Ed and Katy receive enthusiastic endorsement from the Newburyport Daily News

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Heading into the final week of the campaign, our local candidates received an energetic boost as the Newburyport Daily News endorsed both Katy O’Connor Ives and Ed Cameron for their respective offices.

Citing her experience in being able to straddle  her district’s political middle ground, the editorial states that O’Connor Ives “has proven to be an effective legislator who has worked hard to meet the needs of her district.” The endorsement also credits her debate performance, where she “has proven to be the stronger and more knowledgeable candidate,” the paper said.

Newburyporter Ed Cameron’s endorsement acknowledge’s his “sensitivity to the problems of the working class and the poor that makes him a strong advocate,” and agrees with his assessment that being in the majority party “places him in good stead for advancement and gives him the best ability to . . .  provide a smooth transition from Mike Costello.”

Read the full endorsement by clicking here.

Cameron seeks seemless transition as next State Rep.

Democratic candidate Ed Cameron (r) presents his opening remarks at the State Representative candidate forum.

Democratic candidate Ed Cameron (r) presents his opening remarks at the State Representative candidate forum.

Citing his Bridgewater roots, his public school teacher father, and his flower shop employee mother, democratic state representative candidate Ed Cameron quickly established a “normal guy” persona at this year’s State Representative Candidate Forum, held last night in Newburyport.

“I am about as middle class as you can get,” Cameron told the crowd during his opening remarks. “I worked my way through college pumping gas, scooping ice cream, sweeping floors, and working as a security guard.”

Cameron is running against Amesbury City Counselor James Kelcourse, republican, independent Newburyport City Councilman Ari Herzog, and independents Steve Stanganelli of Amesbury , and Rama Valiente, of Newburyport. Each candidate was given two minutes to answer ten questions, ranging from topics as wide-ranging as transportation and education funding, to beach replenishment efforts, and House transparency policies. At the end of the evening, each was given the opportunity to ask a direct question to a specific candidate.

Continuing his opening remarks, Cameron talked about how his work at Boston’s Pine Street Inn homeless shelter helped shape his views today.

“I learned alot about the struggles that people are facing who face hard times,” Cameron told the audience. “They’re held back by a lack of education, and economy that doesn’t work for a lot of Americans, substance abuse, mental health, and domestic violence.”

During the campaign, Cameron has heard repeated calls for more state support for local education, more economic development resources for special community projects, and making women’s issues a priority.

Questioning started by addressing an urgent regional issue, opiate drug use.

“We need to do a better job at differentiating when we talk about drugs. There are certain drugs that are less harmful, are non-addictive, and have less of a criminal impact,” Cameron said. “We need to be very harsh on dealers, but I’m for more decriminalizing the active use of these drugs, and really being hard on pushers.”

Cameron also stressed the need for a seamless transition to the newly elected representative so that local projects can continue to be planned and funded. He paid tribute to the work of current State Rep. Mike Costello to bring resources back to the district, citing yesterday’s announcement of $1.7 million for Salisbury water and sewer improvements. “Mike and Katy (State Sen. Katy O’Connor Ives) have been big parts in bringing that back to us.”

During later questions about economic development within district communities, Cameron said that he would leave it up to each town to determine where priorities lie. He did, however, point to current projects that would take precedence, including Salisbury’s beach erosion efforts, Amesbury’s lower millyard development, and transitioning Newburyport’s industrial area into a business park.

Questions about state funding were a major part of the night’s discourse, starting with inquiries about Chapter 90 funds that drive transpiration projects. Cameron linked those funds to his stance on Question 1, keeping the index on the gas tax.

“Keeping the indexing to inflation is a very small increase each year,” Cameron said. “The only way we are going to fix this is to keep money coming in.” He also supports getting the moneys to municipalities earlier to face weather related issues head on. “That money is the only way that cities and town can deal with streets, because nobody has those funds in municipal budgets.”

On Chapter 70 (school budget funds), Cameron pointed out that there is work now being done by Katy O’Connor Ives who has established a working commission locally. He also differentiated himself from the other candidates pointing out that his democratic party affiliation gives him the best chance have an influence on funding discussions and decisions.

“…Republicans, you are going to be low man on the totem pole, and if you are unenrolled or independent, you are not even going to be on the totem pole.”

During the candidate questioning session, Cameron was asked about his top priorities if elected. Seeking more transparency from Beacon Hill, he cited reversing the House’s exemption from the state’s open meeting law as a top priority, working on homeless issues for which he is uniquly qualified, and focus on better regionalization of beach erosion efforts.

Click here to go to Ed Cameron’s campaign website.

