September 7, 2013
On April 14, 2007, I was honored to be elected to lead the Massachusetts Democratic Party at a time of great hope and optimism. Today, six and a half years later, I am proud of the work we have done together that has realized much of the potential that was evident that spring day and it is with mixed emotions that I notify you of my intention to resign as Chair of our party effective when a successor is elected at our next meeting on October 17, 2013.
As I end my term, I remain certain that Democrats win because we stand strong for our values. The Massachusetts Democratic Party has helped Democrats win by stating those values clearly in our platform, by nominating strong, progressive candidates who demonstrate our resolve and by conducting campaigns in the finest tradition of grassroots, community-organizing politics. Since Tip O’Neill taught us that “all politics is local” and Mike Dukakis brought – and continues to bring – our message to the doorsteps of every voter, Massachusetts Democrats have succeeded by being true to those principles and I am confident we will continue to do the same. I am proud that during my tenure those principles have been embraced and advanced by my friend, Governor Deval Patrick. Among the proudest moments of my tenure was when I watched our governor deliver an address to the 2012 national convention in Charlotte where he clearly and effectively articulated to the country his own version of that doctrine when he urged candidates and organizers across America to follow the lead of Massachusetts Democrats and “grow a backbone, stand up for what we believe in” and talk to voters face-to-face, one-on-one about what is important. From coast-to coast, Democrats heeded that call and won.
Looking forward, I remain confident for many reasons. In addition to a continuing commitment to values-based, grassroots campaigning, I am confident that we will continue to win because we embrace the value of competition, encouraging talented Democrats to run for office at all levels and because the talent pool from which we draw those candidates is deep. In truth, I believe that more than anything, that deep talent pool is our greatest strength. When we encourage more people to run and embrace the values of primary competition among Democrats, we benefit from the greatest strength we have. When we demand those primaries avoid nasty, personal attacks and when we unify and rally around our nominee post-primary, we are showing voters the BEST of who we are – and they like it. I am also confident because I know we will continue to improve the degree to which we reach into ALL parts of that talent pool for candidates. We can celebrate progress but we must also acknowledge that we can do MUCH better at nominating women and candidates of color to fill our ticket. Our talent pool is diverse as well as deep and I commit myself in my new role as MEMBER of the Democratic State Committee to continuing to open doors for and support candidates who will move us closer to that ideal.
As I look to turn over the gavel to my successor, I do so confident that our party is strong. We are strong financially and strong organizationally. We are strong in spirit and strong in enthusiasm. As we look toward an important election in 2014, we already see our deep talent pool generating many candidates who we can all be proud to carry our banner. And it is important that we are strong because we face a Republican party as committed as ever to reversing our progress. They run down Massachusetts at every opportunity in a manner that would make Mitt Romney proud. When Massachusetts is number one in student achievement, energy conservation, clean energy development, best-in-the-nation in health care access and the services we provide to our veterans and their families, Massachusetts Republicans dismiss it as they promote and celebrate every bump in the road and challenge we face. Republican officials, candidates and shadowy support groups are committed to turning back the clock on a woman’s right to choose – right here in Massachusetts – and they’re determined to demonize the poor and unfortunate and rip away the modest support we provide those who need a hand when they are down. And those who benefit from the massive profits of the oil and coal industries can count on Massachusetts Republicans to front for them as they work to reverse our celebrated march to a clean energy future. Yes – right here in Massachusetts, the Koch Brothers and their allies can count on the Mass GOP like just two days ago when Charlie Baker reaffirmed his opposition to Cape Wind while promising a “New Charlie Baker” by bringing his dog to his opening press conference as if to prove it.
We have lots of work to do and I am confident that next month you will elect an excellent chair to lead us successfully into those fights. In my new role as Executive Director of the Deval Patrick Committee and Together PAC, I won’t be going far and I’ll be ready to lend a hand and accept any task our new Chair asks of me. Thank you for your confidence in me and I look forward to fighting shoulder-to-shoulder in these battles for years to come.
John E Walsh, Chair
Massachusetts Democratic Party