Welcome to Progressive Newton!

Progressive Newton LogoProgressive Newton is a chapter of Progressive Massachusetts, a statewide, diverse grassroots organization mobilizing around progressive issues. Our primary mission is to advance Progressive Massachusetts’s state-level program; our current priorities are the three Raise Up Massachusetts campaigns (Paid Family Medical Leave, Fight for $15 minimum wage, and the Fair Share Amendment), the Safe Communities Act, and criminal justice reform. We also organize around local issues and, on occasion, support strong progressive candidates at the local level. If you’re a progressive, and you live in Newton, Massachusetts, join us!

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Progressive Newton Endorsements!!

To all Newton Voters,

We are excited to announce that Progressive Newton has endorsed eleven excellent candidates in contested local races this Fall.

All of Newton can vote for these candidates:

Newton City Council (At-Large)

Nicole Castillo, Ward 1
Alison Leary, Ward 1
Susan Albright, Ward 2
Andrea Kelley, Ward 3
Deb Crossley, Ward 5
Andreae Downs, Ward 5

Newton School Committee

Bridget Ray-Canada, Ward 1
Matthew Miller, Ward 8

Residents of the candidates’ wards also can vote for these candidates:

Newton City Council (Ward-Only Seats)

Maria Scibelli Greenberg, Ward 1
Allison Sharma (Write-In), Ward 4
Brenda Noel, Ward 6

Based on these candidates’ responses to our questionnaire and the entirety of their public record, our Endorsements Committee is confident that these candidates share our most deeply held values and are the best candidates to move Newton forward in a positive direction. Our membership agreed, ratifying each of the Endorsement Committee’ recommendations with over 60 percent of the vote.

Newton is fortunate to have so many talented and progressive residents willing to serve in public office.

We urge you to look for these candidates around town, and to vote for them on Tuesday, November 7th. They will serve Newton well.

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Newton Candidates Questionnaires 2017

Progressive Newton is excited to announce its 2017 candidate endorsement process.

A few weeks ago, all candidates for local office in Newton were sent a survey on issues of local and state importance.  Below are the ones we have received so far.  We expect to add a few more over this next week.

Based on these surveys and the recommendation of our endorsement committee, we’ll be asking our members to see which candidates you want to see us endorse.

In order to participate in the endorsement vote, all you need to do is be progressive, live in Newton, and to be an active member of Progressive Newton / Progressive Massachusetts by Monday, September 4th!

Click here to join:



Newton Mayoral Candidates

2017 Mayor Al Cecchinelli

2017 Mayor Ruthanne Fuller

2017 Mayor Scott Lennon

2017 Mayor Amy Sangiolo

Newton City Council Candidates

Ward One At-Large Council 

2017-CC W1 AL Nicole Castillo

2017-CC W1 AL Alison Leary

Ward One Council

2017-CC W1 Ward Maria Greenberg

Ward Two At-Large Council

2017-CC W2 AL Susan Albright

2017-CC W2 AL Jake Auchincloss

Ward Three At-Large Council

2017-CC W3 AL Andrea Kelley

2017-CC W3 AL Julia Malakie

Ward Four At-Large Council

2017-CC W4 AL Josh Krintzman

Ward Four Council

2017-CC W4 Chris Markiewicz

2017 CC W4 Allison Sharma

Ward Five At-Large Council

2017-CC W5 AL Deb Crossley

2017-CC W5 AL Andreae Downs

2017-CC W5 AL Brian Yates

Ward Six City Council

2017-CC W6 Ward Brenda Noel

Ward Seven At-Large Council

2017-CC W7 AL Becky Walker Grossman

Ward Eight At-Large Council

2017-CC W8 AL David Kalis

2017-CC W8 AL Rick Lipof

Ward Eight Council

2017-CC W8 Cheryl Lappin


Newton School Committee Candidates

Ward One

2017-SC W1 Bridget Ray-Canada

2017-SC W1 Kathy Marchi

Ward Two

2017-SC W2 Margaret Albright

2017-SC W2 Cyrus Vaghar

Ward Three

2017-SC W3 Eileen Sandberg

2017-SC W3 Anping Shen

Ward Four

Ward Five

Ward Six

2017-SC W6 Ruth Goldman

Ward Seven

2017-SC W7 Kathy Shields

Ward Eight

2017-SC W8 Matthew Miller

2017-SC W8 Gail Spector



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A July 4th Update from Progressive Newton!

Happy Fourth of July from Progressive Newton!

We’ve had a busy couple of months. Progressive Newton volunteers were right back out there collecting signatures for the second round of Raise Up Massachusetts’s drive to put a minimum increase and earned sick time for all Massachusetts workers on the November ballot.  In the fall we collected over 4,000 signatures in nine weeks. This spring, between May 10 and June 18, we collected about 1,000 additional signatures. Thanks to all the volunteers and, of course, to all the voters who signed our initiative petitions.

