal justice system. This observation launched her career into policy and political advocacy.

 

Brandy believes in the power of democracy and that communities are more than capable of identifying solutions to address their most pressing needs and challenges. Brandy formerly served as a member of the Mattahunt Community Advisory Board and was active in Mattapan United. She is the founder and president of Delighting in God Ministries (D.I.G.), a faithful member of her church, member of the Dorchester YMCA, and a practicing attorney.

 

Key Policy Issues

 

Deep Democracy Race Analysis

 

The 12th Suffolk is a competitive three way race with no clear frontrunner. The third candidate in the race Haitian American Jovan Lacet, who ran against Representative Cullinane in 2016 and 2018 - and in the previous primary only lost by 420 votes. His high name recognition, and his strong standing in the Haitian community - a strong voting block in this district - make him a formidable opponent.

 

Stephanie and Brandy are both running strong campaigns. Stephanie has raised $50,000 and has gained endorsements from IBEW 103, State Representative Russel Holmes,Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz, and the Ward 12 Committee. Brandy has raised $44,000 and has been endorsed by the Sunrise Movement, Representative Chynah Tyler, Massachusetts Teachers Association, SEIU 509, and SEIU 1199. Both Stephanie and Brandy are running competitive campaigns - it will come down to who can mobilize the most voters to participate in Vote By Mail, and vote in person on election day.

Candidates

 

Historic Election of the First Afro-Latina to the Boston City Council

In an historic and closely contested election, Julia Mejia became the first Afro-Latina City Councilor in Boston’s 200-year history. Mejia and her team ran an aggressive grassroots campaign that relied heavily on volunteers and grassroots donors. A Dorchester native, Mejia’s victory was a result of high turnout in communities of color, as well as first-time voters of color. The communities of Hyde Park and Roxbury saw a 1000 vote increase from the previous non-mayoral election cycle of 2015. Mission Hill, Jamaica Plain, East Boston and Dorchester each saw over 900 new voters in each Ward.

 

The 2019 Boston City Council election had a historic number of women and people of color vying for a seat on the Council. Neighborhoods such as Mattapan, Roxbury, Mission Hill, and Dorchester saw both competitive District and At-Large races, with candidates of color running relational movement-building campaigns. This electorate was equally engaged in the 2018 primary season that saw the movement campaigns of now District Attorney Rachael Rollins and Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley driven by the priorities and actions of communities of color.

 

 

Both Mejia and St. Guillen ran strong campaigns to fill the At-Large seat and become the first Latina elected to the City Council. The November general election vote total was so close that it required an unprecedented recount. Both candidates and their teams were charged with collecting 50 signatures from each ward to trigger a recount process. The recount itself was a three day process in which hundreds of pre-trained volunteers supervised the ballot counting. In the end, Councilor Mejia was victorious, with a final vote tally of 22,492 for Mejia and 22,491 for St. Guillen.

 

This 2019 election cycle represented a local deep democracy win for Mejia and other women of color. Boston City Councilors Michelle Wu and Kim Janey, combined with challengers Alejandra St. Guillen and Mejia, raised over $835,000 in total to fuel their movement building campaigns. These candidates successfully challenged the traditional narrative that women of color lack electoral viability due to electoral fundraising. Additionally, each of their campaigns were run by women of color. Councilor Wu, Councilor Mejia, and St. Guillen all employed Latinas to manage their respective races. Councilor Janey’s re-election campaign was led by the only black woman campaign manager in Boston during the 2019 cycle.

 

Critically, deep democracy is about centering communities of color, and folks who have been purposefully excluded from traditional politics. For these women of color campaigns to be led themselves by women of color only deepens the city’s collective bench moving forward.

 

Now in 2020, Councillor Mejia has become a leading advocate for Black, Latino, and Asian American communities. She used her maiden speech to advocate for sanctuary spaces in the city of Boston, and since the beginning of the pandemic has been a bold voice for investing in businesses in communities of color. Outside of the chamber, Councilor Mejia continues to be an activist leader who utilizes her online platform to convene young people and communities of color, as well as give a human face to the work of government.

 

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CHAMPIONS OF TRANSPARENCY ON BEACON HILL
May 2020

Maria Robinson, State Rep. - 6th Middlesex

Nika Elugardo, State Rep. - 15th Suffolk

Becca Rausch, State Senate - Norfolk, Bristol, Middlesex

 

website: Maria Robinson

Maria Robinson's photo

Maria Robinson
6th Middlesex

 

State Representative Maria Robinson (D-Framingham) represents the Sixth Middlesex District, which covers 11 of Framingham’s 18 precincts. She was first elected in 2018, after former Representative Chris Walsh passed away from cancer in the early Spring of that same year. Due to the late nature of Representative Walsh’s passing, all of the candidates in the Democratic Primary were forced to wage write-in campaigns. Maria received 55.7% of the votes with just 3,439 total ballots cast, and went on to run unopposed in the general election.

 

Representative Robinson is the first person of color to hold the Sixth Middlesex seat. She is also the first Korean-American to be elected to the Massachusetts State House. Notably in 2018, she led a cohort of women candidates that campaigned specifically on the Transparency Pledge. In her first term, she has been a leading voice in the fight for government transparency on Beacon Hill.

 

website: Nika Elugardo

Nika Elugardo's photo

Nika Elugardo
15th Suffolk

 

State Representative Nika Elugardo represents the 15 Suffolk District, which covers the Boston neighborhoods of Jamaica Plain, Roslindale, and Mission hill, as well as Brookline, making it one of the most progressive districts in the Commonwealth. Representative Elugardo was elected in 2018 after ousting a fifteen year incumbent, Ways and Means Chair Jeffrey Sanchez. Representative Elugardo ran a people-powered campaign centered on progressive issues such as affordable housing, the rights of undocumented people, and government transparency. She was vocal about the failures of Beacon Hill leadership, and the role long-time incumbency plays in those failures.

 

Representative Elugardo ousted Sanchez with 52% of the vote. Her campaign drove and benefitted from the increased turnout of communities of color also seen in the elections of now District Attorney Rachael Rollins and Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley. In her first term, Representative Elugardo has continued to be a tireless advocate for affordable housing and government transparency. She is just one of six women of color legislators on Beacon Hill.

 

website: Becca Rausch

Becca Rausch's photo

Becca Rausch
Norfolk, Bristol, Middlesex

 

State Senator Becca Rausch (D-Needham), represents Norfolk, Bristol and Middlesex, which includes Natick, Needham, Franklin, Plainville, Wrentham, Wellesley, and Wayland. She was elected to the legislature in an historic 2018 general election upset. She challenged Republican Senator Richard Ross, who had held the office since 2010. Senator Rausch ran a campaign focused on government transparency, and access to reproductive health care. She won the 2018 election with 52.8% of the vote. She is the second Democrat and third woman ever to hold this seat, while also being the first person of Jewish descent to represent the district.

 

Senator Rausch crafted legislation in her first term centered on public health and voter enfranchisement. She filed the Community Immunity Act, which would have required statewide standards on immunization. In light of COVID19, Senator Rausch filed the 2020 Vote By Mail Act which, if passed, would mail ballots to all registered voters in Massachusetts for the Primary and General elections. She continues to be a vocal supporter of the Transparency Pledge. In practicing what she preaches, Senator Rausch posts all of her committee votes online, and stands for every roll call vote on the House floor.

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