Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Coalition of local organizations hosts ‘Take Back the House’ rally in upcoming midterms

‘This is the moment we can stop the madness,’ said Congressman Jim McGovern
(Collegian file photo)

On Saturday at 1 p.m., Pioneer Valley activists and citizens gathered at the Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School in Northampton for the “Take Back the House Summit.”

The summit was hosted by a number of local organizations including the Democratic Town Committees of Amherst, Northampton, Hadley and other surrounding towns as well as activist organizations including the Pioneer Valley Women’s March and the Sojourner Truth School for Social Change Leadership.

The summit included speeches from local activists and political strategists, but the main event was a speech from Congressman Jim McGovern, who represents Massachusetts’ 2nd district. McGovern was greeted by a standing ovation from the audience and was described by Elizabeth Silver, the chair of the Northampton Democratic Committee as “the most progressive person in the House.”

The summit was partly a campaign rally for McGovern, who, along with the other eight Massachusetts representatives, is up for re-election in November. Silver said there were two things Democrats needed to do.

“We need to flip all those red seats,” Silver said. “The other part is preserving the blue seats we already have.”

“We need to protect Congressman McGovern,” she added.

In his speech, McGovern talked about the damage he thinks the Trump administration has done to the country and the importance of the upcoming midterms in stopping “Trumpian policies” that he deems harmful to the country.

“Never in my life have I ever been more concerned about this country,” McGovern said.

McGovern referred to Trump as “an embarrassment” and said the President was “erratic and dangerous.” He stressed the importance of the upcoming midterms in stopping the Trump administration’s “racist and misogynistic” policies and actions.

“We are going to take back the house, and we are going to take back our country,” McGovern said.

Other speakers echoed McGovern’s sentiments. Dylan Wiley, a member of Swing Left, one of the organizations that hosted the summit, said the ultimate goal is to flip the 24 seats needed to have a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives.

“Taking back the House is the best way to stop the Trump agenda,” Wiley said.

Speakers like Wiley and McGovern urged people to campaign for Democrats in highly contested districts outside of Massachusetts in order to “take back the House.” The summit was attended by Dustin Reidy, an activist from New York’s 19th district, which borders Massachusetts, and Tova Yampolsky, campaign director for U.S. Rep. Ann Kuster who represents New Hampshire’s 2nd district. Both urged Valley residents to campaign in both districts and stressed the impact political action can have even in places you don’t live.

Motivating and teaching people how to be politically active and campaign successfully was a large part of the summit and after speeches from McGovern, Wiley, Reidy and Yampolsky, audience members broke into small groups to discuss and learn campaign strategies. These included workshops on how to set up phone banks to call potential voters and how to campaign with postcards.

Northampton resident Denise Goitia, who is an associate clinician at the University of Massachusetts’ Center for Counseling and Psychological Health, said she attended the summit to learn more about the political process and the Democratic party.

“I have never been that politically active,” said Goitia. “I came to learn about how to make an impact.”

Goitia also said she came to learn more about her representation in Congress.

“I don’t know much about Jim McGovern, I would like to learn a little bit more about my representatives,” she said.

Even though Americans won’t hit the polls for the midterms until Nov. 6, the summit shows that Democratic strategists are already pushing to flip the House.

McGovern said the upcoming midterms are the most important round of elections in his life and said an all-Democratic Congress in instrumental in stopping the Trump administration.

“This is the moment we can stop this madness,” McGovern said. “I fear if we don’t stop it, the damage will be irreversible.”

Mack Cooper can be reached at [email protected].

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    NITZAKHONApr 12, 2018 at 12:07 pm

    “Madness” = Trump standing in front of Socialism and saying STOP.

    Why don’t you go live in Venezuela for a year. I hear they’re all out of exotic meats like tiger and elephant – the zoo animals already having been eaten – but rat’s popular…