- Celebrating Our Wins
- What is the Medford People’s Platform?
- Updates from ORM-Endorsed Elected Officials
- 2022 Policy Goals
Celebrating Our Wins
On November 2, 2021, Our Revolution Medford’s grassroots, people-powered movement showed up and won big with the election of Zac Bears, Kit Collins, Nicole Morell, and Justin Tseng to the Medford City Council and Jenny Graham, Sharon Hays, Mea Mustone, and Paul Ruseau to the Medford School Committee. We are so thankful to Abigail Dickson and their campaign, and we encourage them to run again in 2023.
These candidates have won a resounding mandate from the voters, and we look forward to the work they will do with residents across our city to enact policies from the Medford People’s Platform, expand our community outreach and public engagement, and build a thriving city and inclusive local government that meets the needs of everyone who calls Medford home.
How It Started
We began our 2021 campaign season in December 2020 by outlining our plan to win through sustained effort and strategy. We kicked off our update of the Medford People’s Platform for 2021-2022. Building electoral power is a means to enact our policy platform and build community around our shared values. The vision laid out in the Medford People’s Platform guides our movement and our electoral campaigns.
After updating the Platform, our Endorsements Committee improved our endorsement process based on experience from 2019 and feedback from new members. Now, what does an Our Revolution Medford endorsement mean? We have an ambitious vision and we don’t have time to deal with our power being co-opted, so we try to inoculate our movement by clearly communicating our goals and values and making sure everyone is on the same page. So we make a point to make sure our endorsement process is fully laid out in detail on our website. Candidates have to sign a candidate agreement, they are interviewed by the endorsements committee, and they participate in a public forum.
Our Candidates’ Commitments
The candidate agreement ensures that candidates applying for endorsement take some concrete actions to involve the community in local politics, and that they align with our values, which are woven into the Medford People’s Platform. Candidates must agree to:
- Fully support the Medford People’s Platform
- Commit to holding regular office hours with the community
- Commit to bringing historically exploited people into local politics and progressive groups
- Refuse donations from certain industries and PACs that are in opposition to parts of the People’s Platform or our values
- Split the cost of collaborative campaign activities
Community accountability is a major part of our candidate agreement. Our movement supports candidates who bring more people into the movement. Our movement takes a grassroots approach to fundraising and will not compromise its values to cover the cost of a campaign. Our movement has a people-powered vision of the future to hold our elected officials accountable.
How It’s Going
The greatest thing about our model is that while Our Revolution Medford-endorsed candidates and elected officials hold a different kind of space when they’re wearing their local official hat than in an ORM meeting, they are absolutely Our Revolution Medford members and they are integral members of our community in and outside of the office they hold. In all 2017, 2019, and 2021, we have observed that candidates who may be new to the group rapidly become oriented to the community’s collaborative culture, values, and vision through their tightly coordinated campaign. They build trust and confidence in each other, and form a strong community support network through the intense and sometimes traumatizing experience of running for office.
With this model in place, “holding our elected officials accountable” has been a joyous process. And that’s what building power looks like. It’s building trust, loving each other, sharing a vision, putting in the work, and knowing that as long as we get those things right we’ll continue to strengthen our community and build the future we deserve.
How You Can Help
Over 2022, we’ll work with our elected officials to enact the Medford People’s Platform, before returning to another campaign year in 2023. Our people-powered movement always needs more people! Fill out this form to join Our Revolution Medford and get involved.
Our newly-elected and re-elected officials are following through with their promise to hold office hours. Please take advantage of these opportunities to ask them questions in person and hear their takes on what’s going on in the city.
Initial Plans for Office Hours in 2022
Mea Mustone: I am thinking about zoom office hours, and possibly in person when available and safe. Residents are welcome to call me at 781-391-5909 or email me at email@example.com with any questions or concerns. We can work together to find an answer or solution.
Paul Ruseau: Initially, I’ll hold office hours using Zoom starting January 12th, 2022. I’ll be hosting joint office hours via zoom with Jenny Graham on Monday, January 31st at 7PM. I prefer scheduling conversations at a mutually agreed upon day and time, and welcome residents to contact me directly.
Zac Bears: Regarding office hours, I’m playing it by ear. I currently schedule 1-on-1 appointments by phone or on Zoom, requests preferred by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Councilor Morell and I were able to hold joint office hours prior to the pandemic, and those were great events. I would like to get back to that once it is safe.
Jenny Graham: I’ll be hosting joint office hours via zoom with Paul Ruseau on Monday, January 31st at 7PM. I plan to wait to schedule my February office hours to watch how COVID rates change between now and then. People should feel free to reach out to me any time though, and we can make a plan that works for them to have a zoom, coffee, or whatever.
Sharon Hays: I plan to have scheduled office hours at least 3-4 times a month. At the moment, given the weather and the Covid surge, I don’t yet have a specific schedule. Ideally, I’d like to plan a mixture of weekday and weekend office hours at local coffee shops/restaurants and at parks/playgrounds. I’m open to suggestions!
Kit Collins: Kit will be hosting office hours on Thursday, January 27th from 12PM to 1:30PM via Zoom. Pre-register to attend at linktr.ee/kit4medford
Note: Justin Tseng and Nicole Morell will announce office hours soon!
Written and edited by: Jennifer Sullivan, Jess Farrell, Zac Bears
What is the Medford People’s Platform?
