To:       The Massachusetts Democratic State Committee’s Platform Committee

Re:       Public misstatement by chair of Cambridge Platform Hearing


Trellis Stepter, chair of the Cambridge Democratic City Committee, made a misleading error while hosting the Democratic Party Platform Hearing in Cambridge on March 2, 2005. Mr. Stepter stated, “Most states have platforms of 5-6 pages.” That is factually incorrect, and Mr. Stepter should say so, as publicly and as categorically as he stated his original error.


Following are some examples of other states’ Democratic party platforms, and a couple of parties abroad. I indicate the length and then a reference for finding the platform:


I challenge Mr. Stepter to find ANY state party (or national party) that has a one-page statement of principles, as he and Platform Committee Chair Martina Jackson propose. In an extensive web search, I found only two instances of platforms of 5-6 pages in length (Rhode Island and Connecticut), and in both those cases, they achieved this length only by using very small print (7.5 point font). I found zero instances of one-page statements of principle by Democratic organizations. The closest I found was Ohio, which does have a two-page statement of principles at However, that document is backed up by an issues outline in 5 sections and 13 sub-sections entitled “Where we stand on the issues,” with substantive detail at Basically, the Ohio model is what numerous people suggested at the Cambridge hearing: Go ahead and make a statement of principles as a preamble, as long as there is substance following it.


Perhaps some readers might think that the larger states listed above have larger platforms. Smaller states do sometimes have smaller platforms. But even these smaller documents have substantial detail beyond the “statement of principles” that Mr. Stepter and Ms. Jackson advocate. Platforms from all the other New England states:


            Clearly, our Democratic colleagues from outside Massachusetts believe in detailed platforms, and we should too!           
Democratically yours,                                                  

Jesse Gordon

                                                                                    1770 Mass Ave #630

                                                                                    Cambridge MA 02140

                                                                                    (617) 320-6989