We were pleased to see the state legislature pass an $11 minimum wage, the highest state minimum wage in the nation. This increase was motivated in large part by the hard work of the Raise Up MA coalition, collecting signatures to put a minimum wage increase on the ballot and meeting with legislators to discuss the issue. In the long term, we will continue to fight to index the minimum wage to inflation and to provide a higher base wage for tipped workers, two elements that were lacking in the final bill signed this week by Governor Patrick.

In the short term, however, we’re working to ensure the Earned Sick Time ballot question passes. As in the fall, Raise Up MA collected far more valid signatures than needed and the question is going to the ballot! We’ll be taking the case to our friends and neighbors that Massachusetts should follow Connecticut’s lead on this key issue, championed in the House by Newton’s own Rep. Kay Khan.

The ballot question will allow employees to accrue sick time based on hours worked, up to a maximum of five days per year. This modest measure is designed to ensure that nearly one million Massachusetts workers no longer will have to risk being fired if they are sick, or if they need to care for a sick child.

In the midst of all that activity, nine of our steering committee members were delegates to the Massachusetts Democratic Convention held in Worcester on June 14, and many of us are engaged in campaign-related activities.

It’s not all work, though: two weekends ago a group of us gathered at Neysha and Robert’s house to celebrate our Raise Up MA success and making it through the convention. Soon we’ll meet again to plan our activities in support of the Earned Sick Time initiative and discuss what other issues we want to turn to next.

As always, if you’re a progressive in Newton who’d like to help make Massachusetts better, we want you on board! Just call (617) 340-9527 or email progressivenewton@gmail.com.

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Progressive Newton begins 2nd Round of Raise Up MA Signature Gathering this Saturday, May 10th!!

Progressive Newton is gearing up for Round Two of signature gathering for the Raise Up Massachusetts campaign. On April 30 we had a great crowd at Neysha and Robert’s house for our strategy meeting, led by Progressive Massachusetts’s Executive Director, Ben Wright. Our group committed to collecting 1,000 signatures between May 10 and June 18 to get the minimum wage and earned sick leave initiatives on the ballot this November. People had a lot of great ideas about the best ways to reach that goal, and particularly – because repeat signers aren’t allowed – how most efficiently to reach voters who didn’t sign the petitions last fall.

We’re excited to kick off this newest signature drive this Saturday, from 2 to 4 p.m. outside the Starbucks near Centre and Beacon Streets in Newton Center. Over the next five weeks we’ll be all over Newton, and beyond, as we help complete the last task needed to bring these two critically important questions before the voters of Massachusetts. We’ll also be keeping an eye on what’s happening in the Massachusetts legislature, and identifying the next issues on which we’ll focus once signature gathering is finished.

As always, we’d be thrilled to have your help! If you’re interested in collecting petition signatures to raise the minimum wage and provide earned sick leave for a million Massachusetts workers, contact us at (617) 340-9527 or progressivenewton@gmail.com.

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Massachusetts Budget4All Tax Day Events: A Recap by Daniel Habtemariam

Progressive Newton was in attendance on Saturday as activists and
 organizers from around the Commonwealth convened in Boston for a Tax
 Day rally and forum in support of the Budget for All.

 The theme of the day was, “We pay our taxes. Are we getting what we need?

 The day featured a broad array of speakers from political, social, and
 faith-based groups that each highlighted the inequities inherent in a
 tax code rigged to favor the privileged and the powerful and the
 consequences of an American budget increasingly being pushed to favor
 militarism and devalue social and societal needs.

Protesters began the day outside Bank of America, denouncing it for
 paying no federal taxes in 2013, a practice made possible by loopholes
 carved out in tax law for companies like Bank of America, General
Electric, and Exxon Mobil, which are among the largest and most
profitable companies in the world.  The crowd was vibrant and with
 banners and posters flying high drew the attention of hundreds of
 passersby and elicited more than a few honks and waves from members of
 the public.

 In the afternoon, the group marched to a nearby church and held a
 forum to hear from community and political leaders about how we got to
 this point and what we can do about it.  Speakers ranged from Senator
 Elizabeth Warren (by video) to Grace Ross from the National Alliance
 of HUD Tenants to the venerable civil rights activist and former state
 representative Mel King to freshman Congresswoman Katherine Clark.  A
 framework for action included a diverse set of initiatives, including
 immediate measures like collecting signatures for the Raise Up
 Massachusetts minimum wage and earned sick time ballot initiatives, as
 championed by Harris Gruman of the SEIU’s State Political Director, to medium-term
 measures like lobbying the six Massachusetts congressmen who voted NO
 to the Congressional Progressive Caucus’ Better Off Budget last week,
 as championed by Michael Kane, to more long-term initiatives like
 proposals to wipe out childhood poverty in Massachusetts, as
 championed by gubernatorial candidate Don Berwick.

 Progressive Newton is no stranger to the Raise Up Massachusetts ballot
 initiatives, as it helped to collect thousands of signatures in the
 first round of petitioning last fall.  The day ended with thanks from
 the organizers, and the crowd disbursed with a renewed vision for the
 future of our society and an enriched understanding of the
 trickle-down consequences of a budget that favors the few.

