TOWNSEND -- The time has once again come for Townsend democrats to elect delegates to attend the annual democratic convention.
Delegates will be elected at the annual caucus on Feb. 9 at 10 a.m. in Town Hall. All registered Townsend democrats can attend and nominate themselves for an opportunity to be a delegate. They will need to bring photo identification. They also need to have been registered by Dec. 31.
Attendees will vote for three delegates to attend the convention and three alternates. The positions are divided equally between men and women. The chairman of the Townsend Democrats is also automatically invited to attend the convention.
The purposes and locations for the convention change every year, said Franck. This year, the event will be held on June 1 at the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell. Delegates will debate and approve a new platform for the Massachusetts democratic party. The platform convention is held after every presidential election.
"Essentially, the democrats that show up to represent Townsend will have a say in what the party platform looks like for the next four years," said Kevin Franck, communications director for Mass Democrats.
In December, Newton Mayor Setti Warren, who was voted chairman of the Platform Drafting Committee, announced its members. The committee will be writing and proposing a platform based on the feedback they receive from the public hearings.
The 40 members are divided into several subcommittees: Education, health care and human services, labor, economic growth, energy and environment, transportation and infrastructure, public safety and crime prevention, revenue and expenditures, ethics and transparency, justice and civil rights, voting and democracy, and business and entrepreneurship.
As the caucuses take place throughout the next month, members of the party will be holding several hearings to receive input from voters about what the platform will be. Any registered democrat can hold a hearing or make suggestions to the Platform Drafting Committee. Hearings can be registered online and feedback on the platform can be submitted at massdems.org.
Last year, 552 caucuses took place around the state, with a total of 3,557 delegates attending the convention in Springfield. The allotment of delegates per town is devised by a formula that takes into account the population, number of registered democrats and the voting performance.
The caucus itself is a short procedure, said Max MacPhee, treasurer of the Townsend Democrats. The real event is the convention in June.
"If someone hasn't gone, just the experience of going to a convention is very interesting," said MacPhee. "You meet very influential people. It's a very fun atmosphere. Everyone I met was very excited to be there and excited to talk about what the state of the commonwealth was and what ideas they had going forward."
In addition to discussing the platform, speeches may occur at the discretion of the chairman.
"Any candidates running for (Senator) Kerry's seat may ask to speak," said Franck.
From there, the voting will commence. Delegates can vote to approve, amend or reject the proposal brought forth.
The ultimate purpose of the convention, said Franck, is to work from the grassroots up.
"(The convention) has to start from conversations in the communities about what's important to them," said Franck. "It really represents what Mass democrats as a whole believe and what they think we should be fighting for."
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