Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Speech That Was Never Given

Yesterday, I was elected a delegate to the Democratic National Convention at a district caucus held in Braintree. The rules for the caucus allow each delegate candidate to give a two-minute speech.

Our caucus actually moved to waive speeches yesterday, so for the reading public, I am posting below the speech I would have given.

April 21, 2012

I first want to recognize my parents, Bonnie and Dave Levanto, who are here today. One fond memory I have is when I drove with them to Manchester, New Hampshire in the fall of 2008 to canvass there for then Senator Barack Obama. My mom-- I think she ended up finding more than 10 solid supporters, and secured a record-setting five requests for lawn signs. So I am hoping that most of you spoke to her today and not my dad.

Democrats, I don't need to convince you here today how important it is for President Barack Obama to be reelected. I do however, need to convince you why I would be a good delegate to the Democratic National Convention. Part of my reasoning is based on the numerous months I have spent volunteering-- in many cases shoulder to shoulder with people in this room-- for candidates and causes that represent Democratic ideals. I have coordinated downtown Boston democrats for President Obama, Governor Deval Patrick, Mayor Tom Menino, Sheriff Andrea Cabral, Boston City Councilor John Connolly, and many other Democrats.

The people I talk to during these efforts are all deeply concerned about the quality of our schools, the security of our streets, and the rapidly widening income gap. In all cases, I have found that the best solutions to their concerns are in President Obama's policies.

I humbly ask for your vote today. A vote for me isn't just a vote for President Obama in Charlotte. A vote for me is a vote for values that we all share. Values reinforced by my experiences working for Democratic candidates, my experiences organizing to make my neighborhood clean, safe and green, and my experiences in the private sector representing growing companies who are changing the world we live in today. Vote for Ross Levanto to support President Obama, and vote for Ross Levanto to support our Democratic values.

Victory: A Delegate to the DNC

Yesterday, I was elected a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. To the 164 people who came to the East Middle School in Braintree yesterday and cast their votes for me, THANK YOU!

I was honored to run yesterday as part of a slate of candidates who will now travel to Charlotte, together, to represent the new 8th Congressional district in Massachusetts. As a member of the slate, I asked those at the caucus who attended on my behalf to vote for the other members of the slate in addition to me.

Thank you to the other members of the slate, including Braintree Mayor Joe Sullivan (who hosted the caucus), Norfolk County District Attorney Mike Morrissey, State Representative Jeff Sanchez, Weymouth Mayor Susan Kay, Kathleen Manson, Shaynah Barnes, Susanne O'Neil, and Ossie Jordan. I look forward to serving with all of you as delegates in Charlotte.

I am FOREVER grateful to those who came to the caucus to support me. You got out of bed relatively early on a Saturday morning, and-- in the case of those who came from my neighborhood-- had to drive nearly a half hour to get to the caucus. Then you sat in a room for a long time. All for one reason-- to cast a vote for me.

I am also thankful to my parents, Bonnie and Dave, who drove up from Connecticut to stand outside, greet voters, and ask that they support me.

Finally, a very special thank you to Mayor Tom Menino and Boston City Councilor John Connolly for their tremendous support during this campaign.

Now, I have begun my preparations to go to the convention. I promise to chronicle my thoughts, as well as activities at the convention, on this blog.

The memory I will have forever from yesterday? How about watching my congressman, Congressman Lynch, voting for me and using the back of my literature to make sure he spelled each slate member's name correctly? The front of my literature is below.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Running to Be a Delegate to the Democratic National Convention

I am running to become a delegate to the Democratic National Convention. Four male delegates and four female delegates are selected from each congressional district in Massachusetts, according to the newly drawn congressional district lines. I live in the new district 8, represented by Congressman Lynch, and to become a delegate, I need to be selected at the district caucus, which is scheduled for Saturday, April 21, at 10 a.m. at East Middle School, 305 River Street, in Braintree.

Any Democrat living in Congressman Lynch's newly drawn district is eligible to come to the caucus and vote, and I humbly ask for your support.

As a delegate, I would bring an important perspective to the national delegation. I am not an elected official, and I do not work for the public sector. I have spent the past nearly 15 years working for innovative private companies---many of them spawned from ideas created by students at Massachusetts colleges and universities. I have worked directly with the founders and CEOs of these companies, providing guidance as to the best way to shape their messages and earn visibility for their technologies.

Along the way and especially over the past four years, I have seen the important role government plays in how these companies grow, prosper and contribute to the economy. Simply put, for a period of time during the middle of the Great Recession, the government's role was vital. My experiences can help shape the dialogue within the party, given that this Presidential campaign features an ongoing national discussion about the role of government in our lives.

When I am not helping entrepreneurs and promoting their ideas, I am helping Democratic causes. This past Tuesday, I was re-elected the Secretary of the Boston Ward 5 Democratic Committee. During my first term, I met dozens of dedicated community organizers and passionate citizens. They believe, like I do, that getting involved in local civics is pivotal to the vibrancy of our communities and the future of our country. Like me, many of them volunteer to support the candidates and campaigns they believe best represent their values.

I am very proud of the Democratic causes I have worked for and the candidates I have supported. This past November, I spent election day on the streets of Jamaica Plain here in Boston (and within Congressman Lynch's new district) making the case that City Councilor Ayanna Pressley should be re-elected.

In 2009, I organized my neighborhood for Mayor Tom Menino during his most recent re-election campaign and believe he is doing a great job for the city.

I have also volunteered for City Councilor John Connolly, who is the hardest working politician I have ever met, Governor Deval Patrick, President Barack Obama, State Representative Marty Walz, Sheriff Andrea Cabral and State Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz, among others.

What I like the most about working in local civic politics is talking to my neighbors, who I find are often quite candid about what bothers them. As someone who lives near them, it's nice to be able to help them and to better understand what they like and don't like about what's happening in their neighborhoods.

I believe passionately that the combination of experiences in my life---the energy that comes from helping shape messages and programs that bring new innovations to life in the private sector, and the first-hand accounts provided by those I meet while supporting Democratic causes---would make me an excellent delegate to the DNC. And I ask for your vote and your support.

East Middle School, Braintree, Mass. Directions

For those planning to attend the caucus to select delegates from Congressman Lynch's district to the Democratic National Convention, below are directions to East Middle School in Braintree, Mass. The caucus is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 21.

I am running to be a delegate to the DNC, and this caucus is when delegates will be selected. For those who are attending, I humbly ask for your support.

East Middle School
305 River Street
Braintree, Mass.


Whether you are coming from downtown Boston, or from southern parts of the city, the key is to ultimately get on Route 3 south in Braintree. This can be done either by taking 93 South from downtown Boston or by taking 93 North from the Canton area. In either case, take the exit for Route 3 south in Braintree.

Once on Route 3 South:

Take Exit 17 off of Route 3 South for Union Street. You will exit onto a rotary. It's not too far from when you get on Route 3 from Route 93.

Take the third exit off the rotary, which will put you onto Union Street heading toward Braintree. The rotary exit isn't really marked, but it's about 270 degrees around the rotary.

You will take an immediate left once you get off the rotary onto Cleveland Avenue.

You will stay on Cleveland Avenue, which changes into Middle Street, for 0.6 miles. Take a right onto River Street. If you go over the T tracks, you've gone too far on Cleveland/Middle.

Follow River Street to East Middle School. The road splits at the Middle School, leading you to a parking lot in front of the school.