BDTC Executive Meeting Notes (10/21/2021)

Attendance: Linda L. (Chair), Jeff L., Michael (Secretary), Richard Waring, Debbie Deutsch, Stephen Shestakofsky, Dylan Griffith, Fred Bouchard, Richard Madden, Ted Dukkas, Anne Paulsen, Liz Goss, Joel Samuels, Jeanne Mooney, Jenny Altshuler, Helen Bakeman, Carolyn Shwartz, Kathy Quirk, Ellie Lesser, Dave Rogers (State Rep), Will Brownsberger (State Senate), Russ Leino, Sue Post, Teresa, Lois Pines, Dan Barry, Cambell Ames, Vera Isk (Treasure), Nan Donald, MLJ, Kai, Jean Dickinson, Dale Smith (Force Multiplier), Katherine Clark (U.S. Congresswomen D-MA).

  • Russ Leino: Community path.
    1. Chair of the community path committee
    2. We (the CP Committee) are submitting to the state a 25% design/plan for the path. Primary design of the path. The state will appropriate funding once we get approval for the 25% plan. Our design consultant will present to the state board.
    3. He will also present to the town in an open forum from the Belmont community about the path (25% plan). (Thur Nov 4th 7pm, on zoom).
    4. Paul Roberts: So, is there a possibility for a federal assistance, or an earmark?
    5. Russ: Federal funding might be part of the plan, it is connected to the infrastructure bill
    6. Will Brownsberger: Well, we are hearing it may just be a pot of money and not a specific earmark for the community path in Belmont.
    7. Anne Paulsen: Would like Russ to stay around and find out more about the Community path and also see if Kathern Clark (who is a part of the House leadership team in Washington) could answer any question about the path funding.
  • Linda (Chair): Elizabeth Warren had a video to play for us to talk about the fights in Washington, racial justice, economic justice, child care, and civil rights. Talks about what she sees for the path forward. She says that the Democrats have all three branches and we are going to take action. The door is open just a crack, but we intend to do everything we can to help folks. We are going to work to make things fairer for all Americans.  Expand Medicare for Dental, vision and hearing, Universal Pre-K, Paid family leave, fight for infrastructure bill, and thanks all of us democrats for keeping up the fight.
  • Jean Mooney: Notes she went to the Town Clerk (Ellen Cushman) meeting on Redistricting. Precinct 6 has lost population. So the lines are changing and people in 6, 8 and several other precincts will have to run again (using the new lines). That might make for some oddness where incumbents in 8 may be running in 6, but they are not an incumbent in 6…
    1. 10% gain in precinct 8
    2. Jeanne has said that in precinct 6, a fair amount of empty nesters have left, one of the reasons.
    3. Debbie Notes that the Precinct data was sent to Town Meeting Members in an email for redistricting by Ellen Cushman (Town Clerk).
    4. Russ Notes that there are Mass DOT meeting which talks about the community path and the money provided to get it done.
  • Katherine Clark: (Speaking about various issue and the BBB bill).
    1. Katherine Clark talks about how much the BBB bill and its polling has persuaded some D reps on the fence to back it (who might not have been willing to back it before). Also redistricting has made some reps more open to passing the BBB bill. She notes how grateful she is for our support, and appreciate how involved, and active and vocal we are. She knows we need to get the climate, healthcare, Univeral Pre-K done. It may not be easy, and we may have some disagreements on some things, but she strongly appreciates all our efforts.
    2. Speaks about Holding Steve Bannon (Trump’s Key political advisor and strategist) in Contempt of Congress (said 8 Republicans voted for it, but the last time for contempt… it was unanimous). Notes that Congressional oversight is key!
    3. Richard Madden: Q: Wondering about how the President (Biden) can use leverage (or what leverage he might have?) to push Kristen Sinema (D-AZ) (connected to taxes on the wealthy).
    4. Katherine Clark notes that She notes Kristen Sinema is a bit of an enigma… Manchin she understands; he is a populist on some tax increases on the very wealthy and is open to doing that, but also has an orthodox view on certain social programs.
    5. Cambel: Notes and thanks Katherine Clark about meeting the Green new deal coalition, and the Sunrise movement. She is talking about the 1.7T verse 3.5T # and worries about what gets cut to convince Joe Manchin to support it. She notes that there are Sunrise movement young folks are on hunger strike. Speaks of real anger at Sen. Manchin and his blocking of critical Environmental legislation.
    6. Katherine Clark: Notes that it’s an all or nothing game, there will be cuts to environmental parts of the bill, but the bill still has billions for the environment. Also notes that Manchin has limits he is willing to consider when it comes to reducing emissions. Notes other parts of the bill would really help greenify our energy systems, and that without Manchin, nothing will get done.
    7. Stephen S. Wanted to talk about Medicare expansion and wanted to see if we could expand it so that even in states with Republican governor who don’t want to help their residents, we could improve their lives and outcomes by expanding Obamacare and increase subsides in these red states. Also about expanding Dental, vision, and hearing
    8. Katherine Clark: Notes Medicaid Expansion is 100% supported by the Democratic caucus, including Sen. Manchin, and Sen Sinema. She feels strongly that all democrats are working to increase subsides to help with affordability, and working to make sure Medicare will be available in all states, regardless of republican obstruction. We are Also fighting for vision, hearing, and dental.
    9. Jeff Levin Scherz: He notes that Biden has gotten a lot done and has really improved things on a lot of key economic, pandemic, and social measure, (plus stopped the craziness of Trump) but many activists are pretty upset that a lot of key liberal policies (like on voting rights, climate change, college debt et al) are getting cut, or are stuck in the senate when Democrats promised big change.
