Electoral Questionnaire

2018 Election Cycle

Electoral Questionnaire

Below are the questions posed to candidates seeking endorsement from Boston DSA and their respective answers from the candidates or their staff. Our questionnaire consisted of ninty-five questions was sent to a total of eight candidates.We heard back from six of them: Darrin HowellTure Turnbull, Nika Elugardo, Segun Idowu, Darryn Remillard, and Gretchen Van Ness. In order for our members to have the maximum amount of information in voting to endorse candidates we asked each candidate to answer each question fully and made it clear that misleading, vague or other non-answers would likely disqualify them from endorsement by the membership.

The questionnaire was the result of a collaborative, democratic process that occurred over several months. Questions were solicited from our numerous working groups and from individual members, edited by a volunteer committee, and approved by online vote by the membership. The final questionnaire was ninety-five questions sorted into twelve sections. Links to each question section are below.

Candidate Forum

A candidate forum will take place later this summer. All members of Boston DSA in good standing are welcome to attend and ask candidates questions directly.

Voting on endorsements

Members will vote on candidate endorsements at the July General Meeting on July 21st. If members cannot make the meeting but are able to watch the live-stream and stay in contact with someone at the meeting, they are welcome to take part in our proxy process.


  1. Do you consider yourself a socialist? What is socialism to you?
  2. What is capitalism to you? What is your vision of a socialist society and how do you feel we should get there?
  3. In general, how do you meet your material needs and obtain the means of life?
    • (a) By selling your labor for a wage or salary; (b) By managing and/or capturing the surplus value produced by the labor of others;
    • (c) By receiving government benefits or entitlements;
    • (d) By investment interest, rents, or other financial method;
    • (e) Other/please explain.
  4. Will you lend your office’s assistance to the independent political and economic organization of the working class?
  5. Are you in favor of expropriating the capitalists, the banks, and the real estate monopolies, and putting those resources to use satisfying human needs, under a socialist program with democratic workers’ control?

See the Answers


  1. How will you hold yourself accountable to the interests of the working class (and the whole working class, not a narrowly defined subset) rather than to the broad array of interests, constituencies, and donors to which politicians are by default
    accountable under capitalist democracy?
  2. Will you commit to holding regular events with DSA members for education about how the political process works from the inside?
  3. Given the inordinate power of the Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, and the resulting tendency of legislation, realistically, to reflect the will of a tightly-controlled hierarchy of legislators rather than the will of the
    people of the Commonwealth, what would you do to help democratize the legislative process?
  4. Would you support and create legislation for an end to felon disenfranchisement?
  5. Do you support the enfranchisement of all residents, regardless of immigration status or state of detention or incarceration?
  6. Do you support the ability for MA citizens to vote “absentee” simply by making a request without needing a reason for accommodation?
  7. Which of the following policies: ranked choice voting, voting by mail, automatic voter registration, same day registration, and expanded voting days do you support and why?
  8. Would you support the distribution of campaign vouchers for citizens to donate to candidates, as is done in Seattle WA?

