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Harvard Professor Danielle Allen Announces Run For Massachusetts Governor

Danielle Allen delivers campaign speech
Paul Tuthill

    A new candidate entered the 2022 race for governor of Massachusetts today.

   Saying she wants to accelerate the pace of change, Harvard University professor Danielle Allen announced her run for the Democratic nomination for governor.

    " I am announcing my run for governor to reimagine this Commonwealth," Allen said.

   Addressing a small group of volunteers and supporters, Allen delivered the maiden speech of her campaign standing in front of a Black Lives Matter mural on the side of a building in downtown Springfield Tuesday afternoon.   She spoke earlier in the day in Boston.

   Allen, who has never held elected office, is the first Black woman to run for a major party nomination for governor in Massachusetts history.  If elected, she would be the first Black female governor in the United States.

    The 49-year-old is a political theorist at Harvard and director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics.

     " Imagine a state government that in a crisis jumps in and activates all of our talents in response. Imagine one Commonwealth where those who are in power recognize their reponsibilitiy to the greater good and where thouse who fell powerless are reconnected to their own agency through communal action. That's what democracy is about: coming together, working together, learning together, deciding together, and acting together."

    Allen said she was inspired to get into politics by her own family’s history – her father ran for office in California as a Ronald Reagan conservative.   She said the state’s response to the pandemic was the impetus for her decision to run for governor.

     "I just really could not believe what I was watching around me from the sense of people not actually pitching in to build protection for all of us,"  Allen said.

    Allen said her policy priorities include housing, education, transportation, jobs, and justice.

    After announcing in December that she was exploring a run for governor, Allen had been traveling the state to talk with residents.  She said she heard a lot about the issues of concern to people in Western Massachusetts.

      " I heard from a lot of people about young people moving away and not staying in this part of the state," Allen said. "East-west rail that is clearly important, definately a high priority. In the context of the pandemic I heard about slowness by Beacon Hill.  Testing did not come out here as quickly as needed and vaccination sites were inconvenient.  That is the dynamic I want to change I want us to be one commonwealth."

     Allen is the second Democrat to announce a run for governor after former State Senator and Pittsfield-native Ben Downing.  State Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz is exploring a bid.

    Some other big names have to be heard from before the gubernatorial field can take shape, said Matt Szafranski, Editor-in-Chief of Western Mass Politics & Insight.

     "The race is kind of on ice until we know what (Republican) Gov. Baker is going to do, if he is going to seek reelection," Szafranski said. "The other major player of course is Attorney General Maura Healey. If she gets into the Democratic side, that will change the entire field as well."

    Allen’s campaign has raised about $300,000 – more than both Downing and Chang-Diaz.


The record-setting tenure of Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno. The 2011 tornado and its recovery that remade the largest city in Western Massachusetts. The fallout from the deadly COVID outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers Home. Those are just a few of the thousands and thousands of stories WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill has covered for WAMC in his nearly 17 years with the station.
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