Housing For All by 2024 — An End Of Year Virtual Event with Rep. Mike Connolly

Dear Friends, Supporters, Colleagues, and Cambridge and Somerville constituents —

I want to invite you to my end of year virtual event, Housing For All by 2024 — it will take place one week from tonight, Wednesday, December 29, at 6 pm.

Entry to the event is free of charge and welcome to all, but you must register in advance via this Zoom link.

The event will be hosted by my campaign committee and will serve as my end-of-year fundraiser. But I've never been too keen on standard fundraisers, so this is going to include a lot of exciting substance, too.

The plan is for me to do a 15-minute presentation to tell the story of some of what we've accomplished on housing policy over the course of my first two-and-a-half terms on Beacon Hill — from passing the state's largest-ever Housing Bond Bill in 2018, to passing the nation's strongest Eviction and Foreclosure Moratorium in response to the pandemic, to winning fights in our community for graduate student housing and permanently affordable housing, etc. 

From there, I am going to ask the question: What will it take — and what will it look like — if we are to make those familiar words Housing Is A Human Right a reality here in Massachusetts?

This presentation will include a list of near-term goals — such as urgent investments in Low Threshold Housing and wraparound services, right to counsel, Tenant Opportunity To Purchase, eviction sealing, local options for real estate transfer fees, fixes to pending issues with rental assistance programs, investments in public housing, and a lot more.

Next, we'll talk about building the movement to lift the statewide ban on local rent stabilization. Just yesterday, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu announced the formation of an advisory committee on rent stabilization, and on January 11, the legislature's Joint Committee on Housing will hear testimony on the bill I filed with Rep. Nika Elugardo, the Tenant Protection Act, which would allow our city officials to consider options for tenant protections.

Finally, the presentation will offer suggestions for the path to winning guaranteed Housing For All by the end of the year 2024. It will also suggest some key milestones that I hope will help us build on the efforts of so many advocates, organizers, and public servants who are all working so tirelessly to advance housing policy on so many different levels.

After my presentation, we will have remarks from Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone, State Senators Sal DiDomenico, Pat Jehlen, Lydia Edwards, and Jamie Eldridge, State Reps. Nika Elugardo, Christine Barber, Dave Rogers, and Steve Owens, Cambridge City Councilor Quinton Zondervan and Councilor-elect Burhan Azeem, Somerville City Councilor Ben Ewen-Campen and Councilor-elect Willie Burnley, Jr., and Worcester City Councilor-elect Etel Haxhiaj, and local advocates/organizers Nicole EigbrettBeth Huang, Bill Cunningham, and Tracey Pratt.

The list of participants is still in formation, so I am expecting additional officials, advocates and organizers to be added to this list in the coming days — and hopefully, you'll join us and add your voice to the conversation as well!

Please use this link to register in advance for the event, and if you are able, please consider making a contribution to the Committee To Elect Mike Connolly so that I can continue doing this work of bringing people together to build momentum for winning a statewide program of Housing For All.

Please don't hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns — and here's wishing you and your family a very happy and safe holiday season!

Yours in service,

Rep. Mike Connolly


Election Day 2020 — How to vote, how I'm voting, how to volunteer, and why I'm hopeful

It's finally here: Election Day 2020!

Polls are now open across Massachusetts until 8 pm.

You can confirm your polling location here: http://WhereDoIVoteMA.com.

If you already voted by mail, you can look up whether your ballot was accepted via this page: http://TrackmyBallotMA.com.

If your Vote By Mail ballot wasn't accepted, you can still vote in-person today.

If you still need to return a Vote By Mail ballot, it must be postmarked by today.

For surest results, drop your Vote By Mail ballot in an official ballot drop box. Here's a map of Cambridge drop boxes, and here's a map of Somerville drop boxes. The drop boxes are open until 8 pm.

HOW I'M VOTING, HOW TO VOLUNTEER, AND WHY I'M HOPEFUL

Last week I voted by mail via a drop box here in Cambridge. I voted for V.P. Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris, Senator Ed Markey, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, State Senator Sal DiDomenicoYes on Question 1 for Right to Repair, and Yes on Question 2 for Ranked Choice Voting.

