This came up in a different thread but with the event happening tomorrow (Thursday) night I thought it was worth creating its own discussion.
On Thursday, the Newton Democratic City Committee is sponsoring a forum featuring the candidates running for mayor who are registered Democrats…except that they aren’t.
Here’s from a comment posted earlier today from registered Democrat and candidate Eli Katzoff…
..I am registered as a Democrat and running as one, and have always voted Democrat.
One of the reasons I chose to run for mayor was that I felt it was important to step up and add a new young voice to this race and bring fresh ideas to the table. This is what the national Democratic party has been vigorously urging, especially since the 2016 election: that young people and those formerly outside the political system get involved.
Unfortunately, however, the Newton Democratic City Committee wrote me to inform me that I was not invited to participate in the Democratic mayoral forum on August 24 at City Hall with the other 3 Democratic candidates. The ostensible reason was that I didn’t formerly register as a Democrat until July. The July 1st date is an arbitrary date that was chosen retroactively and doesn’t exist as a requirement for running as a member of the Democratic Party or as mayor. Although I wrote them expressing my disappointment and dismay and asking them to reconsider, citing the importance of getting new young voices involved, they did not change their position.
I admire and respect the other 3 Democratic candidates and have nothing personal against them. However, it seems clear to me that the reason the city’s Democratic officials chose to exclude me was to limit participation to those candidates who until recently held public office, in this case as Newton City Councilors.
In this fraught political climate, the national Democratic Party has been putting out the call for more civic participation, more people to run for office, more young people to get involved in the electoral process and to vote, especially on the local level. The Newton Democratic party’s decision to exclude me (especially as the only Democratic candidate excluded) sends the opposite message: that new voices are not welcome; that holding political office is a pre-requisite to having a seat at the table; and that the Party officials, and not the voters, decide who the public should listen to.
This is unfortunately the wrong message, and is only going to discourage others like me from stepping up to participate in the future.