In January 2021, ORM came together to start drafting the 2021-2022 Medford People’s Platform (MPP) as the first step in our electoral work for the year. Taking stock of our progress from the 2019 Medford People’s Platform (see Progress Report) to January 2021; we logged our achievements and identified room for growth in our organizing . Over the span of three months in early 2021, a small group of ORM members drafted, sought community feedback, and finalized the current MPP. The MPP acts as an anchor for ORM – all candidates endorsed by ORM signed on to the Platform, and many members have signed on individually or on behalf of other community groups in Medford; as we initiate new issue campaigns in 2022, the MPP will act as our guidepost. We will come back to the Platform in 2023 and check in with our progress and revise for the 2023 electoral cycle.
If you haven’t had the chance to sign your support to the MPP we encourage you to read the Platform and sign and share with your family and friends in Medford.
Our shared policy vision for Medford over the next two years (2021-2023) will bring people together to fight for a fully-funded City Budget, raise needed revenue, promote climate resiliency and an open walkable city, provide true community safety for all residents, fully fund public education, create an equitable and welcoming city government that supports residents’ basic needs, and improve housing access and stability for people of all incomes.
Written and edited by Meg Callaghan and Miranda Briseño
Updates from ORM-Endorsed Elected Officials
Mea Mustone: Thank you for reelecting me. Please know you can contact me with any question or concern. We can work together to find an answer or solution!
Paul Ruseau: I am honored to have been re-elected to serve our community and will do so with the integrity you have come to expect from me. While these are challenging times, with your support we can get through this pandemic and build a stronger community and Medford Public Schools. We can make the memory of this dark time be one that brought about a renaissance in how we see government – as a force for the good of the people, reignite the understanding of and create support for all that is considered a public good.
Zac Bears: I am so thankful to the nearly 7,000 people who cast a vote for me for Medford City Councilor, and we couldn’t have done it without all of the volunteers, donors, and voters who powered my re-election campaign and Our Revolution Medford’s coordinated campaign to victory! Thank you all!
Jenny Graham: Thank you to the voters of Medford for their confidence and trust. As I’ve always done, I’ll strive to push the district forward strategically and respond to the planned and unplanned matters that come before us. I’m always available to help families navigate MPS. I’ll continue to work hard to make sure that our schools work for our students!
Sharon Hays: I’d like to tell the residents of Medford that I’m ready – and excited – to begin my first term on the Medford School Committee. This is a very challenging time for the schools, and I’m prepared to join the other SC members in facing the challenges. I’m aware that although my background in education and my frequent attendance at SC meetings provide me with a good foundation, there will still be a significant learning curve in my first few months. I’ve started preparing for my new role by attending an orientation course run by the Massachusetts Association of School Committees, several additional virtual and pre-recorded workshops they provide about specific topics, and an individual meeting to talk about school finance and budgeting as it relates to MPS. I will continue to take advantage of MASC learning opportunities as they become available.
We’ll hear from Kit Collins, Justin Tseng, and Nicole Morell in our next newsletter!
Sharing Goals for 2022
Mea Mustone: My goals are to review the Social Studies and English Language Arts curricula and expand our music program. I also want to add another language to the World Language Department at the high school, lobby for an increase in sub and paraprofessional pay, and for universal pre-K.
Paul Ruseau: My goals can only become goals of the Medford Public Schools through the Superintendent and her goals. I am excited that Reading is the instructional goal of our Superintendent for 2022 and beyond. Reading is foundational for all our educational systems and for our society. I am motivated to gather community support for a new high school, and tenacious in tearing down systems of inequity through a fully funded public school budget and changing policies that have created or reinforced systems that prevent some of our students from realizing their full potential.
Zac Bears: We have great opportunities ahead of us with the zoning recodification and the city’s first comprehensive planning process to envision and enact a strong, vibrant, and equitable future for Medford. I’m also hopeful we can quickly modernize our City Council rules, finally pass a tree ordinance, provide Paid Family and Medical Leave to city and school staff, and ensure civilian control over public surveillance and facial recognition technologies. There are too many priorities to list here!
Jenny Graham: We will continue our work to navigate through the impacts COVID continues to have on our schools, our staff, and our students. This work is important and sometimes time consuming. We’ve seen this essentially halt many other efforts and priorities in the past few years. I do expect that will continue to happen, but we’ve spent a lot of time building a solid foundation to navigate the pandemic and I’m hopeful that we will see this foundation allows our other objectives to be less disrupted.
A top priority for me is starting work in earnest to talk about the needs of the high school complex. It is long past time to start this conversation, but I’m hopeful that the new elected city officials will help move this cause forward. I’ll be continuing to push our work forward to ensure that we are employing restorative justice practices in all we do, and particularly when it comes to student discipline. I will be focused on ensuring the Climate and Culture assessment we approved in December happens, and provides deep and effective recommendations, and I will be looking forward to the recommendations of the Racial Equity Task Force and championing an Equity Audit. There should be an ambitious agenda these next few years to make sure that our curricula are of high quality and well implemented. This includes work in literacy, math, health education, and social studies. I’ll of course be watching the budget carefully and working to ensure that we outline our needs for the community.
Sharon Hays: My biggest goals for MPS in 2022 are to ensure that the Racial Equity Task Force has the support and resources it needs to move forward with its mission; to provide additional student mental health services to the schools; and to insure the elementary schools have the resources they need so that every student is reading on grade level by the end of 3rd grade. Additionally, I would like to begin the process of expanding vocational program options at MVTHS and expanding World Language options and advanced math classes at the middle schools and high school.
We’ll hear from Kit Collins, Justin Tseng, and Nicole Morell in our next newsletter!
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