Speech to the Massachusetts Democratic Convention June 3, 2017

Good morning. And welcome to the delegates of the Massachusetts Democratic Party, the most progressive state party in America!

I’m so glad to be here and to see all of you, for so many reasons but not the least of which this: You are the revolution. You are the change.

While Donald Trump drags Washington into paralysis and despair, you are ready to pass what I think is going to be the most progressive state party platform in American history.

You worked tirelessly last year for Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, as they forged the most progressive national platform in the history.

You are the change. And we need you now. Not just to resist Donald Trump, though resist we must. But to help us make change here. Now.

We can’t afford to wait. It took more than 40 years to reach our unprecedented, inexcusable level of income inequality. We can’t wait another 10 years to fix it.

It took generations to create climate change; we can’t wait generations to stop it.

It’s taken generations to fight for civil rights for all Americans; we can’t stop now, whether it be through criminal justice reform or transgender rights or any other threat to our basic liberties.

Like never before, we face what Dr. King called “the fierce urgency of now.” We learned that\ this week when Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris Accord. This was an illconceived decision which sets us apart from virtually every other nation in the world. I hope we will
not hear next from the Trump Administration that the world is flat.

We in Massachusetts must take up that mantle and take our rightful place as national leaders. And we in the legislature -- with your help – must take our place as the leaders here at home that effect immediate and meaningful change. 

For the last three months, we in the Senate have had open forums across the state – what we call “Commonwealth Conversations.”

We’ve listened. And we’ve learned. And here’s one of our key takeaways: the people of Massachusetts want what we as Democrats want. Their platform is our platform. Their concerns are truly our concerns. They may or may not call themselves Democrats, but they share our values, hopes, and dreams.

They believe that climate change must remain a priority, and so do we.

They believe that having safe communities and growing our economy means embracing the immigrants of today and the ones who will come tomorrow, and so do we.

They believe that health care is a right not a privilege, and so do we. And they want our economic and social policies to lift all boats, not just those at the very top.

They want us to act, and we here at this convention are acting by adopting a bold party platform. And in government, in just the last 24 months, we in the state senate have been acting.

We passed legislation on climate change, on pregnant workers’ rights, on paid family and medical leave, on criminal justice reform, on wage theft, and on so much more. Important, meaningful change. But change that, frankly, is not yet law. This is where you, who are delegates today but will always be advocates, organizers and fighters, must step in.

We need all of you to be our partners, to move the work we’ve started the rest of the way, because no matter how much we do in the Senate, we can’t get the bills we passed signed into law unless you join us to move our legislation from 2nd base to home plate, and then to make it law with the Governor’s signature or even over his objections if he vetoes progressive policy.

Those of us gathered here have the passion and power to advance our causes right here at home, because no matter what happens in Washington, there are fights we can fight, and win, right here at home.

We must take steps to address the yawning gap between those at the top and the rest of working and middle classes.\

We must make our tax system more fair. We need a 21st Century tax system for a 21st Century economy that produces the revenue we need.

We must have a living wage.

We must reject the gutting of the EPA and walking away from the Paris Accord and all it stands for by passing laws here at home that make sure we’re cleaner and greener than any state in
the nation. 

We must have public transportation that works – that gets people where they need to go, when they need to get there -- and not just in the Metropolitan Boston area but all across the state.

We must put Kids First and make sure every child in the Commonwealth has access to early education, and that every high school graduate has access to affordable higher education.

We must have automatic voter registration. We must finally have paid family and medical leave for working families and a $15 minimum wage.

We must finally have real criminal justice reform to end minimum mandatory sentencing, and keep our kids and our adults accused of minor crimes out of jail, out of the downward spiral that inevitably follows incarceration.

We must protect our neighbors and friends who have come from other countries, our immigrant communities, who want nothing more than to work hard and be a part of our great nation. It is easy to get distracted by the chaos in Washington, and to dissolve into gridlock. We cannot afford gridlock. We need change and should not be afraid to fight for it.

Other states aren’t waiting for Donald Trump to make change happen. We can’t either.

We can make our platform a reality, with a bolder vision that goes far beyond maintaining the status quo for those who benefit, and tinkering at the margins for everyone else.

We must work together, and do everything we can to make our party platform go beyond our shared vision; we need to make it our reality.

I ask all of you, the delegates we’ve seen here so many times before and the delegates joining us for the first time today, to please join me in working to make meaningful change. Here.

Now. Not sometime in the future when the presidency and the corner office changes. Let’s get going today. Please join me in making Massachusetts a national example for how to make bold change, how to take on powerful forces thwarting change – how to be the shining city on the hill.
Let’s be a beacon of light, a progressive movement that carries us into the brighter future our platform envisions.
As a Democrat, as a delegate, as a legislator, as a legislative leader and a proud progressive

I am committed to this work. I know you are too. That’s why we are here today. Let’s be the change we want. Let’s lead not reluctantly, not cautiously, but boldly. Let’s march into the future that we will create together.