As a committed progressive and democratic socialist, I voted for Vice President Biden with clear eyes. I don't think he goes far enough on issues such as the Green New Deal or Medicare For All, and I don't approve of many parts of his record.

That said, I understand that removing Trump from office is the prerequisite for any progress in our nation. Our democracy and our planet cannot endure another four years of having this racist in the White House. Survival depends on removing Trump and his criminal enablers from power.

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Rep. Mike Connolly welcomes Senator Bernie Sanders to Boston Common

Hello Boston!

My name is Mike Connolly, and I have the honor of representing Cambridge and Somerville up there in the Massachusetts State House.

As one of the Co-Chairs of the Massachusetts campaign for Bernie Sanders — I want to welcome you all to Boston Common!

Thank you for being a part of our multiracial, multigenerational, working-class movement to defeat Donald Trump. Together, we will transform our country to make it work for the 99% of us.

Are you as excited as I am to have Bernie Sanders in Boston this afternoon?

Boston is known as the cradle of liberty — the birthplace of the American revolution. And three days from now, on Super Tuesday — we are going to go to the polls to make the political revolution a reality here in Massachusetts!

Boston Common is known as the world‘s first public urban park. This Common has hosted revolutionaries from John Adams to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. — so it’s very fitting that we gather here today in support of Senator Sanders, for Bernie is both a revolutionary leader and a true champion for public good.

Bernie is fighting for guaranteed housing for all. Bernie will cut the military budget so we can afford to invest in public transportation (like the Green Line). Bernie is standing up for public education — for free public college and university and for the cancellation of all student debt. Bernie will fight for a federal jobs program and a Green New Deal. And last, but not least, when we win this election, we will fight with Bernie to implement Medicare for All.

My commitment to Bernie's agenda — and my commitment to this movement — stems from my personal background.

I was raised in public housing in Norwood, Massachusetts. I spent time in foster care as a kid and benefited from government programs like Head Start. As I grew up, I came to believe that government would play a central role in helping all those who are on the margins of society. 

But like many of you, as I got a little older and as I lived through the Great Recession — and I watched as the Wall Street banks got bailed out but the foreclosure crisis and the homelessness emergency continued to get worse — I started to doubt whether those ideals that I grew up believing in were really possible. I started to wonder — maybe I’m too naive? Maybe I’m a little too optimistic...

I distinctly remember the day when all that changed.

It was October 4, 2015, when I went down to the Boston Convention and Exposition Center, and I walked into a room with 21,000 people there for Bernie Sanders. And perhaps the most impressive part of that evening was how there were another 4,000 people standing outside in the rain because they couldn't even get in the room. Senator Sanders spoke to us in that room for about an hour that evening — and then he went out into the rain and gave another speech to those people...

And it was in that moment that I became convinced that real change is possible. Not because of the words of any one individual politician — but because of our collective power as a movement.

That evening changed my life. I decided to run for State Representative — I was endorsed by Our Revolution and the Democratic Socialist of America — and with the help of hundreds of volunteers in my community, I was able to take on the local political establishment and win.

Now I’m working up there in the Massachusetts State House and in a few minutes you’ll hear from one of my colleagues and fellow Bernie co-chairs, State Representative Nika Elugardo. Rep Elugardo and I are advancing legislation called the Tenant Protection Act, which would lift the statewide ban on rent control. 

And that's what this is all about — it’s not about one individual voice. It’s about us coming together to change the system. 

In conclusion, I just want to say that from the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, to the movements for a Green New Deal and Housing for All in this decade, Senator Bernie Sanders has always been on the front lines of the fight for social justice in this country. And this is precisely what makes him the candidate best positioned to defeat Donald Trump in November.

