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Mass. Dems cast net to Web

Massachusetts residents can now help shape the future of the Massachusetts’ Democratic Party while wearing their pajamas and using just the click of a mouse.

The Blue Mass Group, a website that provides a forum for all things related to Massachusetts Democrats, has partnered with the official Massachusetts Democratic Party to solicit opinions on important issues, including the economy and education reform, for the new party platform. The party reviews the platform every four years in a process that will end with a state convention in July, Massachusetts Democratic Party Chairman John Walsh said.

This year, in addition to the traditional town hall gatherings where residents can voice their concerns and goals for the party, forums on the Massachusetts Democratic Party and Blue Mass Group websites will also be utilized, he said.

‘I am hopeful that this process will generate a platform that clearly outlines who we are as Democrats and what we stand for,’ Walsh said. ‘My goal will be to establish a process whereby the path to those goals can be discussed, debated, and organized.’

Blue Mass Group was founded by three Democratic volunteers in November 2004 after co-founder David Kravitz noticed a shortage of online outlets for Massachusetts politics.

‘We had all been volunteers in various capacities on the Kerry campaign,’ Kravitz said. ‘After he lost, we wanted to keep our activist energy going.’

With more than three million unique visitors in the past year alone, Blue Mass Group is reaching a significantly greater amount of people to become involved in the platform dialogue, including politically-minded students, Kravitz said.

Boston University College Democrats President Krista Zalatores said she appreciates the Democratic Party’s outreach efforts.

‘What I think the Mass. state party has done very well is open their forum to public testimony,’ Zalatores, a College of Arts and Sciences junior, said.

Although the Internet has proven an invaluable campaign tool, most notably in the campaign of President Barack Obama, there is no substitute for one-on-one conversations, she said.

BUCD hosted the youth platform hearing on behalf of College Democrats of Massachusetts Tuesday.

‘From what I can tell, the Mass. Democratic Party is so vast and complex it requires some kind of informational center,’ CAS and College of Communication freshman Elizabeth Jones said. ‘People are generally familiar with its message, and they obviously favor it, but the effort is to help keep the facts and image consistent.’

Commonwealth Democrats said the economy has come to the forefront of platform issues.

‘If the Democratic strategy for fixing the economy doesn’t show any signs of working a year and a half from now, not much else matters,’ Kravitz said. ‘It’ll be open seasons in the midterm elections.’

With a definitive majority in the Legislature and a Democratic governor, Democrats said the issue is not remaining in power, but organizing their agenda so that it reflects public opinion in the best way possible.

‘The world is changing around politics and political organizing,’ Walsh said. ‘We are hoping to go beyond dealing with the changes and hope to lead in this new era.’

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