Stand-in Ends with Phone Conversation with House Rules Chair

Posted on behalf of Katie Chin, New Media Coordinator of Students for a Just and Stable Future

On this historic 40th anniversary of Earth Day, participants in The Leadership Campaign have once again reminded us all of the courage necessary to create the just and stable future called for in 1970. The Leadership Campaign is a Massachusetts coalition of students, community members, and members of the faith community. Together they have introduced legislation demanding that Massachusetts create a plan to reach 100% clean electricity by 2020. Since the introduction of “An Act to Create A Repower Massachusetts Emergency Task Force” on December 7, 2010 the campaign has worked diligently towards gaining support throughout the state for this bold and important bill.

Currently the bill is held up in the House Committee on Rules, headed by Representative John Binienda. Representative Binienda has the power to release the bill. He has claimed that he supports the goal of 100% clean electricity by 2020, but has nonetheless been blocking the bill and thus has prevented it from receiving a fair hearing. Today, the campaign conducted a stand-in direct action.

At eleven o’clock this morning, a group of students walked into Binienda’s office and told his staff that they were not leaving until the Representative explained why he has failed to release the bill, despite claiming to support the bill’s goal. Every fifteen minutes, more students joining those already in his office, escalating the pressure and attracting statehouse media to the scene.

After one round of students was peacefully escorted out the office by security, a second round of students immediately re-entered his office. Eventually, Craig Altemose, Coordinator of The Leadership Campaign, was able to speak with Binienda on the phone. Below is the video of their conversation. Binenda said he would release the bill but did not give a time frame.

At the same time, Jamaica Kelley, the organization’s State Legislative Coordinator, met with Speaker Robert Deleo and his constituents from the First Church of Winthrop. Speaker Deleo is also an important target related to the success of the bill on the House side. In the meeting, the Speaker stated that he wants Massachusetts to be a leader on climate issues. We will find out this afternoon if he’s actually willing to push the bill.

Members of The Leadership Campaign are now meeting to discuss what to do next. Check out our blog for an update on the current status of our bill and the live blog taken during the morning lobby efforts of earth day.

Video: Conversation with Binienda

13 Responses to “Stand-in Ends with Phone Conversation with House Rules Chair”

  1. 1 Jay O'Hara Apr 22nd, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    THIS is what Earth Day is all about. Even if we do have to call it Eaarth Day from now on. Let’s roll.

  2. 2 Josh Lynch Apr 22nd, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    I was standing behind Craig when he was on the phone with Representative Binienda. I gotta say, he represented the millenial generation incredibly well. Every time Rep. Binienda tried to say “these things take a long time” or “I need to confer with the other representatives”, Craig would bring it back to the urgency of this issue and the fact that it has already been five months since the bill was introduced. It could not have happened without all of the youth, faith leaders, and supporters from all over Massachusetts who were there today. We still have a ways to go to pass this bill, but I am more confident today that it can happen. Don’t back down, people!

  3. 3 Eli Beckerman Apr 22nd, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    Way to go! You asked for such clear and simple action, and powerfully made the case for it, yet his replies were so evasive (though full of rhetorical support for your cause). You guys are showing us what you mean by “the courage to lead!” Keep it up — we need you to!!!

  4. 4 Matt Dernoga Apr 22nd, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    Great job guys! That’s how you do it, keep the pressure on!

  5. 5 Morgan Apr 23rd, 2010 at 1:41 am

    Yeah, awesome work, this is what leadership, organizing and direct action are all about. Don’t back down.

  6. 6 Patrick Apr 23rd, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    Very inspiring. I wonder why it has taken a link from twitter to get this news to me? Was there any press there? I want to get involved.

  7. 7 Craig Apr 23rd, 2010 at 7:56 pm


    Are you in Massachusetts? We did get some coverage from the Boston Globe, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, and Unvision (and coverage of other parts of our Earth Day events from Fox 25, New England Cable News, and the Metro).

  8. 8 Patrick Apr 25th, 2010 at 12:47 am

    Yes, I live in Northbridge. I usually only get my local news from the NPR stations and an occasional newspaper but we don’t get one delivered to the house. So if it wasn’t covered on NPR then that explains why I only found out about it off my twitter feed.
    I am serious though, I found the story very inspiring, and actually gave me a bit of hope. I would like to get involved.

  1. 1 Earth Day LIVE BLOG « The Leadership Campaign Trackback on Apr 22nd, 2010 at 4:01 pm
  2. 2 Massachusetts: Follow Our Lead | Get Healthy Advice Trackback on Apr 26th, 2010 at 5:24 am
  3. 3 Stand-in on Earth Day!! « The Leadership Campaign Trackback on Apr 27th, 2010 at 8:30 am
  4. 4 Starting to Organize: Perspective of an Amherst High School Student « The Leadership Campaign Trackback on Apr 29th, 2010 at 3:58 pm
  5. 5 Students for a Just and Stable Future Trackback on Sep 28th, 2010 at 6:25 pm
Comments are currently closed.

About Craig

Craig Altemose is the founder and Executive Director of Better Future Project, which engages in movement-building to make communities more resilient and to accelerate a rapid and responsible transition away from fossil fuels. Currently, he serves on the Massachusetts Green Economy and Climate Protection Advisory Committee and on the board of the Mass Climate Action Network. Craig founded and led Students for a Just and Stable Future (MA's state network). He has previously served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Massachusetts Chapter of the Sierra Club, the Co-Chair of the National Association of Environmental Law Societies, worked with Energy Action as an intern and a fellow, and served on the Executive Committee of the Sierra Student Coalition, a group he remains active with. Craig helped plan Power Shift 2007, and was the Lead Organizer of the Massachusetts Power Shift conference in April, 2008. He holds a Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School, a Master in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government and a B.A. in International Relations and Global Affairs from Eckerd College.

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