Over the weekend, a number of Democratic town committees in the Berkshires held meetings to elect delegates for the Massachusetts Democratic Party Endorsing Convention and to pass resolutions advocating for liberal causes. The Massachusetts Democratic Party Endorsing Committee, which will meet in Worcester, Mass. on June 1 and 2, is responsible for determining official Party endorsements for statewide races for positions such as governor, senator and attorney general. Democratic town caucuses were held across Massachusetts between Feb. 3 and March 4, with most local Berkshire committees meeting in early March.
Last Sunday’s Pittsfield Democratic Town Committee meeting, organized by Town Democratic Chair Kevin Sherman, elected delegates from all seven town wards. During the meeting, a number of candidates advocated for themselves in the hope that delegates friendly to their campaign would be selected. Candidates for governor Jay Gonzalez and Warren Setti were present, as well as candidates for lieutenant governor, congress, secretary of state and Berkshire County district attorney. Congressman Richard Neal, who represents the Berkshire area in the House of Representatives, sent an aide to the meeting to advocate on his behalf rather than attend himself.
Overall, approximately 75 people attended the meeting, but those people will likely have an outsized role in ultimately determining Democratic nominees in June. When selecting delegates, the Town Committee attempted to promote inclusivity and encouraged all Pittsfield residents to engage in the political process. “All registered Democrats in Pittsfield wards are eligible, and the Pittsfield Democratic Committee welcomes all participants,” a press release stated. “Delegates will be divided equally between men and women, and all ballots will be written and secret. Youth, minorities and people with disabilities who are not elected as delegates or alternates may apply to be ‘add-on’ delegates.”
Other towns held meetings as well. In North Adams, the Democratic City Committee met on Thursday to elect a new male vice chair and affirmative action and outreach advisor. The committee promoted the panel as an opportunity for community members to provide feedback and engage in constructive discussions as the committee prepares for the upcoming elections.
Additionally, the Sheffield Democratic Committee took advantage of the enthusiasm surrounding the delegate selection process to promote an event with its local state senator, Adam Hinds, last Monday. The Committee urged “all Berkshires residents, regardless of their political affiliation, to take advantage of this unique opportunity to meet Senator Hinds in person [and talk] about the important issues facing Massachusetts and the nation.”
Throughout these meetings, grassroots enthusiasm was dually focused on advocating for Democratic priorities and expressing outrage at President Trump. At the Feb. 3 Adams Town Democratic Committee Meeting, attended by representatives on behalf of Hinds, Neal and Senator Elizabeth Warren, Chair Ed Driscoll made sure to emphasize both topics.
“People realize that it is here, at the grassroots level, where priorities such as health care, education and jobs for the middle class begin, and it is here, at the grassroots level, that we will start to remove the abomination in the White House,” Driscoll said. “The level of activism, even locally, has been stirred up by a ‘fake president’ elected by Russian chicanery who is damaging our great nation.”