Teachers Associations Endorse Neal For Congress
"I am honored to once again receive the endorsement from the American Federation of Teachers Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Teachers Association," said Neal, who is running in the newly redrawn 1st Mass District. "As a longtime teacher and member of the MTA, I know firsthand the joys and challenges that come with the classroom. We all know children are our future and we can thank teachers for instilling academics and life lessons in our next generation of leaders."
"We are recommending Congressman Neal because of his deep and lasting commitment to students and public education," said Paul Toner, president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association. "Because of his background as a teacher, he understands the issues that educators face each day. Congressman Neal can be counted on to do what is best for our students and for our public schools, colleges and universities."
"Congressman Neal is a strong supporter of quality education for all public school students," said Tom Gosnold, president of AFT Massachusetts.
The Massachusetts Teachers Association has 107,000 members statewide, coming from more than 400 local affiliates.
American Federation of Teachers Massachusetts, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO, represents 1.5 million members nationwide, including 25,000 in Massachusetts. In addition to teachers, members include support personnel, bus drivers, custodians, and secretaries.
Warren Rallies Supporters at Pittsfield Headquarters
Warren greeted, took photos and signed autographs for everyone in attendance.
Warren is at odds with incumbent Sen. Scott Brown, R-Wrentham, in regards to the economy. While he is emphasizing the private sector, Warren is emphasizing public infrastructure.
"The Republicans say that the way to build a future is to cut taxes for those who have the most, to reduce regulations for the Wall Street companies that broke the economy," Warren said after addressing nearly 100 supporters in her Wahconah Street headquarters. "I'm out here arguing that the way to build a future is that we make the investment in education, in basic infrastructure, in research, in the things that help create a future for ourselves and for our children. This is really about priorities."
Warren said the investment in education, infrastructure and science is affordable but that it requires removing tax breaks from companies that ship jobs or hide their money overseas or oil companies.
"Washington is working for those who can hire an army of lobbyist. It's not right," Warren said.
In a 15-minute address to her supporters, she recalled her family history of going from "the daughter of a maintenance man to a professor at Harvard law school." And that history in public education and child care to eventually getting a "good job offer," is what she fears fewer and fewer people can achieve.
"I grew up in an America that invested in kids. I grew up in an America that expanded opportunity and I fear that America has turned away from that and if we turn away from that, we become fundamentally different people," Warren said.
|Counterclockwise from top: Warren addresses supporters; a motorcyclists asks for a bumper sticker from campaign volunteers; local politicians stand behind Warren for an interview with TV news.|
Warren characterized the goal as a matter of "priorities" by placing the money the country has in three boxes. One box is investing public dollars in private business and "lobbyists," another for the national debt and the third for infrastructure, science and education. She said she'll shift the spending from the "lobbyist" box and place it in the others.
Her campaign has been based on "working families" and investment since last April when she announced her candidacy. One of her last stops before officially announcing was at the law office of Sherwood Guernsey, where local democratic leaders told her they'd support her.
On Sunday, she recalled that visit during a question-and-answer session and thanked her supports for living up to their word.
"We started this campaign in Pittsfield. Now we have an office, we've got volunteers all over the county. They're knocking on doors, they're making phone calls, talking to people in grocery stores and sandwich shops. Ultimately that's what this campaign is about. It's person to person," Warren said after the event.
At that kick off meeting she acknowledged that campaigning would be taxing. More than a year in, she said "I'm holding up great."
The "optimism" and support she said she's received across the state has kept her going and she vowed that she will continue fighting for her supporters even after the election.
"It's the fundamental optimism that drives you every single day. I am out there because I truly believe that there are enough of us here and if we push hard enough, we can make this the country we believe in," Warren said. "I will be out there every single day. I will be out there fighting every step of the way. But don't kid yourself, big money is not going to back down easy."
Also in attendance were U.S. Rep. John W. Olver, D-Amherst, Sheriff Thomas Bowler, North Adams Mayor Richard Alcombright and state Reps. Tricia Farley-Bouvier, D-Pittsfield, and Paul Mark, D-Peru.
Shein Plans $2 Potluck Fundraiser
On Friday, first lady Michelle Obama will visit Western Massachusetts to attend a series of fundraisers for the president's re-election campaign. First is a $2,500-per-person event in Springfield. Then a James Taylor concert in Pittsfield, where the least expensive ticket goes for $125 (the most expensive is $10,000).
Finally, on Friday evening, Gov. Deval Patrick will host Mrs. Obama at a $20,000-per-person fundraiser at his Richmond estate. Twenty people will attend, and the event will raise $400,000. That's right: $400,000 from just 20 people.
That our Democratic Party and its candidates have come to rely so heavily on money from those who can afford such amounts, as well as large checks from the corporate PACs and lobbyists who represent interests we should be fighting against, is simply unacceptable. For too long, that money has narrowed the agenda in Washington, shifted policymaking to the right, and left us with a democracy, economy, and environment in crisis.
Over the last quarter-century, rank-and-file Democrats have been told by party leaders and longtime Democratic incumbents that our party needs to raise corporate money, and accept large checks from lobbyists and wealthy individuals, if we're to win elections.