Super Tuesday is the most important day of the Democratic primary process. So when Bernie’s done speaking today, I'm going back to Cambridge to knock on doors and to Get Out The Vote for Bernie Sanders! And tomorrow, I’ll be in Somerville knocking on doors for Bernie Sanders! And if everyone who is in this audience joins me — and if we all knock on doors, make phone calls, and send text messages, we will win the Massachusetts primary for Bernie Sanders!

Not Me, Us. Not Me, Us. Not Me, Us. Not Me, Us. Not Me, Us. Thank you.

Photo by Phyllis Bretholtz.


Rep. Connolly earns an A+ on NARAL's 2017-2018 Reproductive Freedom Scorecard

Representative Mike Connolly was recently named a "Pro-Choice Champion" for the 2017-2018 legislative session by NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, the political leader of the state's pro-choice movement.

Last month, NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts released a detailed scoring document that considered actions such as lead sponsorship, co-sponsorship, roll call votes, and leadership efforts to advance legislation supporting reproductive freedom in the Bay State. Rep. Connolly earned the highest possible grade (A+) on the scorecard; he joins a group of 26 Representatives (out of a total of 160 Representatives statewide) to earn the highest possible grade for the 2017-2018 legislative session.

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Rep. Connolly kicks off 2018 re-election campaign!

Friends and supporters gathered at PA's Lounge in Somerville's Union Square on Monday to help first-term State Representative Mike Connolly kick-off his 2018 re-election campaign.  

More than 100 local supporters showed up to enjoy Middle Eastern food and to hear from some of the most exciting and promising new voices in local government and in progressive politics, including Boston City Councillor Lydia Edwards, Somerville Alderman JT Scott, and Cambridge activist/organizer Beth Huang. Also included among the attendees was U.S. Congressman Mike Capuano, State Senator Pat Jehlen, State Representative Denise Provost, State Representative Christine Barber, South Middlesex County Register of Deeds Maria Curtatone, and Somerville Aldermen Matt McLaughlin, Ben Ewen-Campen, Jesse Clingan, Stephanie Hirsch, and Bill White, as well as former Cambridge City Councillor Nadeem Mazen.

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Supporters turn out in droves to celebrate Rep. Connolly's first year in office

Nearly 200 supporters showed up for State Representative Mike Connolly's Winter Celebration and Fundraiser at Sonia in Central Square on Monday evening.

The event featured remarks by State Senator Pat Jehlen, State Representative Jay Livingstone, Cambridge City Councilor-elect Sumbul Siddiqui (pictured below, with emcees Nancy Ryan and Frank Gerratana), and Harvard Law professor and political reformer Lawrence Lessig.

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Senator Pat Jehlen spoke about Rep. Connolly's strong constituent services; she told a story about how he was able to help resolve a situation for the seniors at Cobble Hill Apartments in East Somerville when their elevator needed an expedited inspection. She went on to highlight the fact that Rep. Connolly secured funding in the FY2018 state budget (and in a recent bond bill) to help mitigate I-93 air pollution.

Video from Senator Jehlen's speech is available here

Rep. Jay Livingstone spoke about how Rep. Connolly has been an active colleague in the House Progressive Caucus, working with other legislators to deliver results for constituents. He also talked about how Mike has been willing to file bold legislation, even when powerful interests are lined up on the other side. 

Councillor-elect Sumbul Siddiqui spoke about how she played a role on Mike's campaign last year as an active and early volunteer, and how in turn, Mike supported her and other municipal candidates in the city elections this year. 

And finally, Professor Lawrence Lessig delivered inspiring remarks about the need to get big money out of politics. He made the point that people on the Left and people on the Right are frustrated and disillusioned by the corrupting influence of money in politics, and how grassroots efforts help offer a way forward.

A clip from Lawrence Lessig's speech is available here.