See the Answers


  1. When you are in office, will you support the complete abolition of prisons and police? Please answer yes or no, and then explain your answer.
  2. When you are in office, will you propose and support legislation to abolish solitary confinement? Please answer yes or no, and then explain your answer.
  3. When you are in office, will you propose and support legislation to end life without parole? Please answer yes or no, and then explain your answer.
  4. When you are in office, will you propose and support legislation to end cash bail? Please answer yes or no, and then explain your answer.
  5. When you are in office, will you propose and support legislation to end all mandatory minimum sentences? Please answer yes or no, and then explain your answer.
  6. When you are in office, will you propose and support legislation to create elected civilian oversight boards for the police and prisons with the power to investigate, discipline, and fire police and prison officers and administrators? Please answer yes or no, and then explain your answer.
  7. When you are in office, will you propose and support legislation that will make police, prison, and prosecutorial data affirmatively and publicly available for free? Please answer yes or no, and then explain your answer.
  8. When you are in office, will you propose and support legislation to close prisons, tagged to the decreasing prison population, and repurpose them for use for public services that are not prison or policing related? Please answer yes or no, and then explain your answer.
  9. When you are in office, will you commit to visiting prisoners at least once a month to discuss their needs and how you can serve them? This commitment would mean, at a minimum, spending an eight hour day at the facility you visit and spreading your visits out among security levels, prioritizing meeting with prisoners in solitary confinement units, long term medical units, residential treatment units, and secure treatment units. Please answer yes or no, and then explain your answer.
  10. Will you accept any money donations from police or correctional officer unions or their union members? Please answer yes or no, and then explain your answer.
  11. Do you support the right of prisoners to form unions, and will you support meaningful engagement by the state with organizations of prisoners making collective demands?
  12. Would you vote against any bargained agreement with a police association that would result in more funding for police?
  13. How do you resolve the need to protect undocumented people from the federal authorities with the potential risk of exposing them to increased contact with state and local authorities?

See the Answers


  1. Would you introduce legislation to prevent state and local officials, including law enforcement, from sharing information with ICE?
  2. Would you support state funding for legal aid for noncitizens in deportation proceedings?
  3. Deferred Action for Parents of Americans was held up for two years under Obama and entirely rescinded under Trump – what is your plan for programs extending simple human compassion to immigrants who have been attacked under the current administration?
  4. Government contracts and ICE funds are currently being funneled into the for profit prison industry. What is your position on this and what action will you take to reverse it, if any?
  5. Attorney General Sessions is encouraging state and local law enforcement to not only cooperate with ICE, but to take on responsibilities that fall under ICE entirely. What is your position on state and local law enforcement cooperating with ICE? What action, if any, would you take to prevent it?
  6. What is your position on the existence of ICE? Do you believe it should be abolished?
  7. What is your position on providing drivers’ licenses to Massachusetts residents regardless of documentation status? What is your position on providing state support & funding for bilingual education?

See the Answers


  • Will you propose and support legislation to create just cause eviction protections for tenants to eliminate no-fault evictions in Massachusetts?
  • Will you support any measures to expropriate empty luxury apartments for the purpose of housing Boston’s homeless and housing-insecure populations?
  • Will you accept any money from capitalists who profit from exploitation of the human need for housing, including but not limited to corporate landlords, real estate developers, property managers, banks, and landlords’ and developers’ attorneys?
  • Will you propose and support legislation overturning the 1994 ban on rent control in Massachusetts, and then support legislation to reinstate rent control?
  • What measures will you support to create dedicated funding streams for the creation and preservation of socialized public housing?
  • Will you propose and support legislation to guarantee free legal representation by an attorney to every tenant facing eviction like the measure just passed in San Francisco, including measures to ensure that that representation is competent and adequately resourced?
  • What are your plans, beyond those described in the Disability Housing Task Force Report of Mayor Walsh’s housing plan, to meet the especially acute need for accessible housing?
  • How will you ensure that a genuine democratic process occurs before the BPDA can propose a development plan (like JP/Rox, Plan Dudley, etc.), and that the local community will have final approval over the plan?
  • Will you propose and support legislation to restrict, tax, or otherwise regulate short-term rentals such as AirBnB?
  • Will you work to secure funding for a housing-first approach to homelessness, like the pilot City Rent Subsidy Program in Boston?
  • Would you commit to not supporting tax breaks for commercial or residential real estate developers?
  • Do you support guaranteed, free public housing?
  • Will you expand public housing and defend it from “mixed-income” privatization schemes?