Facebook members can click here to visit Ed’s Facebook page with video clips from the candidate forum.

Coakley, Cameron heat up campaign trail in Newburyport

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Martha Coakley and Ed Cameron greet Newburyport residents at Angie’s Foods during Coakley’s recent visit to the area. (photo by Christine Green.)

It was a whirlwind day for local democrats last weekend, as gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley visited the area for a tour of regional hot spots and met with local candidates and voters.

Coakley met up with Newburyport Mayor Donna Holaday, and State Rep. candidate Ed Cameron for a trip though downtown, including stops at Oregano and Angie’s Food on Pleasant St.

“We walked to a number of number of restaurants and retails stores of give her a sense of what was going on in the area,” State Rep. candidate Ed Cameron said.

Local issues were the topic of the day.

“Newburyport is very interested in cementing $5 million of state money to build a new parking garage. We also talked about about Plum Island, as there are issues with erosion, and also with water and sewer.” They also talked to several residents about educational initiatives, including Universal Pre – K, Cameron said.

Another purpose of the trip was to lay the foundation for partnerships once the election concludes. “She wished me well, and said she hoped to be working with me,” Cameron said. “I said the same back to her.”

Click to visit Martha Coakley’s campaign website.

Click to visit Ed Cameron’s campaign website.

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Gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley, steps out with Newburyport Mayor Donna Holaday and State Rep. candidate Ed Cameron for visit with local residents.

O’Connor Ives highlights accomplishments and sets forth vision.

State Sen. Kathleen O'Connor Ives responds to questions during the first candidate forum, in Amesbury.

State Sen. Kathleen O’Connor Ives responds to questions during the first candidate forum, in Amesbury.

State Sen. Katy O’Connor Ives spelled out a track record of successful initiatives, explained the reasoning behind some of her most controversial votes, and explained why she will vote “yes” on all four ballot questions in next month’s election, during an Amesbury political forum for the 1st Essex State Senate seat. Her opponent is Shaun Toohey, president of the School Committee in Haverhill.

“I’m focused on supporting small businesses in the Merrimack Valley, fixing our school funding formula, and will continue to fight for local aide for our cities and towns,” O’Connor Ives said during her opening remarks. “I’ve also delivered critical resources for this district, including $300,000 for beach replenishment at Salisbury Beach, $175,000 for early college programs for Methuen, Haverhill, and Amesbury schools, and critical inclusion [on several bond bills].”

After the opening statements, the debate followed a questions and answer format, with each candidate given two minutes to respond, and a 30 second rebuttal.

Things turned testy early in debate when candidate Toohey accused O’Connor Ives of voting against a tourism bill that would have provided $25 million in grant funds to the immediate area.

She responded by querying Toohey on which bill he was referring too, then illustrated her work reconstituting a brand new tourism fund. “We put our thinking hats on and actually, in one session, totally changed the tourism funding formula to increase the revenue generating opportunities.”

O’Connor Ives tapped her experience as municipal counselor when asked what specific issues she would focus on for the Amesbury/Newburyport/Salisbury area.

She told the crowd she has formed a special education working group to tackle education funding reform, is focused on seeing to completion local construction projects including the Lower Millyard, sound barriers on the Whittier Bridge, and that the intermodal path along the bridge is completed. She also mentioned affordability issues, pointing out that rising energy costs effects everyone from students saddled with debt to retirees on fixed incomes.

“We want to make sure that we can keep our retirees and our talent here in the Merrimack Valley,” she said. “Having completed two state budgets, it’s really about ushering those priorities along.”

As an example of putting money toward tangible resources, she points out that she was able to advocate for a $1,000,000 increase for Councils on Aging budgets. “Those senior center directors know how to stretch a dollar,” she said.

The discussion predictably turned to Chapter 70 (school funding) where O’Connor Ives talked about some of the challenges in reforming the dated policy.

“First and foremost, it’s an outdated formula,” she said. “[It] was created in response to 1993 education reform. We need a funding formula that parents and teachers can respond too.”

The legislature recently passed a revision to the last budget that calls on the commission that establishes the formula to reconvene. “Their goal is to make sure that we have a budget that is responsive to our school districts,” she said. “We’re falling short every budget cycle and we can’t cut any more.”

Turning to the ballot questions, O’Connor Ives emphatically and concisely explained why she would be voting yes on all four initiatives.

On Question 1, O’Connor Ives voted against the gas tax and the indexing of the gas tax during the state budget process, and will continue to vote that way in November.

Question 2, the Bottle Bill, redirects dollars to a more targeted programming, she said. “The money will go directly back into supporting environmental programming in our state, which we desperately need.” (During his response, candidate Toohey briefly referred to the bottle bill as “the money grab.”)

