September 13, 2019/Weekly Column

Kate’s Guide to the Convention

Dear Democrats,

Convention! After more years than I care to count I still get excited thinking about it. There’s the chance to see friends and so much else. I think what means the most to me is to spend two days in the company of thousands of people who are passionate about Democratic values. 

The weekly Democratic Dispatch is now published in conjunction with the Massachusetts Democratic Party, but I’m still doing the Convention Issue! I try to get an up to date, complete, yet concise, list of the delegate events on Friday and Saturday. When I first started doing this, on Friday evening people would wave pieces of paper at me and say, “I’ve got my schedule from the Dispatch!” Now they wave smartphones at me!

For more detailed information see the Final Call to Convention. Here’s the link: https://bit.ly/2lPbRFz

Please remember to bring patience and a sense of humor. This is a very large event run by a very small staff and a large number of volunteers. And be patient with people whose views differ from yours. 

Democratically yours,

Kate Donaghue

CREDENTIALS: Credential pick up and problem resolution is 4:30 pm to 7:30 pm on Friday and opens at 7:30 am on Saturday. It will be much quicker to deal with problems on Friday evening, so if you are in Central or WMass, come to Springfield, get your credential and Party with the Party! If you prepaid and did not receive your credential, please bring either your ActBlue receipt or other documentation. If you do not have your credential and are a delegate because you are replacing the chair, bring documentation. If you didn’t pay for whatever reason, I urge you to pay online in advance! If you were waiting to be sure you were going, you can make a credit card payment with ActBlue after you park your car! Just show them your receipt on your smartphone! Link: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/convention2019

FRIDAY SCHEDULE AT A GLANCE

4:30-730pm

Registration at MassMutual Center (Only for those who do not have credentials)

4:30-10pm

White Lion Beer Garden, Tower Square Park, 1477 Main Street

6:00-8pm

Congressman Neal’s Welcoming Reception, Union Station

7:00-9pm

McGovern & Curtatone Reception, Nadim’s Mediterranean, 1390 Main Street

7:30-10pm

Host Committee Welcome Reception, MassMutual

8:00-10pm

Shannon for Senate Reception, Tower Square Hotel Outdoor Deck

8:30-10:30pm

Young Dems Reception, TAP Sports Bar, MGM

8:30pm

Springfield Latino Welcome Reception, Bier Garden, 12600 Main Street

10:00pm

Nightcap Under the Stars, MGM’s Outdoor Courtyard

NOTES: MGM is making a Special Convention Delegate Drink (‘The Blue Wave’) available to any Delegate wearing their Convention Credentials that evening with a keepsake glass!

SATURDAY EVENTS
7:30-9:30am Delegate Breakfast with Senator Ed Markey, Ballroom B/C
7:30-9:30am MTA Delegate Breakfast, Meeting Rooms 1-3
7:30-9:30am Breakfast with the Massachusetts Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, Christ Church Cathedral
3:30-5:30pm Progressive Democrats of Massachusetts After Party, Nadim’s Mediterranean, 1390 Main Street
NOTE: The breakfasts are a lot of fun and a chance to network, but if you want bacon and eggs over easy, plan on a restaurant or eat at home. 

CONVENTION SCHEDULE AT A GLANCE
7:30am Registration Open
8:00am Exhibit Hall Open
10:00am CONVENTION CALLED TO ORDER
Opening ceremonies

Keynotes: Senator Elizabeth Warren talking about big structural change, Senator Ed Markey discussing the Green New Deal and climate change, and Shannon Watts, co-founder of Moms Demand Action talking about gun violence prevention.

The program is expected to run until about 2 pm (but this depends on how everything goes) and breakout sessions will follow. These sessions will occur concurrently after our main program and will conclude by 3:30/4 pm on Saturday.

  • The Green New Deal and a Brighter Future: Taking on Climate Change, Sustainability and Clean Energy 
  • Building Bridges Not Walls: Understanding the Real Facts on Immigration 
  • Time for the Talk: Unpacking Race in Politics 
  • Inclusive Economic Prosperity: Challenges and Opportunities
  • In This Fight Together: Spotlighting the Work of Coalitions and Allies 

NOTES: LOGISTICAL INFORMATION
Shuttle: Springfield has a free shuttle called the Loop, which goes every 40 minutes through downtown Springfield hotels, attractions and will include venues of some of the events. This is run by PVTA and has some added stops for this weekend to accommodate convention goers. 
Parking: All Delegates and Alternates will enter the MassMutual Center through the Main Entrance at the corner of Main Street and Bruce Landon Way. The MassMutual Center has a parking garage located directly across from the building with accessible parking on all levels. A drop-off/pick-up zone is located along Bruce Landon Way. MGM has free parking and meters are free on Saturday. The Call to Convention has a detailed list of parking options: https://bit.ly/2lPbRFz .
Food: No outside food or drink is permitted inside of the Center.  There is typically NOT a scheduled meal break.

TIPS AND INFORMATION FOR DELEGATES
OVERVIEW: On Friday evening there will be parties and opportunities to network.  On Saturday there will be opening ceremonies, keynote speakers, adoption of Party Agenda and more. Check in with the Democratic Party representative, aka “Teller”, in your seating area between 9:00 AM and 11:00 AM.  

BEFORE THE CONVENTION: In the mail you will receive:
– Credentials (paid delegates/alternates only)
– Final Call to Convention: It is a newspaper publication that you should READ and BRING WITH YOU.
 
WHAT TO EXPECT: The Convention is a lot of fun. It is a great way to meet other Democrats from your community, your senate district and across the state. The state has 40 senate districts. Delegates sit within their senate districts. Know the name of your senate district.  It is printed on your credentials. When you arrive at the convention, try to get a FLOOR MAP. It is sometimes posted online in advance. This will show you where each senate district will be sitting. Towns and wards split between two senate districts will be assigned to one of the districts so that communities are seated together. Expect some chit-chat during portions of the program. You’ll get used to it.
 
WHAT TO BRING: Pen or pencil, credentials/photo ID, charged cell phone with portable power pack, reusable empty water bottle, Final Call to Convention, Mini-flashlight  (or use your phone as a flashlight).

CHECK IN PROCEDURE AND ROLL CALL: Ensure your credentials are scanned when you come into the hall. In the hall, you will need to go to the seating area for your senate district and check in with the Democratic Party representative, called a teller. All Delegates can check in with the Senate District Teller one hour prior to the call to the Convention and be marked present. If a roll call is called, the Senate District Teller will read through the Delegate listing to take votes of the Senate District Delegation. 

RESOLUTIONS: See the report of the Resolutions Committee here https://bit.ly/2kCN1IQ

ACCESSIBILITY: The Massachusetts Democratic Party will make good faith efforts to provide reasonable accommodations to all Convention attendees. Delegates and Alternates with disabilities requiring accommodations must contact the State Party at (617) 939-0800 or Convention@massdems.org to discuss their needs prior to the Convention. Should you require assistance upon arriving at the MassMutual Center, please visit the ADA Assistance table, located directly within the Main Entrance.
 
WHAT TO WEAR: Dress is generally casual.  Because of the number of people present it can get quite warm. The AC can be set to quite low prior to the start. Dressing in layers is helpful. Comfortable shoes are a big plus.