HomeNewsExploiting Loophole, Democrats Make Plans to Caucus

Exploiting Loophole, Democrats Make Plans to Caucus

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At the Special Town Meeting on November 13, Hopkinton voters considered and passed Article 2, a citizens petition to eliminate partisan elections in town. The measure prevents the terms “Democratic Caucus Nominee” or “Republican Caucus Nominee” from appearing next to a candidate for public office’s name on any town election ballot. It also prevents political parties from caucusing to anoint a candidate.

The article was packaged in the form of a Home Rule Petition, which takes an act of the Massachusetts legislature and Governor Maura Healey’s signature to become law. 

Within days of the Special Town Meeting concluding, Town Clerk Connor Degan passed the signed article to State Representative James Arena-DeRosa for action. Arena-DeRosa brought forth Bill H.4203 on November 29, and the matter was referred to the Committee on Election Laws for review, a required procedural step.

But nothing substantive has happened since. With the holiday break, and the legislature distracted with other business, Hopkinton’s Home Rule Petition has yet to become law. 

Recently, the Hopkinton Democratic Town Committee (HDTC) and Hopkinton Republican Town Committee (HRTC) have made inquiries to the Town Clerk about this bill, and whether it is legally permissible for them to caucus. HopNews obtained email correspondence from the Clerk through a Freedom of Information request.

On January 19, HDTC Chair Amy Groves wrote to Degan and Vasuhdha Dutta, the Executive Assistant to the Town. 

Hello Vasudha and Connor,

I have discovered that although Town Meeting voted to discontinue party-run town caucuses, the act approving this change may not pass in the legislature soon enough that it will take effect this year.

Therefore I would like to request that:

  • Vasudha please reserve the Select Board room on Friday, April 12, 2024 for the “Local Democratic Caucus.”
  • Checkin begins at 6 p.m. and the caucus begins at 6:30 p.m.
  • Connor please reserve this caucus date for us as well, because Mass General Laws prohibit the Republican and Democratic caucuses to be held on the same day. I will forward you the press release under separate cover.

Thank you very much,

Amy Groves – she/her/hers – Chair, Hopkinton Democratic Town Committee

Weeks later, HRTC Chair Jim Mirable also contacted Degan to explore caucusing, though it appears those plans have been abandoned. Reached for comment, Mirable had this to say.

“The HRTC Executive Committee has discussed whether to caucus for this year’s town election. We have decided against it. The inaction by the state legislature on Article 2, that was passed by town meeting last year, provides a loophole for political committees to caucus before this year’s town election. Although our Executive Committee held several opinions on the pros and cons of the ability to caucus, at the end of the day, we want to be a party committee that is supportive of the decisions and views of the people of Hopkinton. Some decisions are less about if you can, and more about if you should.”

If the legislature and governor fail to act on the Home Rule Petition by April 15, all ballots for the May election will be printed with the term “Democratic Caucus Nominee” where applicable.

In spite of a clear majority of Hopkinton residents approving Article 2, Degan does not have the latitude to suppress party affiliation from printed ballots. “I can only act as the law requires me,” he said.

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11 COMMENTS

  1. Another example that political parties do not care about the interests of the people. The singular goal is to gain and retain power.

  2. Add Amy Groves to the recall list along with all her colleagues on the SB. She’s another one that has demonstrated that she doesn’t care about what the town actually wants.
    It’s refreshing to hear that the HRTC is going to abstain from following suit and is in alignment with how the town voted

  3. The HDTC is destroying our town. Not the democrats just Hopkinton’s own chapter of Dems.

    I guess who cares what the town thinks and votes in?

    Amy Groves and the HDTC do not care what the people want in Hopkinton. It’s all about power and control for them.

    What a slimey and deceitful way to go about it. Gross.

  4. Literally NOTHING and I mean NOTHING surprises me about this crew. The obstinate attitude and disregard the HDTC has for the voters and citizens of this town is infuriating. DO BETTER, HDTC. Start by finally listening to your constituents rather than acting like a coterie of narcissists with a vendetta against the town.

  5. Funny story. Back in the year they changed the Selectman title to select Board, I was boo’d at town meeting for explaining why I wanted to keep it selectman. Imagine that, someone with a differing opinion getting boo’d for explaining their thought process to speak against it. Well, I lost that debate to the tune of about 90% for the change and 10% to keep it status quo. I was up for reelection in a few weeks so I went out and changed out 300 of my yard signs to read Tedstone for Select Board rather than selectman. The outspoken left, who some of which are still prominent in the HTDC, eviscerated me (and I still have all the screen shots) for doing it saying I was being condescending and didn’t mean what my signs said. Think about that. These people could tell my intent and what I was thinking simply by seeing new signs out. My public explanation was that at town meeting, the townspeople spoke and their message was to change to select board, and that is who we, as a board, reports to, so I did. They all jumped on the train to throw me under the bus, but I paid them no mind and went on to win the election handily.

    Cut to 5 years later, this board is thumbing their noses to what the town voted on and on a technicality, will continue to caucus based on a loophole. These are the people that make good people not want to be involved. If you can’t go out and get 50 signatures to get on the ballot, who do you think is going to vote for you? I’ve never seen someone hit the campaign trail harder than Claire Wright. I sat with her on the board for 3 years. She had mailers, ads in the local media, would frequently go to Fruit St fields and the high school athletic complex for meet and greets. She was a Republican and could have taken the easy way out but she didn’t. Her heart was in it and ran for the love of Hopkinton, not so she can get more likes on some garbage Facebook group. She was someone who I loved serving with.

  6. “[You] doth protest to much methinks.”

    ROTFL! One of the classes I used to run involved educating the participants on the fine art of rule interpretation. And the art of defending the team’s interpretation of the rules!

    👍

  7. Again…more people that want an office seat ignoring what the people want. I know I will not vote for anyone affiliated to a party.

  8. Even though many of us are acquaintances, neighbors, friends and family that run for our local offices…a D next to a name is a rather significant turn off at this point in Hopkinton. I wouldn’t even vote for my best friend if she was running and involved in this hypocrisy.

  9. We should look at this as a positive. Now we can identify all those people willing to be put on the ballot as the “Democrat Caucus Candidate” and VOTE AGAINST THEM! It’s really that simple people.

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