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Sen. Hinds announces 2022 lieutenant governor campaign on steps of Pittsfield city hall

A bald white man in a blue suit and blue knit tie stands at a lectern next to a woman with a baby in a stroller in front of a row of supporters with Adam Hinds lieutenant governor campaign signs and a stone building
Josh Landes
State Senator Adam Hinds on the steps of the Pittsfield, Massachusetts city hall with his wife Dr. Alicia Mireles Christoff and their child.

Since 2017, Democratic Massachusetts State Senator Adam Hinds has represented the Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin, and Hampden District. On the steps of city hall in Pittsfield this morning, Hinds said next year his sights are set on a higher office: lieutenant governor. After his kickoff address, the state Senator talked with WAMC about what inspired his run.

HINDS: We have an unprecedented moment, unique moment in history where we've seen the tremendous flaws in our economy and our commonwealth through COVID, through the racial reckoning, and we have a real opportunity to both confront those at a time when we actually have the resources to do so. And so right now is a time for visionary leadership and somebody who can bring people together to make progress. And that's why I'm joining the race.

WAMC: So why Lieutenant Governor? Why is that the best position to carry out that that agenda?

You know, I want to reimagine what the lieutenant governor's office is and what it does. And to me, it means you can be the center of gravity in the administration for rethinking our systems, rethinking our institutions, bringing people together to do that throughout government. That's what I plan to do.

So why not run for governor?

You know, I'm focused on lieutenant governor because I feel like it's a position where you can really have an impact and run with the critical issues of the moment. And this moment demands that we do more on addressing persistent inequalities and more.

Now, the elephant in the room here is that the very popular governor and lieutenant governor, the Baker-Polito administration, have not made their intentions clear for next year. What happens if they declare?

You know, this isn't about Baker, this is about the future, this is about using the lieutenant governor's office to transform Massachusetts. And so that's what I'm focused on.

So those roles have been traditionally held by Republicans in Massachusetts state history. Walk me through your strategy to convince voters to change parties for those positions.

I'll tell you what- Every single day, I have people telling me that they are upset with what's happening in their lives, right? It's access to transportation, childcare costs, housing, affordability, and on and on. We're not doing enough to confront climate change. That's under this administration. And so people are clamoring for leadership when I when I talk to them every single day, visionary leadership, not more of the status quo. And so now's the moment.

Now, when it comes to the emerging Democratic field for governor next year, at this point, you know, obviously, at some point, you're going to have to hitch your wagon to someone when the stretch gets down to it. When you look at the current Democratic candidates out there for governor, who do you see as a logical ally?

I'll tell you what, you know, I don't decide that. That's decided by the voters. And so it's a powerful field, an impressive field. But right now I'm focused on lieutenant governor and making sure we use that office to transform Massachusetts.

Now obviously, you leaving the position of state senator opens that up. At this point, do you see any clear candidates to replace you in that position?

Yeah, again, that's not up to me. I'm focusing on my race. And so it's been a honor of a lifetime to serve in the state senate and to serve this region that I grew up in and love.

Now, it's also somewhat rare for a Western Massachusetts politician to ascend to those heights of power on Beacon Hill. Walk me through that, that seems like that's another thing you'll have to confront with voters.

I'll tell you what, the fact that you even asked that question and that people are aware of that tells me that there's a need for someone from Western Mass to be in those positions. You know, the government- Again, I hear every single day, people from out here – I'm from Western Mass – people say, the government doesn't work for me, the systems don't pay attention to me, I don't have a voice. I want to make sure that the lieutenant governor and the in the government is governing for all of Massachusetts in every single corner.

Now, you recently chaired a special senate committee on Reimagining Massachusetts Post-Pandemic Resiliency – I think I got that right, I've heard it a few times now. Have you drawn anything from that experience? In your remarks in your kickoff speech today, you drew on what the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed in Massachusetts. So what are you pulling out of that experience of chairing the committee?

Yeah, that's exactly right. And so it's honestly, that process of chairing the senate’s reimagining process to understand very clearly where are the areas where we're falling short- You know, it's our fundamentals around the digital divide and childcare and intergenerational care and housing and transportation. And we were very clear in saying, where do we want to spend the [American Rescue Plan Act] funds? Where do we think that those investments need to go to address these persistent inequalities and the dampeners on our economy as a commonwealth?

You talked a lot about last year’s national racial reckoning after the murder of George Floyd- How do you see the role of lieutenant governor of Massachusetts being a part of that conversation and especially entering it, of course, as a white person in that conversation?

Yeah. So one of the findings is that we need to make sure that we are very clear in identifying how every bill that we pass in every budget that we pass impacts equality or inequality, contributes to inequality. And so I would be laser-focused on that in the role of lieutenant governor. It is the issue of our time, and we have waited far too long to be deliberate in government in addressing it.

So lastly, break down your strategy for me, what's your campaign route going to look like over the next year and change?

Yeah, we're going to work for every single vote. We're going to go to every community and make sure that we're talking to folks because it's- We have to do well in the convention, we have to do well in the primary and so this is about forming a grassroots movement and so far, it's looking good.

Democratic State Representative Tami Gouveia of the 14th Middlesex District is also running. It’s not clear if Republican Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito will seek a third term. Polito’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment when asked about Hinds’ campaign.

Josh Landes has been WAMC's Berkshire Bureau Chief since February 2018, following stints at WBGO Newark and WFMU East Orange. A passionate advocate for Western Massachusetts, Landes was raised in Pittsfield and attended Hampshire College in Amherst, receiving his bachelor's in Ethnomusicology and Radio Production. His free time is spent with his cat Harry, experimental electronic music, and exploring the woods.
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