Monday, December 04, 2006

See You Thursday, at the Civic Engagement Meeting

There are three important meetings for Deval Patrick's transition team being held in the South Coast Area.

Thur Dec 7th at 5:30PM/UMass- Civic Engagement
Mon Dec 11th at 5:30PM/UMass- Workforce Investment
Tues Dec 12th at 6:30PM/Voc Tech- Local Government

Out of all three, Civic Engagement is clearly the most important, because it will effect everything else on the agenda. I'll be there at the meeting, in part hoping to discuss some of my ideas - especially to see how they relate to Deval Patrick's new grand vision on keeping alive the movement that built around him.

That's right, Deval Patrick has some big ideas on how to get important, progressive legislation passed. By keeping Deval's field team alive over the next four years, Deval hopes to be able to build up support for critical issues in the same way he did for his candidacy. Frank Phillips has more.

Fresh off his resounding victory, Governor-elect Deval L. Patrick plans to keep active his much-touted campaign field organization, a decision that will give him considerable political muscle when he governs from Beacon Hill and could empower him in Democratic presidential politics.

His aides said that Patrick has given his campaign manager, John Walsh, the task of transforming the grass-roots network into a permanent statewide political organization. Among the organization's tasks, aides said, will be to provide support for Patrick's agenda at the State House, raise funds, provide political ground support for the governor, and mobilize around issues that he and his supporters care about.

"The grass-roots organization could be used to build support for Deval's agenda," said Doug Rubin, who served as his chief strategist in the campaign. "Any governor has the bully pulpit to persuade voters that their agenda is worth supporting. This organization can help build popular support."

Before a dozen state reps start screaming in terror, with another dozen itching for a political boxing match, it's time they realize that Deval Patrick's methodology for change is people-power. By taking on issues and trying to convince a majority of the public to get behind those issues - at least in the same sort of priority held by Deval - public opinion can shift and important, progressive legislation can be made.

On my 'idea thread,' I said that it's important to create some kind of enhanced noise machine - but I only had a few, small ideas on how to do it. Deval's decision to keep alive the team that got him elected is a huge idea in promoting the type of word-of-mouth, grassroots/netroots connection for real, lasting change is fantastic. It can have real impacts on Massachusetts. Just ask John Walsh, Deval Patrick's campaign manager.

Walsh and Rubin insist the field organization will be oriented to get Patrick supporters involved in civic life in order to influence local and state affairs. But they also say the organization could mobilize to lobby Beacon Hill and act as an antidote to predominately conservative talk-radio shows.
So, to tie this all back to Thursday's Civic Engagement meeting, we - the people - have a lot to talk about. My idea to organize groups focused on specific issues or regions would still be a great idea, whether they be created through executive order or through Deval Patrick's old campaign team. However, ideas are fostered best away from campaign money, so I would hope Deval Patrick organizes it from within his Corner Office - not campaign HQ. I'll be at UMASS Dartmouth on Thursday to tell him.

PS: The two meetings at UMASS Dartmouth will be held inside the Foster Administration Building, in the Conference Room. If anyone needs directions or wants any other information - even where to eat/sleep/park/etc. - let me know.

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