The year 2018 for The Young Jurks show (my live streaming politics show) was in one word, remarkable.
The broadcast started the year with an exclusive peak into allegations coming from ex-New England Treatment Access employees, who were blowing the whistle on the sale of moldy cannabis to patients.
Later in the month of January, Boston City Councilor Josh Zakim while campaigning for the Massachusetts Secretary of State office that he did not win, joined Evan Falchuk of the Voter Choice campaign, which is pushing for ranked choice voting in the commonwealth, as a guest.
And then there was our guy, Tito Jackson, the former Boston City Councilor and Mayoral Candidate, the new CEO of Verdant Medical sat with us in February along with guests, Monica Cannon-Grant of Violence in Boston and community leader, Donald Osgood. Jackson was back again in October, and on election night, and he also gave us time at Canna Con. We couldn’t get enough of Tito Jackson in 2018.
TaShonda Vincent-Lee, of Elevate Northeast, who was also Jackson’s campaign manager for his mayoral run, became a regular contributor on the program before moving back to Maryland in the second half of the year. Vincent-Lee continues to be a valued supporter of The Young Jurks.
Later in February, we landed our first interview with a Congressional Representative, Michael Capuano who would only soon later lose his seat to the candidate that the show decided to endorse instead, Ayanna Pressley.
And that reminds me, get to the winning campaigns already. The remarkable part of the year.
Boston City Councilor and the current US Rep elect Ayanna Pressley joined The Young Jurks as a guest in August, just weeks before she defeated the long term incumbent, Capuano. MA State Representative Elect Jon Santiago, a medical doctor, also took our listener calls just weeks before he defeated another long term rep. Additionally during that campaign, Brian Riccio recorded an interview with Santiago for The Young Jurks facebook page, live from Boston’s “methadone mile”. A month after defeating yet another long term incumbent, Mass State Rep Elect, Nika Elugardo graced us for an hour long interview.
Perhaps the biggest and most surprising campaign win of all, The Young Jurks interviewed and endorsed Suffolk County District Attorney Elect Rachael Rollins just days before she upset primary front runner, Greg Henning.
And then there was Massachusetts State Senator Jason Lewis.
From Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commish, Shaleen Title who posted the following on her facebook page about The Young Jurks interview of Senator Lewis,
“I want to share a positive experience as a voter and citizen that was an uplifting reprieve from the general feeling of helplessness and paralysis that the news tends to give me. And probably most of my friends.
Last night I was listening to my state senator, Sen. Lewis, on the Young Jurks show. That in itself is amazing; Sen. Lewis led the opposition of marijuana legalization back in 2016, and the Young Jurks, hosted by my friend Mike Crawford, is known as a pro-cannabis show that asks tough questions on the subject.
Sen. Lewis not only came on the show; after some very thoughtful and informed interview questions from Mike and his (guest) co-host Grant Smith, he admitted outright that he was wrong to have opposed decriminalization back in 2008. That’s not just lip service — I have witnessed that so far even he, the most vocal opponent of legalization, has supported the will of the voters and not tried to stand in the way of the rollout.
He went on to say that he plans to introduce legislation early next year to protect employees who legally use marijuana from losing their jobs, thanks to many of us who have been calling that problem to his attention.
The reason this feels particularly good is because — and I know Mike and Grant can identify with this — marijuana consumers and those who fight for them were belittled, scoffed at, laughed at, treated like children, and generally not taken seriously for so long. Not just that, but in a fight that felt helpless and fractured and without direction or inspiration at times.
Today, this community has become POWERFUL. The Young Jurks has become a show that progressive candidates have to go on if they want the community’s support. And there’s no just showing up and trying to avoid questions and talk about the weather or your dog. You get asked real questions and need to be prepared to answer them.
And, the most important factor of all is Sen. Lewis’s primary challenger, Sam Hammar. Even while being outspent by like hundreds of percent, wow did she make the issues of young working progressive moms matter. She deserves so much credit. Every single Dem elected official should be challenged, even and especially the good ones. Her hard work and what came of it is a perfect example.
This satisfying moment came after years and years of hard work by everyone involved. Extrapolating it... trust me there is a way out of this darkness, I can see it and if you look so can you.”
Other notable interviews, Hammar, who we endorsed over Lewis in the Democratic primary; Super Bowl Champion with the New England Patriots and now retired professional football player, Eric Martin joined us several times, first in-studio to discuss cannabis and the NFL, then later over at CannaCon Boston, and finally at a live remote broadcast from the Temescal Wellness grand opening in Framingham; also creating a buzz was Michael Dundas, CEO of Sira Naturals who answered scores of questions from our listeners about the medical dispensary that he leads.
Then there was the loser who talked a lot of shit, Geoff Diehl, a Republican running for Elizabeth Warren’s Senate seat seemed aggravated at a campaign stop by the questions coming from our field correspondent, Riccio.
With so much good fortune in 2018, even The Young Jurks were bound to have some disappointments. Working with Peabody City Councilor Joe Saslaw, The Young Jurks and the local community were unable to overcome a ban of rec cannabis shops there.
We were also unable to stop the mass artist eviction from our former home at the EMF building in Cambridge.
On a more positive note, we end 2018, proud to have Monica Cannon-Grant and Calvin Feliciano airing right after The Young Jurks, the duo launched their own show, Activist Hour in March which airs at 8pm on Saturday nights.
In November, The Young Jurks and later Activist Hour also moved from their broadcasting partner, WEMF Radio in Brighton to a new home with Disrupt Boston, which currently broadcasts from Down The Road Beer Company in Everett.
In April of 2019, The Young Jurks show aims to officially mark five years with an open to the public, live anniversary broadcast and awards show. I hope you consider joining us to celebrate it.