Fifteen members and three guests of the West Newbury DTC met via Zoom. Chair David Belsky called the meeting to order at 10:08 am. He introduced Adrianne Ramos, our new 14th District State Representative.
Adrianne explained that she’s been in office for a little over a month, and, like the other 21 new reps, has not yet been assigned to committees and therefore is working in the “bull pen”; i.e., no office as yet. The bill filing deadline has passed, she has filed several new bills, and she has been asked to co-sponsor about 94 bills. She is reading through them now. Adrianne has hired an aide, Samantha Kelley. Also, she is working on constituent services. The main education issue before her now is the huge increase in the Pentucket Regional School District special education budget, which has increased 14% over last year. The normal increase in that portion of the budget is 2-3%. She has conferred with the other two reps covering the Pentucket District and with (Republican) state Senator Bruce Tarr on this matter. She has requested to be placed on the Judiciary and the Children and Family committees, and she is working on a gay parentage bill which would preclude the current requirement for a same-sex couple having a child for the non-biological parent to formally adopt the child. Adrianne was asked about her preparation for the next election since the terms are only two years. She explained that she has been advised she should be raising about $50,000 each year. Her email is Adrianne.Ramos@MAhouse.gov; her aide’s email is Samantha.Kelley@MAhouse.gov.
The Chair reported on the 2nd Essex district’s victory of Democrat Kristin Kassner by one vote over the “incumbent” Lenny Mirra. Every vote does count.
Jim Sperelakis reported on the 3T&2C group’s preparation for the May 6 3T&2C Breakfast, which is being reinstated after a three year Covid lapse. David Belsky and Rob Phillips have been very active on that committee. Nicholson Hall at the Greek Church in Newburyport will again be the venue and the caterer has been hired. Kathy Pasquina of Newburyport is inviting the speakers. Tickets will be $40 and can be purchased through Act Blue or by sending a check to Rob Phillips at West Newbury Democratic Town Committee, PO Box 211, West Newbury, MA 01985. The $40 covers the actual cost, while the higher level sponsorship donations represent the actual fundraising. The levels of sponsorship have not been decided but will be soon. Proposed are three levels: $70, $150 and $250, with the latter two including two breakfast tickets. Volunteers will be needed to help set up, etc.
David reported that Rob Phillips wishes to resign as Treasurer (he is now treasurer of the 3T&2C group). Barry Fogel accepted Jeanne Pucci’s nomination for that position in the WNDTC, it was seconded by Jim Sperelakis, and Barry was voted in unanimously.
The Chair talked about upcoming financial obligations within our town committee and about the need for funds. Our present balance is about $500; needed is $150 for “seed money” for the breakfast and about $90 for annual web hosting costs. To avoid bank fees we have to maintain a minimum balance of $500. Members were asked to submit voluntary donations through Act Blue, by mailing a check to the above post office box address, or by delivering a check in person at our next meeting.
Secretary Patricia Skibbee reported that are now 27 active members, leaving opportunity for eight more. Becc O’Brien and Kath Mason were voted in as full members, after being so moved by Jeanne Pucci, seconded by Jessica Azenaro and voted unanimously, still leaving room for six more members. (It was determined subsequent to the meeting that Becc O’Brien and Kath Mason had been previously elected as members, voiding this motion. Kath Mason was elected to the committee on March 3, 2020 in the West Newbury Presidential Primary. Becc O’Brien was elected to the committee at its April 28, 2022 meeting.)
David will send out a doodle poll to fix a date for the next meeting.
We were reminded that the Kathy Pasquina Civic Engagement Scholarship has been suspended for this year, but will be reconsidered in the future.
Suggested topics for upcoming meetings included reviewing and adopting new by-laws—a project that has been suspended for three years due to Covid, discussion on the future of the Kathy Pasquina Scholarship, and an informal discussion on the town warrant for the April town meeting. Pat Skibbee will send the proposed new bylaws to David Belsky for initial review.
Ideas for future speakers included an Adrianne Ramos revisit, Matt Chilliak from Congressional Representative Seth Moulton’s office, and aides from Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey’s offices.
The West Newbury annual Town Meeting will be on April 24.