The event was also attended by State Representative Denise Provost, State Senator Jamie Eldridge, Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone, Cambridge City Councillor Jan Devereux, Secretary of the Commonwealth Bill Galvin, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan, Middlesex Registrar of Deeds Maria Curtatone, Democratic State Committee member and Democratic National Committee Woman Kate Donaghue, Cambridge School Committee Members Patty Nolan and Emily Dexter, former Cambridge City Councillor Minka vanBeuzekom, Somerville School Committee Member-elect Emily Ackman, Cambridge City Councillor-elect Quinton Zondervan, Somerville Aldermen-elect Will Mbah, Jesse Clingan, and Ben Ewen-Campen, Candidate for Governor Bob Massie, and recent Cambridge City Council candidate Vatsady Sivongxay.

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The Next Four Years

On December 3, I had the honor of speaking at The Next Four Years: Building Our Movements In Dangerous Times, an all-day conference organized by Massachusetts Peace Action. Our goal was to identify opportunities for organizing in the wake of this year's presidential election, in what has become an increasingly undemocratic, hawkish and xenophobic environment.

With hundreds of activists in attendance at Simmons College — and a diverse group of powerful speakers followed by interactive working group sessions — it was an inspiring experience for everyone involved.

I was asked to be the first speaker on the opening Issues Panel. Our discussion covered a range of topics, including racial justice, climate justice, economic justice, political reform, and peace. The video is posted above. Also featured are Joseph Gerson of the American Friends Service Committee, Emily Kirkland of 350.org Massachusetts, Elena Letona of Neighbor to Neighbor Massachusetts, and Rev. Paul Robeson Ford of the Union Baptist Church in Cambridge.

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Help our neighbors displaced by the fire

A 10-alarm fire ripped through the Wellington-Harrington neighborhood in the vicinity of Berkshire, Plymouth, and York Streets yesterday — affecting some fifteen buildings and displacing over 100 of our neighbors from their homes. Among the displaced are more than 60 affordable housing tenants at the former St. Patrick's Church.

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I was speaking at the Massachusetts Peace Action conference at Simmons College when my wife texted a photo from our street (seen here), showing a giant flame and an enormous plume of smoke at the other end of Donnelly Field. I quickly left the conference and made my way to the scene and spent the rest of the evening with other city officials and victims of the disaster at the War Memorial Center.

It was the largest fire in Cambridge since the 1980s. According to Chief Gerald Reardon, it was miraculous that there wasn't any loss of life. 

We are grateful for the incredible response from the Cambridge Fire Department, Cambridge Police Department, Somerville Fire Department, American Red Cross of Massachusetts, City of Cambridge staff, administrators, and officials, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, and all of the other fire crews that were called in from around the region. It was a remarkable demonstration of courage, coordination, and professionalism by hundreds of first-responders in what was described by Chief Reardon as a "war zone."

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Thank you + our next steps

15036456_10101949217209897_2428999488426094693_n.jpgThank you to the 15,714 people who voted in Tuesday's election to make me the next State Representative for the 26th Middlesex District. It is an honor to be able to serve the public and the neighborhoods I love here in Cambridge and Somerville.

I want to say thank you to my wife Kacy and to the hundreds of friends, supporters, activists, organizations, staff and volunteers who all worked together to help make our people-powered campaign such a big success this year. Thanks as well to everyone who continued working for our successful No On 2 and Yes On 4 campaigns.

That said, these victories are overshadowed by the outcome of the presidential and congressional elections. For my part, I will remain committed as an activist and ally in my opposition to the racism, misogyny, xenophobia, ignorance, abusiveness, and hatred that has largely characterized the Trump campaign. His ascension to the presidency makes the work we are doing on the state-level and in our community all the more important.

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Endorsed by Massachusetts Nurses Association

MNA_logo_.pngThe Massachusetts Nurses Association is proud to announce its endorsement of Democrat Mike Connolly for State Representative in the 26th Middlesex District of Cambridge and Somerville. Election Day is Tuesday, November 8.

"Mike Connolly represents a new generation of leaders bringing fresh ideas to the State House," said Donna Kelly-Williams, Massachusetts Nurses Association President. "I am especially excited about his strong support of single-payer healthcare and his commitment to ensure safe staffing limits in all hospitals in Massachusetts. Mike will be a hard worker on Beacon Hill and the MNA is very pleased to support him," Kelly-Williams added.

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