Referring to the casino bill, Question 3, O’Connor Ives pointed out that she would rather create jobs by building schools, hospitals, and homes, before building casinos.

Finally she described earned sick time, Question 4, as “an policy whose time has come,” she said, “and everyone who’s working deserves the opportunity to take care of themselves or a loved one if they’re ill.”

Read more about the debate by clicking here.

Watch the debate in its entirety buy clicking here.

O’Connor Ives: “Kindness is not weakness”

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State Sen. Katy O’Connor Ives (r) speaks during Amesbury’s “Be a buddy, not a bully” event.

Speaking at Amesbury’s “Be a buddy, not a bully” event , State Senator Katy O’Connor Ives offered a statement that captured everyone’s ear.

“Kindness is not weakness,” she said. “I think that is a constant challenge, because that is the perception.”

She made the remarks during a panel discussion with local school principles, city officials, and other members of the community. The event was organized by Amesbury super-volunteer Rosemary Warner, and sponsored by Amesbury Chevrolet.

“From my perspective as a legislator, we talk about having kindness go viral,” she said. “It’s a great concept. I think a lot of it has to do with changing cultures whether its in schools, or at the municipal level or if it’s in our different social networks. And at Beacon Hill, I’m definitely motivated to change certain cultures that we have.”

The State Senate currently has an anti school bullying bill in committee that mandates the following:

– Statements prohibiting bullying
– Procedures to report bullying anonymously
– Procedure for response and investigation
– Plans to support students vulnerable to bullying
– Professional development
– Reporting standards
– Student surveys

The bill (S 2055) currently stands as a priority for action in the next legislative session.

Moulton spells out top campaign issues

Democratic candidate Seth Moulton discusses top campaign issues with local residents.

Democratic candidate Seth Moulton discusses top campaign issues with local residents.

When Marblehead native Seth Moulton defeated incumbent John Tierney in last month’s primary race for the 6th Congressional District, he realized there were still several difficult tasks ahead of him, and job number one was to convince long time Tierney supporters that he can get the job done.

“You don’t win an election based on a resume,” Moulton told a gathering of 3T&2C committee members in Salisbury last week. “You’ve got to earn the trust and support of voters.”

Moulton has gained the support of the entire Massachusetts democratic delegation, but is now working to reach as many voters in the district as possible. (Click here to read about efforts of the coordinated Democratic campaigns to reach voters during this midterm election.)

He met with local democrats for more than two hours, talking about his top campaign issues and answering personal and political questions. Since he has no electoral background, he drew on his military experience, Harvard education, and public school experience to illustrate how he would handle political matters.

He began his discussion by pointing out the different economic development challenges faced by a district with such diverse cities as Lynn and Gloucester.

“Unemployment is higher here (than) the state average, and there are lot of towns like Lynn that have lost thousands of jobs over the last 20 or 30 years.”

Moulton will soon release a new economic development plan for Lynn. He is also working with environmental and economic development groups to develop new strategies for fisherman in Gloucester who will be hit with severe restrictive cod fishing limits in the near future.

Moulton then turned to education, addressing topics as diverse as Pre-K to post-college loan pressures.

“(Education) is not only important to our country, but it’s very personal to me,” Moulton said, crediting the fact that he has gotten to this point thanks to an excellent education starting at his local public school.

“A lot of kids even here in Massachusetts . . . don’t have that opportunity because their school is not up to standards,” Moulton told the crowd. “I don’t think there is anyone who can argue that there is no better investment in our future than ensuring a great education for our kids.

As a recent college graduate, Moulton feels the pressures of monstrous student loan obligations. “There is a lot that needs to be done,” he says. He has already reached out to Senator Elizabeth Warren to craft agendas to meet those needs.

Moulton then turned to the challenges that many veterans face when returning from combat tours overseas.

“There is widespread recognition that we need to do more for our veterans,” he says. Moulton knows a bit about those challenges himself, as he receives his healthcare from the Veterans’ Administration.

“But it’s not just about taking care of veterans when they come home,” he says, “it’s also ensuring that veterans can go and help the country in the future.”

He illustrates this point by explaining that war veterans from World War Two were not called “The Greatest Generation” upon returning from that conflict. Instead, the phrase was coined during the 1990’s, emphasizing veterans actions after the war as much as during the war.

“I think that should be true for our veterans today.”

Finally, Moulton pointed to the issues of women’s rights as essential to the national conversation and this election, particularly the issue of pay equality.

“When I worked for Gen. Petraeus in Iraq, I had a small team of Marines. One of my teammates was a woman,” he says. “We did the same work, we got the same pay. If we can do that in the military, we ought to be able to do it in corporate America.”