See the Answers


  1. When you are in office, will you propose and support legislation to fully decriminalize sex work?
  2. When you are in office, will you propose or support legislation that adopts the model of demand-side criminalization, that is, one that criminalizes the purchase of sex while decriminalizing the selling of sex?
  3. When you are in office, will you support MA H. 3499 “An Act Decriminalizing Prostitution” in its current form, which implements Nordic Model style reforms, or Demand-side prohibition?
  4. When you are in office, will you support and propose legislation that limits the power of law enforcement and immigration officers to target immigrants and minorities in racially motivated “trafficking” stings on massage parlors and hotels as well as sweeps in neighborhoods which lead to deportations and the criminalization of low-income workers?
  5. Are you willing to work with sex workers and sex work advocacy groups to improve the working conditions and address trafficking with the benefit of lived-experience data and on-the-ground understanding of the issues at hand, which only sex workers and former sex workers can provide?
  6. When you are in office, will you propose and support legislation that protects and enhances current access to abortion services, reaffirms the rights to safe and legal abortions, and ensures that everyone can afford abortion, regardless of income, so that abortions are effectively safe, legal, and free?
  7. When you are in office, will you propose and support legislation that removes restrictions to access on abortion through parental consent laws, and what is your position on MA H. 3649 and H. 893?
  8. When you are in office, will you propose and support legislation that promotes the expansion of gender-neutral bathrooms in public spaces?
  9. When you are in office, will you support to keep Chapter 134, “An Act Relative To Transgender Anti-Discrimination,” in effect, that is, the 2016 law that protects against discrimination on the basis of gender identity in public spaces?

See the Answers


  1. Do you support Bill H.2987, “An Act establishing improved Medicare for all in Massachusetts”?
  2. Do you support Bill S.1081, “An Act to authorize public health workers to pursue new measures to reduce harm and stigma for people affected by substance use disorder,” including the implementation of supervised injection facilities?
  3. Would you support restrictions on opioid prescriptions?
  4. Do you support the “Massachusetts Nurse-Patient Assignment Limits Initiative,” the ballot question to mandate staffing ratios for nurses?
  5. Do you support increasing the cap on funeral costs for DTA funding related to the Funeral and Final Disposition Benefit for services and burial of poor or indigent persons in Massachusetts?
  6. How will you work to reintegrate veterans into civilian life in the Commonwealth?

See the Answers


  1. How will you prepare Massachusetts for climate change much more severe than the Kyoto Protocol target?? Will you divest your campaign contributions from fossil fuels? Please select at least one answer and explain why.
    • No; Partially, from fossil fuel energy companies;
    • Partially, from institutions (e.g. banks) that fund fossil fuel projects;
    • Partially, from companies involved in sale or transportation of fossil fuels (e.g. Spectra, National Grid);
    • Yes, from all components listed above
  2. Do you commit to divest all public assets, including pensions, banking and credit, and contracts, from fossil fuels? Please select at least one answer and explain why.
    • No; Partially, from fossil fuel energy companies;
    • Partially, from institutions (e.g. banks) that fund fossil fuel projects;
    • Partially, from companies involved in sale or transportation of fossil fuels (e.g. Spectra, National Grid);
    • Yes, from all components listed above
  3. If you do support carbon taxes, what would you do with the tax revenue generated? Please select one choice and explain.
    • Add to general tax pool of the Commonwealth (e.g. Washington state’s SB 6203)
    • Redistribute tax back to residents (“revenue neutral”) (e.g. Washington state’s I-732)
    • Use tax revenue to fund investments in low-income communities, environmental protection, and clean, renewable energy infrastructure development (e.g. Washington state’s I-1631).
    • Other (explain)
  4. Do you support an immediate moratorium on all fossil fuel related projects, including resource extraction, transportation infrastructure (e.g., pipelines, compressor stations, shipping terminals), and new electricity generation based on fossil fuels?
  5. Do you support the creation of a public bank within the Commonwealth that would be used to fund renewable energy (wind, solar, tidal, geothermal) and “green” infrastructure?
  6. Do you support the nationalization, or the expropriation of goods from private owners to be placed under democratic control and ownership, of existing fossil fuel companies?
  7. Would you “nationalize” National Grid? Please explain.
  8. Given limited political capital and other resources, what strategy for reducing carbon emissions would you pursue? Please select one choice, and explain why below.
    • Divestment and reinvestment
    • Carbon tax
    • Carbon offset or carbon permit trading
  9. Do you support carbon taxes as a means to achieve emissions reductions? Please select the answer closest to your stance and explain why.
    • Yes, and I would pursue carbon tax legislation similar to recent bills in Washington state.
    • No, because the tax rate is never high enough on polluters to affect change or revenue is not distributed fairly
    • No, because we cannot solve problems created by a market using market means
    • No, for other reasons (please specify)
    • Other (please specify)

