The Massachusetts Democratic Party is planning an in-person platform convention this September in Lowell.
The party will return to the city that last May was supposed to host a convention that would have featured two of the party's biggest names — Ed Markey and Joseph Kennedy — vying for support in a high-profile primary for U.S. Senate.
Massachusetts Democratic Party Chairman Gus Bickford sent an email to state committee members Thursday evening outlining the plan, which will allow delegates to participate remotely if they are uncomfortable being in a full arena.
"Leading up to the convention, we'll closely monitor recommendations from public health officials and adapt our plan as necessary to ensure the health and safety of our delegates," Bickford wrote in the email, a copy of which was reviewed by the News Service. "This includes moving to a virtual convention should that be required."
Bickford last March canceled the May nominating convention as COVID-19 took hold in Massachusetts, instead directing Secretary of State William Galvin to put both Markey and Kennedy on the ballot without a vote of the convention.
With 2021 being an off-election year, this year's convention at the Tsongas Arena on Sept. 25 will be a platform convention — the first since 2017.
"In the four years that have passed, we've fought hard to return decency, compassion, and hope to the Oval Office and elect Democrats across the ballot," Bickford said. "We picked up seats at the state and county level, and staff and volunteers from the Bay State led Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to victory across the country. As President Biden and Vice President Harris build our country back better than it was before, we're preparing to revisit our Party Platform once again."
The announcement of the platform convention plans comes as the party wrestles with its position toward Israel. In Gaza, Israeli airstrikes have killed at least 230 people, including dozens of children. Israel says militants fired some thousands of rockets into the country, killing 12 people. Israel and Hamas have accepted a cease-fire plan set for early Friday.