Q&A: Group 1 Framingham Democratic Town Committee Slate, Rep. Jack Patrick Lewis

‘The Group 1 slate is diverse and represents Framingham at its best.’
Government & Politics

Rep. Jack Patrick Lewis


February 19, 2024

The following is a Q&A with Rep. Jack Patrick Lewis, who heads the Group 1 slate running for the Democratic Town Committee on the March 2024 Democratic Presidential Primary ballot.

Why do you believe Democrats (and independents selecting a Democratic ballot) should vote for your slate?

The Group 1 slate is diverse and represents Framingham at its best. Group 1 candidates range in age from 22-86 and include representation from all 9 of Framingham’s districts. With four current city councilors (including the two newest), two former city councilors, small business owners, labor union leaders, community advocates, teachers, and medical professionals, Group 1 truly embodies the diverse tapestry of Framingham and the Democratic Party’s big tent. Each member of Group 1 has worked to elect Democrats and to promote Democratic values of inclusion, combat climate change, and advance LGBTQ+ and reproductive rights. These 34 individuals are eager and ready to continue the work of the Framingham Democratic Committee, deeply committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice.

As recent statewide and regional candidates have said, our Framingham Democratic Party is among the most active and successful in the state, and diverse participation only makes it stronger. Not only have we organized to elect leaders in our state but have sent door-knockers and phone-bankers into other states.

Local party committees are strongest when they work to include more in the process as opposed to eliminating those with whom one disagrees. With Donald Trump’s strong poll numbers, reproductive rights under attack across the country, immigrants facing perilous risks, and the need to retain the US Senate and elect a Democratic majority in the US House, now is the time for Democrats to refrain from personality politics and come together to advance our shared values.

What would you say to the argument that it’s time for new people to run the city’s Democratic committee?

The local committee encourages participation, new perspectives, and membership, with most new individuals beginning as associate members to give them a chance to understand the requirements of full membership (we are a working committee). The meetings are open and always include diverse perspectives. Some on Group 1 are current members who will continue to serve if elected; 14 are on the ballot for the first time.

While the 35 members of the committee are elected every 4 years on the presidential primary ballot, there are regular vacancies in full membership, allowing the FDC to elect new full members. During the last 2 years, we have elected 7 new full members to fill such openings, while recently welcoming 12 new associate members. Any Democrat in Framingham can join and participate in the local party, and greater participation only makes the Framingham Democratic Committee stronger.

We built our slate by reaching out to current and associate members, as well as volunteers, including 3 current full members who now appear on the Group 2 slate. Group 2 did not work with the current committee to help elect what they identify as “new voices” for associate or full membership, and instead secretly assembled a competing slate.

When we learned of their efforts, just a few days before nomination papers were due, we offered to incorporate many of these “new voices” into a unity slate, and thereby avoid a contentious local election. Several current active members of the FDC offered to step down from the Group 1 slate to make room for 7 of the Group 2 candidates. Even though some of their prospective members had neither attended local party meetings nor expressed interest in membership in the FDC, we felt that unity was paramount. Time would be better spent helping Democrats win the White House, US Senate, and Congress, rather than campaigning for a local committee.

This offer of a unity slate was rejected outright as “insulting.” Group 2 made it clear that their intention was never to solely incorporate new people. Instead, they sought to remove current members due to personality politics.

While Group 2 talks of bringing new voices to the committee, their choices show a different reality. Among the members of Group 2 are two “life members” (former City Councilor John Stefanini & former Town Moderator Jerry Desilets), people who are automatically members of the committee due to 20 previous years on the committee. If elected, their inclusion prevents the opportunity for new members in those 2 seats.

It is unfortunate that Group 2 has chosen a course of action that could prevent new and less well-known individuals from being included. It would be counterproductive to lose any hard-working current members and prospective new members when they might have successfully united to serve as the next 35 members of the FDC.

What would you say to the concern that a slate filling out all the members leaves less room for newcomers?

Group 1 includes 7 potential new members. Group 2 includes 5 potential new members. Group 1 intentionally submitted only 34 names on the slate instead of the maximum 35, to give people an opportunity to vote for the entire Group 1 and also vote for former State Senator David Magnani with their 35th vote. It is important to note that since Senator Magnani chose to run as an individual, his name appears after the two groups.

While Group 2 contends that they intentionally “left open” 11 seats in their group for other newcomers, that has no basis in truth. Group 2 tried to assemble a full “slate,” even including spouses. Their attempt was unsuccessful, with multiple people reaching out to me in the days before signatures were due, asking me to help explain what it was that the leaders of Group 2 were actually asking them to join. Some may even have signed up to help their friends, not knowing that they were committing to be on a competitive ballot or to the responsibilities of being full members of the FDC. In fact, leaving spots “open” only means that the top 35 names on the ballot will be elected. They will not be “open” after all the votes are counted.

Again, it is important to note that this election occurs every four years and openings arise fairly often. Many, if not most, of the folks running on the Group 1 slate started out as associate members or volunteers before ever being elected.

Where should people go to find out more information about your slate?

You can learn about the members of Group 1 on our website https://group1getsstuffdone.org and on https://www.facebook.com/group1getsstuffdone (where we are releasing biographies of two of the Group 1 members each day).

As an important aside, Framingham Unfiltered has endorsed Group 2, an endorsement they have not rejected. Framingham Unfiltered is run anonymously, and is a local, online, divisive blog with regular posts that publish personal information and attack our thriving immigrant community, reproductive rights, the LGBTQ+ community, and local elected women and people of color. Definitely not the people we want influencing the future of the Democratic Party and our community.

While I wish we could have truly come together, I ask for your help to continue our local success by filling in just one oval to elect Group 1.

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