But don't worry, we've been told, because all that money won't impact the Democratic Party's ability to stand up for working people, create a fair economy, do what's necessary on the environment, or advance the political reform that will make our democracy work for everyone.
Well, it hasn't turned out that way.
American democracy is rotting from the inside, drowning in corporate money, lobbyist money, and large checks from a tiny fraction of our society. Compared to other major democracies, voter participation here is shockingly low. Our economy is unfair, unjust, unworkable, and unsustainable. And on the environment, catastrophic climate change becomes more likely with each passing day, yet the massive action required to address it is not being discussed in this election year.
This way of doing things simply can't continue.
I'm running for Congress because we need Democrats who will speak out against this unacceptable status quo, and not offer the shrugs, excuses, and rationalizations so common among those incumbent Democrats who refuse to do anything to change it.
That's why on Friday evening I will host a few friends and supporters at my house for a "$2 Per Person Pot Luck Dinner for Democracy." Each attendee will bring a dish that serves four-to-six people, so we should be amply fed while discussing how to advance public financing of elections, universal voter registration, jobs programs to put unemployed Americans to work right now, a freeze on all foreclosures, increasing taxes on the wealthy and global corporations, and massive action on climate change that begins by passing the "Save Our Climate Act" to put a price on carbon pollution.
Of course, to raise $400,000 at just $2 per person would mean inviting 200,000 people to the modest house I rent in Alford. The last time we had that many people over (for the "Seinfeld" finale, maybe?) we were cleaning up for weeks. I vowed never to do that again. So this time we're keeping it small ...
While everyone understands the need to raise money for campaigns, it's long past time to elect Democrats who know we have to radically change our campaign-finance system. And fast. We simply can't continue down this road of a "democracy" funded substantially by a narrow, wealthy, and corporate elite – a problem that existed long before the Citizens United decision.
Indeed, we've already gone too far down that road. The results are painfully obvious to millions of struggling American families who lost jobs, homes, and retirement savings in the latest economic meltdown and who know the response from Washington has been wholly inadequate. They don't have $125 or $2,500 or $20,000 to donate to a political candidate.
In my view, ideas and candidates should sink or swim on the merits, not how much money is behind them. That's the promise of public financing of elections, and that's why I will champion that necessary reform, and many others, in the United States Congress.
Nuciforo Proposes Federal Foreclosure Remedies
"The cities of Springfield and Holyoke have been hit hard by the worst flood of foreclosures in decades," said Nuciforo, who is currently Middle Berkshire register of deeds. "These communities need leadership in Washington to prevent any further damage to homeownership, home equity, or community stability. Any homeowner who receives a foreclosure notice should be eligible for a mediation process, with mandatory participation from the lender. I propose that Congress adopt a measure to bring the homeowner and the lender together to resolve foreclosures and protect homeowners."
Nuciforo's proposal would permit the modification of interest rates and payment schedules, allow for principal reduction, and ban foreclosures without proper documentation.
Nuciforo noted that his proposal is based on legislation recently passed in Massachusetts. It requires lenders to determine if the net value of modifying an existing mortgage is greater than the anticipated recovery from foreclosure. If so, the lender is required to offer loan modification to the borrower.
According to the Hampden County Registry of Deeds, 1,937 foreclosure deeds went on record from Jan. 1, 2010, through Dec. 31, 2011.
"When it comes to protecting homeowners, Congressman Richard Neal has been largely absent," Nuciforo said. "In the years leading to the 2008 financial crisis, Congressman Neal consistently supported the deregulation of major mortgage lenders and other banks. Congressional support for deregulating lenders contributed substantially to the collapse of the housing market."
The congressional record reflects that from 1994 through 2000, Congressman Richard Neal of the 2nd Massachusetts supported five measures, including the repeal of Glass-Steagal in 1999, that deregulated the mortgage and banking sectors in the United States.
"While Congressman Neal worked to deregulate lenders and strip legal protections from consumers, I authored a successful measure in the Massachusetts Senate which enacted one of the toughest pro-consumer mortgage protection bills in the nation."
Nuciforo said that if Congress fails to act to protect homeowners this year he would submit legislation to do so within his first 90 days of taking office.
Legal Association Endorses Harris for Register of Deeds
"As paralegals we have confidence in Patsy's knowledge and ability to answer our questions when they arise. She is always professional, and willing to help. It is vital to those of us who deal with the recording of real estate transactions on a regular basis to have the person who is elected as register of deeds be knowledgeable and ready to work the day after the election and Patsy is the only candidate who fits that description," said Helene Robillard, president of the BAPLS.
"I am honored to have the support of the BAPLS association. This organization is comprised of paralegals and legal secretaries within Berkshire County and provides educational seminars along with scholarships for local high school students. I look forward to working closely with the members of the association as the next register of deeds," said Harris.
Harris, who is currently an assistant register of deeds, has previously received the endorsements of current Register of Deeds Andrea F. Nuciforo Jr. and Mary K. O'Brien, who was formerly register of deeds for 30 years.