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JP Progressives Endorsements: Vote ‘Yes’ on Ballot Questions, Elugardo

JP Progressives has joined activists across the country in making thousands of calls encouraging voters in swing districts to flip the House to the Democratic Party. Here in Jamaica Plain, members have been canvassing for our endorsed candidates like Elizabeth Warren, Maura Healey, Ayanna Pressley, Sonia Chang Diaz, Liz Malia, Nika Elugardo and Rachael Rollins. We are also writing in Katie Forde for Registry of Deeds.

JPP Progressives

This part of our slate represents a movement of women, many of whom, as Ayanna eloquently stated, have moved from fighting to show their voices matter to showing their leadership matters. We agree, and for this reason, it is important that voters show up in large numbers to demonstrate overwhelming support for these leaders.

The most contested vote is in the gubernatorial race, and Jay Gonzalez deserves JP’s vote for Governor. One needs to only ride the Orange Line to know that Charlie Baker’s solutions are too small for the big investments we need to make and the progressive revenue we need to raise to afford them. Governor Baker has endorsed Geoff Diehl for Senate, who led the Trump campaign in Massachusetts. Baker can’t have it both ways, he either stands against Trump and with the citizens of MA or he doesn’t.

Baker can’t have it both ways, he either stands against Trump and with the citizens of MA or he doesn’t.

More than just candidates will be on the ballot in November. In the lead up to the general election and JP Progressive members voted to endorse YES on all three Ballot initiatives.

One particularly important vote is YES on Question #3, a referendum on whether to keep anti-discrimination protections for transgender people in state law. To combat conservative groups trying to repeal legal equality for transgender residents, it is important to vote YES on #3 to keep hate out of the Bay State. JP Progressives endorses YES on #3 so Jamaica Plain can continue our leadership for equality for all of our LGBTQ+ community. As with many ballot questions, this is confusingly worded — a YES will reaffirm the protections currently in place.

In addition, JP Progressives members voted overwhelmingly to endorse YES on Question #2. A YES on Question #2 would create a Citizens’ Commission to advance an amendment to the US Constitution limiting corporate and moneyed power in elections. While this is just one of many steps to take control of our political system from moneyed interests, if we want to see significant progress on the critical issues that our country faces, this is a place to start. The ballot initiative also includes reporting on the impact of political spending and “dark money” in Massachusetts and developing a strategy at the state and federal level to propose and ultimately pass an amendment to the Constitution.

Finally, the most controversial question has been Question #1. Over 60% of JP Progressives’ voting members voted to support YES on Question #1 to set limits on nurse to patient ratios. The remainder of our members were split between a no vote and making no endorsement. We know there are very strong feelings on both sides as well as uncertainty on the costs and implementation of this question. Many members shared their reasons for voting, which included firsthand experiences, concerns about the amount of money spent on the campaign, and frustrations with disinformation peddled in advertisements like the claim that hospitals would be forced to turn away patients. While there was a feeling that the ballot question was imperfectly worded, there was greater concern about continuing to do nothing on this issue after twenty years of failed negotiations with hospitals. Some members pointed out that the ballot initiative is just one step in a larger process, and that elected officials and regulatory agencies would be responsible for the details of implementation to address outstanding issues. Here are a few comments from members who voted to support YES on #1:

“40 years as a RN, almost all in an ICU setting. The past few years with mandated nurse patient ratios have made things so much safer for the patients in the ICUs, but not on the floors.”

“I have 40 years of nursing (RN) experience in pediatrics and pedi ICU settings. I know that setting nurse patient ratios keeps patients safe. This is a no brainer and I am horrified at the false information being spread by hospitals and administrators.”

“Might not be the perfect answer but if question one fails nothing will be done to relieve the dangerous overworking of nurses.”

“The legislature can fix the small problems with question 1, as it is written.”

In researching Question #1, the JPP Steering Committee first looked at the underlying power structure behind this issue, who is spending money on the campaign and their track records of supporting progressive causes, and where allies are lining up. This question was initiated by the Coalition to Ensure Safe Patient Care and the Massachusetts Nurses Association, the statewide union that represents frontline nurses who provide direct patient care in many Massachusetts hospitals, and came about after many years of failed efforts to come to an agreement with the hospitals through direct negotiations or legislation. The ballot question pits the Massachusetts Nurses Association against the Massachusetts Hospital Association, the Community Hospital Association, Doctor’s Associations, and nursing and hospital executives. 95% of the money behind the NO campaign is coming from hospitals and its industry organization, the Massachusetts Hospital Association. While there are policy arguments on both sides, these considerations about political power support a YES vote on Question #1.

As a reminder, the JP Progressives endorsement process starts with gathering information, holding discussions with our members, and then sending out a steering committee recommendation to the voting members of JPP who make the final decision with their votes. A successful endorsement requires 60% of voting members to support the position or candidate. To become a voting member, attend three of our events or volunteer with us once and your vote will be counted our endorsements.

The result of this process is that the JP Progressives Steering Committee and its members endorse YES on #1, #2, and #3. As always, we encourage our members to do their own research and vote their progressive values on the ballot initiatives, and we hope the information provided is of service in your final decision. We welcome your feedback on any of these decisions at our meetings or at