See the Answers


  1. Would you support a Massachusetts law that would establish a just-cause employment standard (meaning that Massachusetts would no longer be an “at-will” employment state)? If yes, would you sponsor and campaign for such a law?
  2. Would you support a Massachusetts law that would allow striking workers to access unemployment insurance benefits during a union-initiated strike? (Current state law permits this only in the case of employer-initiated lockouts). If yes, would you sponsor and campaign for such a law?
  3. Would you support a Massachusetts law requiring all employers who receive state funding to recognize a union formed by their workers through the card-check process (as opposed to an NLRB-administered election)? If yes, would you sponsor and campaign for such a law?
  4. What action would you take to support non-union, undocumented, or otherwise vulnerable workers?
  5. Would you support legislation to prevent wage theft and more stringently punish employers who commit wage theft?
  6. Would you support a One Fair Wage law in Massachusetts to end to the sub-minimum wage for tipped workers?
  7. Do you have campaign staff? If so, how much per hour are they paid, how much time off are they afforded, and what benefits are provided?
  8. What would you do to support and encourage the establishment and growth of worker-owned and worker-managed enterprises in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts?
  9. Do you support a large-scale state public works and job guarantee program offering a regionally adjustable $15-25 living wage to all those willing and able to work, aiming to overcome both involuntary unemployment and working poverty?
  10. What are your thoughts on the Fair Share Agenda and the Raise Up agenda?

See the Answers


  1. Will you support a Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israeli apartheid publicly, privately, and under pressure from opposition, and be accountable and communicative to the DSA wing of the campaign?
  2. Will you unequivocally support the rights of the Palestinian people and use your office to support BDS? How do you intend to do so?
  3. If you are asked to write a statement or attend an event in support of the troops how will you respond?
  4. Will you vocally support protest and divestment movements against the Massachusetts-based military-industrial complex including but not limited to Raytheon, Hanscom Air Force Base, BAE Systems, General Dynamics, and Textron Systems Corporation?
  5. What would you do as a state representative to advocate for moving funding away from defense spending and towards needed social programs?

See the Answers


  1. When you are in office, will you propose and support legislation that mandates comprehensive sex education in schools, and what is your current position on MA H. 3704, “The Healthy Youth Bill”?
  2. Do you oppose charter schools?
  3. Do you support free tuition at State Universities/colleges, or student loan debt forgiveness?
  4. Do you support universal pre-kindergarten? What policies would you propose to support public schools in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and to help prevent the privatization of education through charter schools?
  5. Do you oppose privatization of the MBTA (The T)?
  6. Do you support increasing funding for public transit?
  7. Do you support taking measures to reduce transit fares or making public transit free?
  8. What policies would you put forward to combat the alienation and social isolation of life under capitalism?

See the Answers


  1. Do you support the principle of wealth redistribution through progressive taxation and are you willing to make concrete policies towards its implementation?
  2. Do you support the establishment of a new, high-income tax bracket for the state income tax?
  3. Do you support raising State corporate taxes?
  4. Do you support the establishment of an estate tax (inheritance tax) in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts?

See the Answers


Questions about the electoral questionnaire can be sent to info@bostondsa.org or via the method on our contact page.

Interested in getting involved?

Come to one of our events!

Event Calendar