Valley activists plan summit to ‘take back the house’ in 2018 elections

Published: 4/1/2018 8:39:08 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Midterm elections may be eight months away, but some Democratic Party organizers in the Pioneer Valley are ready to get to work in an effort to wrest control of the U.S. House of Representatives from the Republican Party, according to event organizers.

A coalition of six city and town Democratic Committees, as well as groups like Badass Activists in the Pioneer Valley, Indivisible Northampton, Pioneer Valley Resist Coalition, Pioneer Valley Women’s March and Western Massachusetts Young Democrats, have organized the “Take Back The House 2018 Summit.” The event will be held Saturday from 1-4 p.m. at Northampton’s Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School.

“We have a number of months between now and then where we can be helping the states around us, and indeed across the county, in some cases where they have House seats that are flippable from red to blue or House seats that are blue and may need help being preserved,” said Elizabeth Silver, chair of the Northampton Democratic City Committee and a member of the summit’s organizing coalition. “We don’t want to squander the extra time we have from now until the beginning of when campaigns heat up.”

U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Worcester, will speak at the beginning of the session on what is at stake in the November elections and why the House race matters. Two other people will speak about how those in Massachusetts can help out in neighboring New York and New Hampshire. Dustin Reidy, of NY-19 Votes. New York’s 19th Congressional District covers the entire New York/Massachusetts border. The seat is held by Republican John Faso. Tova Yampolsky, campaign director for U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster in New Hampshire’s 2nd Congressional District, will also speak. Kuster, a Democrat, has held the seat since 2013.

The two states have several tight House races brewing in districts within driving distance of Western Massachusetts, according to Elaine Fronhofer, a member of Valley Action and of the summit’s organizing committee.

In addition to speakers, summit attendees will have the chance to participate in a series of interactive workshops to prepare them for further campaign activities.

“We have people in our region plotting day trips to Poughkeepsie, Manchester and Reading, Pennsylvania, as well as folks making plans to fly out to Ohio and Colorado,” Dyan Wiley said in a statement. Wiley is the lead organizer for Swing Left Pioneer Valley. The group is another summit coalition member. “We may not have swing districts in western Mass., but we have a deep bench of committed progressives ready to help out from coast to coast.”

Organizers are encouraging those who plan to attend the event to pre-register online at On-site registration will be available the day of the event.

Emily Cutts can be reached at


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