To that end, Moulton wants to put a system in place that certifies companies practicing pay equity.

From there Moulton answered several questions regarding the current crisis involving ISIS in Iraq, reemphasizing the need for more veterans in legislative positions.

“We need to have people in Congress who have the experience on the ground in the middle east, but also with the credibility in the military . . . to ask the toughest questions of our congress and our president, before putting our troops in harms way.”

Click to visit Seth Moulton’s campaign website.

Want to help Democrats win? Talk to your neighbors, senator says

State Sen. Brian Downing, chair of the Democratic Coordinated Campaign talks with candidate Seth Moulton

State Sen. Brian Downing, chair of the Democratic Coordinated Campaign talks with candidate Seth Moulton.

Our local Democratic candidates face stiff competition during this election cycle, and the state party is making great efforts to ensure a successful outcome.

Amesbury’s Democratic Committee is working closely with the state’s coordinated campaign committee, to ensure correct messaging reaches voters.

“During the primaries, the statewide democratic coordinated campaign concentrated its efforts on identifying Democrats that only vote in presidential years,” says State Sen. Ben Downing (D-Pittsfield). “We hoped to expand that universe of reliable voters.”

Were they successful? Through their efforts, the coordinated campaign identified and reached more than 30,000 of those voters, either with literature or phone calls.

Moving forward into the general election cycle, those efforts will turn to identfying un-enrolled and independent voters who favor statewide initiatives such as statewide early education, and earned sick time as proposed by Ballot Question 4. This includes a large block of female voters, as well as many male voters.

“Polls indicate significant support of those initiatives,” Downing said.

What can you do?
When it comes to local grassroots efforts, however, Downing encourages engaged voters to simply talk about the issues and candidates.

“Friends, family members, and neighbors hold the greatest sway when it comes to influence,” Downing says. “When you’re watching the Patriots beat up on another team, don’t be afraid to talk about candidates or issues during commercials or after the game.”

He also recommends volunteering to support candidates, either through phone banking, sign holding, or other events. These grassroots efforts provide great energy for campaigns, that can be matched with energy from this year’s strong slate of statewide candidates.

Scenes From the Grand Opening Event

Amesbury chair Rebecca Jordan calls on local democrats to volunteer in grassroots efforts for local candidates.

 

State Rep. candidate Ed Cameron comments on local opposition calling him a “left wing extremist.”

(Special thanks to Christine Green for producing these videos).

 

 

 

 

Grand Opening Event Calls for Grasroots Efforts

Amesbury Democrats officially kicked off the election cycle with a grand opening event at their new downtown headquarters located at 15 Friend St. The office is a grassroots effort being sponsored locally by the “3T&2C” committee, which consists of the Democratic committees of Amesbury, Salisbury, Newbury, Newburyport, and West Newbury.

Addressing the crowd, Amesbury chair Rebecca Jordan noted that a strong grassroots effort is needed as national Republicans have poured numerous resources into Merrimack Valley. The new office will coordinate campaign volunteers throughout the area, serve as  a candidate information center, and be the distribution point for lawn signs and other campaign materials.

“We are neighbors. We live here, we work here, we send our kids to school here,” Jordan said, while  urging attendees to volunteer for sign holding shifts, phone banking hours, as well as hours to staff the office.

More than 200 democrats showed up for the event, including State Rep. candidate Ed Cameron, State Senate Candidate Katie O’Connor Ives, Eileen Duff, candidate for the Governor’s Council, and Seth Moulten, candidate for the 6th Congressional District seat in Congress.

Democratic Headquarters Opens in Amesbury

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Amesbury chair Rebecca Jordan (l) discusses strategy with Coakley regional campaign director Chris Leist (r) at the new Amesbury Democrat Headquarters on Friend St.

Local Democrats now have a central meeting point to plan, strategize and phone bank during the balance of this year’s election cycle. A new headquarters opened at 15 Friend Street, in downtown Amesbury, on Wednesday, Sep. 10. The office is located two doors down from Amesbury’s iconic Barking Dog pub, and has quick access to many downtown amenities. “The headquarters is sponsored and fully funded by the 3T&2C Committee, which includes the chairs of the democratic committees of Amesbury, Newbury, Newburyport, Salisbury and West Newbury,” says Rebecca Jordan, chair of the Amesbury Democratic Committee. “We secured the space in August but agreed to wait until after the primary to use it. The location is available for meetings, phone banking and canvass staging for the Democratic Coordinated Campaign.” A kickoff party is planned for Sunday Sep. 21 from 3 – 5pm.