WILMINGTON, MA — On Tuesday, August 21 at 2pm, Erika Johnson, progressive Democrat for State Representative, and fourteen other Democratic women running to make change in both chambers of the Massachusetts Legislature publicly pledged to push for greater government transparency and accountability. “I pledge to stand for roll calls and to advocate for greater transparency and accountability within the Massachusetts Legislature. Elected leaders should be on record, supporting or opposing proposals on Beacon Hill,” the fifteen women pledged.
Presently, roll calls are the way legislators publicly vote on bills. In a roll call vote, each legislator is asked to vote “yea” or “nay” on the bill at issue and each vote is published, on the record. Roll call votes are not mandatory, and occur when requested and supported by at least ten percent (10%) of elected Representatives or one-fifth (⅕) of the Senators present. Without a legislator requesting a roll call and sufficient support for that roll call, a voice vote proceeds, yielding unrecorded, essentially secret votes.
All fifteen women pledge-signers are running to make government work for the people of their districts, spanning the entire Commonwealth. Central to the idea of a “government for the people” is that the people actually know what their legislators do and how they vote on the various policies before them. In addition to the Transparency Pledge, several of these women have stated they would vote to make the public records law applicable to the Legislature.
“Elected Officials need to be held accountable to the very people they represent,” says Johnson. “In addition to standing for role call votes and working to make government more transparent, if elected, my office will issue a biweekly newsletter that summarizes every bill that came up for a vote in the House Chamber, how I voted and why.”
The pledge-signers have already heard from others seeking to join them in pledging to increase government transparency and accountability. Those wishing to follow the pledge, or ask their legislators to sign on, can search for #TransparencyPledge on social media.
Pledge-signers running for State Senate are: Samantha Hammar (5th Middlesex) and Becca Rausch (Norfolk, Bristol & Middlesex).
Pledge-signers running for State Representative are: Emily Farrer (3rd Bristol); Tami Gouveia (14th Middlesex); Allison Gustavson (4th Essex); Sabrina Heisey (36th Middlesex); Erika Johnson (19th Middlesex); Lori Lennon (23rd Middlesex); Marie McCourt (2nd Hampshire); Tanya Neslusan (1st Hampden); Maria Robinson (6th Middlesex); Lindsay Sabadosa (1st Hampshire); Mary Ann Stewart (15th Middlesex); Gretchen Van Ness (14th Suffolk); and Francia Wisnewski (1st Franklin).
(NOTE: The above press release was passed along with the Johnson campaign.)
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