VICTORY: Advocates override Gov. Baker's arts veto
On July 29th, six months of advocacy by the arts, cultural and creative community paid off as the Massachusetts Legislature successfully voted to override Governor Charlie Baker’s arts veto, restoring $2.3 million to the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC). This unanimous vote in the Senate and a 153-2 vote in the House showed bipartisan support and said loud and clear to Gov. Baker that state investment in arts and culture should be on his list of priorities.
This vote brought the Massachusetts Cultural Council budget back to $14.16 million, the largest increase in state investment in the past nine years.
This victory is a direct result of the creative community’s advocacy. In the week leading up to the Legislature’s vote, arts and cultural leaders and supporters sent over 4,000 messages to their Representatives and Senators. It was this flurry of activity that sparked Sen. Dan Wolf and Rep. William “Smitty” Pignatelli and 104 other legislators, a record number, to sign a letter to Leadership requesting their support for a veto override.
Arts advocates elevated the conversation by taking it to Twitter and Facebook. In the true style of online grassroots movements, the community used social media to speak up and leverage our collective advocacy work. Massachusetts residents took to Twitter, urging their legislators to fight this veto and publicly show their support for arts and culture. And it worked. Many legislators who were mentioned in tweets responded back, proving that our advocacy voices online can carry weight at the State House. A real-time rundown, chock full of social media highlights is available over at MASSCreative’s storify.
We've seen it all this budget season. From the beginning, we saw a series of cuts and increases leading up to the veto, and arts advocates were there every step of the way taking part in the public process. Despite the obstacles, the arts and cultural community came out victorious.