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An Update and Dates for 2nd Round of Petition Gathering

4/8/14   Since my last entry Progressive Newton followed closely as the House of Representatives inched toward passing a minimum wage bill. On March 26, two of us went to Beacon Hill for the Raise Up Massachusetts lobbying day. We were inspired to see the fired-up-and-ready crowd of almost 500 people packed into the Church on the Hill before we headed across the street to visit Representatives Ruth Balser, Kay Khan, and John Lawn.

Two days later, a number of us in Newton urged our representatives to support Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier’s amendment to improve the tipped minimum wage provisions in the House bill. We were excited to see all three of our representatives among the 40 the Raise Up Mass. coalition persuaded to co-sponsor the amendment. Unfortunately, during floor debate on April 2 that amendment and one to index the minimum wage to inflation were withdrawn, seeming unlikely to pass.

But we did get a minimum wage of $10.50 to pass the House, and without the unemployment insurance benefit cuts we’d feared. As the House and Senate wrangle over their dueling bills, we’ll continue to make our voices heard to get the best minimum wage bill possible. And, as a fallback, we’ll be out collecting signatures again between May 10 and June 14 (mark your calendars!) to bring that issue and the earned sick leave initiative to the November ballot.

Newton also sent folks up to the 5th Middlesex Senate district on April 1, where Progressive Massachusetts’s fantastic endorsee, Rep. Jason Lewis, won a special election to replace Katherine Clark in the State Senate. A big win for all of us.

Most recently, on April 6, several of our members attended the Progressive Mass. policy conference in Worcester. It was a great day, hearing from a wide range of inspiring and informative speakers, connecting with committed progressives from across Massachusetts, and asking the gubernatorial candidates tough questions. Everyone involved should be proud.

We’re planning to meet as a group soon to discuss our continued work for Raise Up Mass. and other projects we’d like to tackle. If you’re a progressive in Newton who’d like to help make Massachusetts better, we want you on board! Just contact us at (617) 340-9527 or progressivenewton@gmail.com.

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Showing of “Inequality for All” Draws Crowd in Wellesley


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Progressive Newton has been busy in the early months of 2014! An Update from Robert Fitzpatrick.

Progressive Newton has been busy in the early months of 2014!

Last fall nearly 100 organizations in the Raise Up Massachusetts coalition collected 285,000 signatures statewide to put raising the minimum wage and earned sick time on the 2014 ballot. Progressive Massachusetts volunteers collected over 17,000 of those signatures – over 4,000 by our Newton team!

Thanks to those efforts, the Senate passed a strong minimum wage bill in November. All eyes turned to the House, where Speaker Robert DeLeo indicated he wanted to combine the minimum wage bill with changes to the Commonwealth’s unemployment insurance system. Some of the proposed changes, long sought by business groups, would make it harder to qualify for unemployment or decrease the length of time an unemployed worker could collect benefits. We oppose those changes: you shouldn’t “raise up” low-wage workers by taking from those who have no wages at all.

We’ve met with Rep. Kay Khan, Rep. Ruth Balser, and Rep. John Lawn to remind them of what’s at stake and the challenges faced by minimum-wage workers trying to get by in our expensive state. For several months now we’ve also been holding regular phonebanks to educate voters about the Speaker’s plans. The public has been enormously receptive and our little group has connected dozens of people with their representatives to express this simple message: Raise the minimum wage, leave unemployment alone!

Our efforts are working: this week Speaker DeLeo outlined a House proposal that does not cut unemployment benefits. It’s a lot closer to our position than originally feared, but it’s not quite close enough:

  • Unlike the Senate bill, it does not index the minimum wage to inflation. That means low-wage income workers will see their purchasing power eroded over time, and we’ll have to fight regularly for future minimum wage increases.
  • It raises the minimum wage for tipped workers (which has been a paltry $2.63 since 1999!) to only $3.75, far below the $5.50 in the Senate bill or the $6.30 in our ballot question. With a base wage of $3.75, the average tipped worker in Massachusetts will still earn only $10 an hour – less than the proposed new minimum wage.

In the coming weeks we’ll be making our voices heard again to improve the House bill. And then during conference committee, as the Senate and House merge their two different bills into one. If it’s still not good enough, we’re ready to go to the ballot just as we’re planning to do with the earned sick leave initiative.

As the Raise Up Massachusetts campaign continues, we’re also discussing our next projects, including the important 2014 elections and Progressive Massachusetts’s broader agenda for a fair economy. We’re also excited about the Progressive Massachusetts’ 2nd Annual  Policy Conference. on April 6 and seeing Robert Reich’s film Inequality for All with our friends in Needham and Wellesley on March 22.

If you’re a progressive in Newton who’d like to help make Massachusetts better, we want you on board! Just contact us at (617) 340-9527 or progressivenewton@gmail.com.

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