    10. Katherine Clark: Does not really have a rosy way to put this, but people are really glad Donald Trump is no longer in office. But the danger of Trump and the creeping anti-democratic (small d) forces in the GOP are not going away. It may be worrying or enraging. Also, that you could not get 10 republicans to support voting, it is tragic and terrible. How did Mitt Romney, who has stood up to Trump, voted against voting rights. She notes Democrats have a narrow majority. He (Pres. Biden) can get a lot done for the Americans, and will can pass significant legislation. Even during time where we are frustrated with passing legislation and getting things done, we have to understand that republicans are going to work against us and we need to stand strong, and vigilant to hold and keep our majorities to protect our democracy and help working class Americans.
    11. Russ Notes Katerinne Clark worked really hard to help support the Community path, and he wanted to say thank you. He also wanted to see if they would be able to get an earmark to help support the CP. He notes it may not be possible…
    12. Katherine Clark was grateful for the shout out, she notes that it might not be possible to get an earmark, but a lot of that is still up in the air. She will see what happens and will push for it.
    13. Liz Goss: Notes she is an immigration lawyer; she deals with immigration in business. She notes that Ted Kennedy, who passed away, pushed for one of the last real efforts to pass immigration reform. She notes that we have focused on dreamers and also about essential workers, but there is a bill (in the house) that would increase working immigration and would weaken the illegal immigration argument, as these would be working visa for immigrants who are working to help get America back on her feet. She also notes that there are republican hold overs who want to not roll over (I.e. Zero out) the cap for immigration work visa (in the DHS budget).
    14. Katherine Clark: She appreciated the note and will look at ways to change that, and she notes Miller (Trump far right immigration advisor) has people who have buried themselves in different agencies and caused havoc. She notes that democrats are working to improve the immigration system, and she ask for the name of group Liz Goss has to reach out to them and her.
    15. Michael M. Notes that many disabled Americans (including those with Autism and Asperger’s syndrome) and other disabled folks face a chasm between high school where they get services and help, and then when they try to go to college or their first jobs opportunities, where they don’t have help or services that allow, they to be a full part of the larger society and work force. He also notes that voting ID’s and just limits on accessing the voting booth are a real issue for the disabled community (physically and mentally). Are there any aid for disabled Americans in the BBB bill or infrastructure or voting rights bill
    16. Katherine Clark notes that there are programs D’s are backing to work to increase access and employment for disabled Americans. Also there is a bucket of funds 75M and some of that will help disabled Americans and help fill the gap (or chasm) between the services people with disabled get in High school and the drop off between college and or their first jobs/ employment. She also notes that she will consider Michael M. comments when it comes to voting right and what can be done to help.
  • Dale Smith (Force Multiplier) private group who do research for Democratic candidates.
    1. Working with Maggie Hassen (D-NH) who is one of our most vulnerable incumbents. Highly rated to help Ds win key seats.
    2. Helen notes that after 2016, a group of people horrified after Pres. Trump’s Election, they worked to do fundraising and picking several D candidates. They have done virtual meetings and have seen explosive growth.
    3. Linda Notes they have weekly phone banks for VA Gov Race (Terry McAulifee) and also state races. She notes Michael M., Linda, and others also did phone banking last Thursday and hope to see other people attend too!
    4. Michael M. Notes that VA Gov race is very very close. 2.2 points on average at 538, however, polls show that if more voters show up (so not just likely voters, but more of the registered voter’s population) Dem VA Gov will win by quite a bit. We could shock the pundits, and give Biden a real boost.
    5. Jenny Altsuler: Notes they write post cards for candidates in VA. And they are active
    6. Dale Smith: She helped found a group of folks who wanted to do something after Trump’s Election. Like sister district and swing left and other, they worked to respond and empower democrats. They focused on the U.S. House as they felt taking that back would do the most good. They started by to piggyback off other events, fundraised a lot of money (they were based in Cambridge, Newton, and Brookline), meet with candidates and helped do research to fundraise from new donors who have not been targeted before with fundraising pitches. Middle class to upper middle-class donors who were activated by Trump’s election and actions. They accept anyone who wants to be a part or donated, but they are mainly fundraising from the people being actived from Trump’s election. They have a list of Democrats who are in really tough races. Sen Masto (D-NV), Sen. Hassen (D-NH), Raphel Warnock (D-GA), Kelly (D-AZ). In the U.S. House Tom Mal (NJ House) Aligal Spandberger (House VA). Jaren Golden (House ME) <He is in a really really tough race>. Also key pick up could be from PA Senate races (they don’t pick sides in the primary, but they can fundraise in a nominee fund which can go to the winner of the primary). Also the NC-Senate, and WI-Sen race (Ron Johson in the R). Val Demmings in FL (FL is a harder race). They also raise lots of funds for Eric Holders and Mark Ellis groups that are fighting against voting suppression and redistricting shenanigans.
    7. Stephen K. Notes that this is more of a national races, House and Senate races. While Sister district is more for local and state elections/races.
    8. Dale Smith: Yes, we can’t do everything, so we focus on national races, while sister district who are really good, and focus on local/state races.
    9. Michael M. Could you say the key Democratic incumbents we are trying to protect in this next midterm election again (Taking notes and hoped to hear that again).
    10. Dale Smith: Sen Masto (D-NV), Sen. Hassen (D-NH), Raphel Warnock (D-GA), Kelly (D-AZ). In the U.S. House Tom Mal (NJ House) Aligal Spandberger (House VA). Jaren Golden (House ME) <He is in a really, really tough race>. She notes he is a very moderate rep but he is in a extremely pro-Trump area, so he is the D’s main hope to hold on to that seat.
    11. Stephen K. Asks what about if that candidate is leading or losing?
    12. Dale Smith notes that if a candidate they support is really behind or really ahead they stop fundraising for them as they are trying to make the most impact in races that could go either way.