Democratic activists to hold virtual summit on Saturday 

  • U.S. Rep. James McGovern, D-Worcester GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 5/27/2020 11:26:15 AM

NORTHAMPTON – Activists looking to elect Democrats in the 2020 election are preparing to gather virtually on Saturday for a summit that will include U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Worcester.

“Given the state of this country and the intolerable track that we’re on we need to do something to change it,” said Elizabeth Silver, chairwoman of the Northampton Democratic City Committee, one of the organizations putting on the summit.

The “Take Back Our Democracy Summit,” is open to all, but those who wish to participate must pre-register at tinyurl.com/takebackourdemocracy. It runs from 4 to 5 p.m.

In addition to McGovern, the summit will feature Democratic Party leaders from Maine, Pennsylvania and North Carolina, political analyst Bill Scher and Susan Labandibar, the New England regional coordinator for Swing Left.

“I believe that this is the most important election of my lifetime,” McGovern said. “Failure is not an option.”

The summit is largely the same as the one that was planned in-person for March 21 but was canceled because of the pandemic. However, the tightening U.S. Senate race in North Carolina has put the Tar Heel State onto Saturday’s agenda.

“It’s been rated a tossup by the Cook (Political) Report,” Silver said.

Some of the organizing entities for the summit include the Democratic committees of Amherst, Easthampton, Northampton, Holyoke, Southampton, South Hadley, Belchertown, Williamsburg, and Northampton High School; 413 Staying Connected; Swing Left Pioneer Valley; Indivisible Northampton; Left Field; Pioneer Valley Resist Coalition; Progressive Democrats of America, Massachusetts; the Sojourner Truth School for Social Change Leadership; Valley Action, and Western Massachusetts Young Democrats.

Silver said that these groups are part of the Western Mass Take Back Our Democracy Coalition, and the coalition has already been lending its strength to races in the 2020 election.

“We’ve been phone banking into Maine to defeat Susan Collins since October,” said Silver, referring to the incumbent Republican U.S. Senator who is up for re-election this year.

The coalition has been running phone banks to registered Democrats in Pennsylvania to make voters aware of the new vote by mail law there and encourage voters to take advantage of it. Silver said that this is because many physical polling places may close in the state and because the coalition believes the law will drive up voter turnout.

There are also plans to begin phone banking in the North Carolina U.S. Senate race soon.

McGovern said that a lot of people organizing the summit did work in the 2018 midterm elections.

“I think they helped turn around the majority in the House of Representatives,” the congressman said.

At the end of the summit, attendees will have the opportunity to sign up for such activities as phone banking, texting and sending postcards. Silver said that having to work remotely because of the pandemic may have driven up participation in the coalition’s work, and she expects participation to continue to increase as the year goes on.

“This is the election of our history,” she said.

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.


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