Welcome! Here's the Witching Hour's first Agenda and Notes from 2/7: Basics of Local Government. 

7:30-7:40pm - Updates + Announcements:

7:40-8:20: Government structure, yo.

What structure of government is your city or town?

Cities: Mayor + City Council + Courts

Towns: Chairperson/Town Manager + Town Council + Courts

Salem is a city (over 40k citizens) with a Mayor and City Council. You have a Ward and within that a Precinct. See attached Ward Map.

Ward – an electoral district of a city council or town board, created to provide more direct representation, from which a single councilman is elected.

Precinct – Denotes voting location (in Salem)

Salem’s Major Government Officials


Kim Driscoll Mayor of Salem (978) 619-5600

City Councilors: Your main contact to Salem’s city government and departments.


Arthur C. Sargent III Councilor At Large 978-745-1055
Thomas H. Furey Councilor At Large 978-744-5963  
Domingo J. Dominguez Councilor At Large 978-815-1089
Elaine Milo Councilor At Large 978-290-0821
Robert K. McCarthy Ward 1 Councilor 978-744-1759
Christine W. Madore Ward 2 Councilor 978-4145403
Lisa JB Peterson Ward 3 Councilor 978-219-9840
Timothy G. Flynn Ward 4 Councilor 978-836-0017
Josh H. Turiel Ward 5 Councilor 978-801-1673
Beth Gerard Ward 6 Councilor - President 978-219-7249
Stephen G. Dibble Ward 7 Councilor 978-744-7315

State Government: Salem is in Essex County. Essex County is separated into sections and each group of towns/cities has a Senator in the state-level government.

Joan Lovely Senator 617-722-1410
Paul Tucker Representative 617-722-2400

Important Questions Answered:

What can I ask my city councilor about?

Anything related to your neighborhood, the city, laws in the area, complaints or comments about the City of Salem. They're your main point of contact in Salem's city government. That doesn't mean you can't contact other city councilors though! You have your own city councilor (or 'councillor') for your Ward (Find your ward here) and then you have access to the councilors at large who deal less with the minutia of the neighborhoods. You can technically contact any of the councilors here:

What does it mean when something goes to committee?

When something goes to committee, like an ordinance, amendment, zoning issue, etcetera, it means that a few members of the council work separately on an issue and then it goes back to the wider council. It's essentially a way to work through issues without everyone on the council having to spend time on it. Each member of the city council is on 2-3 committees to spread the workload.

How can I get involved directly in city government?

There are also commissions and boards that help work through problems and askances from citizens that anyone can get involved in. You can see the most current vacancies here.

What are organizations that can help keep me updated on local politics?

The Witching Hour of course! But also keep an eye on Countable, League of Women Voters, Legiscan, Progressive MA and Move On.

8:20pm-8:30pm: Calling reps and senators 

Call Seth Moulton

+  202-225-8020

If voicemail is full: + 978-531-1669

Hi, my name is [NAME] and I’m a constituent from [CITY, STATE, STREET]. I’m calling for a few reasons. First, I’m calling today to ask Rep. Seth Moulton to support a clean DREAM Act and reject Trump’s demands to include massive, unnecessary spending on border security to the bill. It is unfair and immoral to use the lives of hundreds of thousands of young DACA recipients as bargaining chips to score political gains. Second, I'm calling to urge Rep. Seth Moulton to oppose HR 620, the ADA Education and Reform Act. It is unacceptable to make individuals with disabilities responsible for ensuring businesses comply with the ADA. This bill goes against the spirit of the ADA and will hinder full access to local businesses for people with disabilities. Lastly, I'm calling to ask Rep. Seth Moulton to support [H.R.Res 53 in the House / S.J.Res 5 in the Senate], which would remove the 1982 deadline to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. Now is the time to establish strong legal protections in our Constitution against sex-based discrimination.  [IF LEAVING A VOICEMAIL: please leave your full street address to ensure your call is tallied]

Call and thank our senators

+1 202-224-2742 (Office of Edward J. Markey, one of our Senators)

+1 202-224-4543 (Office of Elizabeth Warren, one of our Senators)

Hi, my name is [NAME] and I’m a constituent from [CITY, STATE, STREET]. I'm calling for a few reasons: First, I’m calling about the president’s anti-immigrant agenda. People who immigrate to the U.S. from other countries bring new jobs, create new business, and enrich our communities. I want [senator’s name] to support the Dream Act (S.1615/H.R. 3440), family unification, and no funding for a wasteful wall or surplus border staffing. Second,  I'm calling to ask Sen. [name] to support S. 1829 and reauthorize funding for the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program. This voluntary, evidence-based program has shown strong returns on investment for individual families and society more broadly. Will s/he commit to restoring funding and supporting our vulnerable neighbors? Thank you for your time and attention. [IF LEAVING A VOICEMAIL: please leave your full street address to ensure your call is tallied]


Maura Healey, Attorney General
+1 617-727-2200

Hi, my name is [NAME] and I'm a constituent from  [CITY, STATE, STREET]. .
I'm calling to thank the Attorney General for joining the lawsuit against the FCC for their rollback of 2015 net neutrality protections. Thank you for your hard work answering the phones. [IF LEAVING A VOICEMAIL: please leave your full street address to ensure your call is tallied]


Alex Azar, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services

+1 202-205-5445

Hello, my name is [NAME] and I’m an American from Salem. I’m calling to leave a message for Secretary Azar. Please tell Mr. Azar that E. Scott Lloyd’s abuse of power as the Director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement is completely unacceptable. Not only has he tried to block multiple undocumented teenagers from obtaining legal abortions, we now know he considered attempting to reverse at least one medical abortion with an unproven drug intervention. Mr. Lloyd must be fired immediately and replaced with a public servant who respects the rule of law. Thank you for your hard work answering the phones. [IF LEAVING A VOICEMAIL: please leave your full street address to ensure your call is tallied]



Choose two events and go to them before the next Witching Hour. Find a buddy, or a few and carpool.

Find all links to Facebook Events in our Google Doc: or in the community page post of this agenda on the HausWitch website! 

2/8/18 Women in Leadership: Performance & Conversation 
2/8/18 New Americans Voter Registration Drive 
2/9/18 Shaun King is Speaking at Northeastern University in Boston 
2/11/18 The Winter Walk 2018 - Ending Homelessness 
2/12/18 Cocktail Resistance 
2/13/18 JPP Candidates Forum: Secretary of State William Galvin 
2/15/18 YDMA Panel: Running for City Council 
2/17/18 Little Voices Big Change: Black Lives Matter! 
2/26/18 Teury Marte for State Senate Kick-off 
2/27/18 Mass. Coalition for the Homeless Legislative Action Day
3/3/18 Backyard Chickens: Eating Local 
3/29/18 Protest & Citizenship 

The Witching Hour is HausWitch’s attempt to help our community stay accountable for their activism. They occur the first Wednesday of every month at 7:30pm at the shop. They focus on a topic, project, or fundraiser. We call representatives, senators and other government officials from around the Salem, MA area about things we care about and donate to local causes. 

Can’t make it to The Witching Hour? Too far away? Thinking about starting your own accountability group? Two words: Do it! Email if you need a little guidance.