Candidates for governor speak at College Democrats

Candidates for governor speak at College Democrats
Setti Warren, one of the three Democratic candidates for governor, speaks to the Northeastern College Democrats. / Photo by Albert Tamura

By Morgan Lloyd, campus editor

Two Democratic candidates for Massachusetts governor harshly criticized the state’s politics while discussing new solutions to fix economic inequality and social issues in an event held by Northeastern University College Democrats Saturday night.

Both candidates, 47-year-old former Newton Mayor Setti Warren and 61-year-old progressive activist and Somerville resident Bob Massie, agreed with each other on many issues, and united in their dislike of current Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration.

“I think some of you may have noticed that as Setti was talking, I was nodding, and you’re not supposed to do that in politics. You’re supposed to look sternly at your opponent and shake your head,” Massie said. “I think the important thing is that we do agree, as Democrats, on many things.”

Although Massie and Warren have similar political platforms, their backgrounds are different. Warren served for nine years as an intelligence specialist in Iraq before coming back and running a grassroots campaign for mayor of Newton.

“A lot of smart political people told me, ‘Don’t run, you can’t win.’ I’d never been in elected office before,” Warren said. “So I knocked on 11,000 doors in that first campaign: good old-fashioned grassroots politics. I won that election by 469 votes.”

Massie, meanwhile, has extensive experience as an activist, fighting apartheid in South Africa and working to create greater corporate accountability with regards to climate policy. He has also struggled with hemophilia, a disease that prevents the normal clotting of blood, and HIV throughout his life, which he credits with jumpstarting his passion for social justice work.

Bob Massie, a 61-year-old progressive activist and Somerville resident, is running for governor of Massachusetts. / Photo by Albert Tamura

“I discovered at an early age that people tend to be afraid of those who are different,” Massie said. “What I learned from that is just how important it us for us to uphold the principles of inclusion and equality and justice to be a welcoming community, because I’ve been on the negative side of that. And I realized very early, by the time I was in high school, that I was certainly not the only person who had been subjected to that kind of judgment and discrimination and exclusion.”

Currently, Baker has a large lead over both candidates in the polls. A poll published on Nov. 15 found Baker leading Warren 58 to 24 percent and Massie 60 to 21 percent.

A third Democratic candidate, former Secretary of Administration and Finance for Massachusetts 46-year-old Needham resident Jay Gonzales, was scheduled to speak but had to cancel as a result of an unforeseen health emergency.

“It was very last minute,” said College Democrats vice president and second-year political science and economics combined major Chris Mirabella. “The Northeastern Dems, we really wish him well. We don’t want him to be out of commission, because there are three great candidates in this race.”

One of the biggest issues for both candidates was addressing economic issues in Massachusetts. Warren listed a number of improvements he wanted to see implemented, such as greater G.I. Bill benefits, a single-payer health care system and free public college. Massie focused on environmental issues, advocating for building the state’s economy based on sustainability.

Both candidates agreed, however, that neither of their planned visions are likely to be executed under current Gov. Baker and the current administration, whose financial strategy they see as ruinous.

“Every single one of the budgets coming out of Beacon Hill here need to be based in outcomes for the people, the people of the Commonwealth, and we can’t be afraid to raise revenue at the state level,” Warren said. “As I started to move around the Commonwealth, it became very clear to me that people and communities are falling behind.”

Both candidates also criticized Baker for his deference toward the current presidential administration and its policies.

“He’s a nice guy, but he’s a right-wing Republican,” Warren said. “There are plenty of nice guys that I know who I would not want to be governor.”

Even though Baker has a 75 percent approval rating, Massie felt confident about the race against him, provided that Democrats got engaged in the campaign.

“If people were to realize we have the votes to beat him, we’d beat him,” Massie said.

Both candidates passed around clipboards, encouraging the students who attended to sign up for their campaign.

“Please get involved. It doesn’t matter who it’s with,” said Mirabella. “It’s really important during this time.”

Leave a Reply