Jamaican Democratic Senator Sonia Chang-DÃaz plans to officially enter next year’s gubernatorial contest on Wednesday, kicking off her campaign with a hit on “Beacon Hill insiders” which she describes as lacking urgency.
The first Latina elected to the state Senate and currently the only woman of color to sit in the body, Chang-DÃaz deploys a campaign video that touts legislative achievements in education funding and criminal justice reform.
âThese victories have not been easy. Beacon Hill insiders dragged their feet every step of the way, saying ‘think smaller.’ Instead, we have shamelessly fought for the things that working families have. really need it, âshe says, according to the script for the video.â They said our ideas were impossible, we made it law. The problem is, this kind of emergency in our state government is always the exception rather than the rule. Too many leaders are more interested in retaining power than in doing something with it. “
Chang-DÃaz joins a Democratic field that so far includes Harvard professor Danielle Allen and former Senator Ben Downing, whose time at Beacon Hill has overlapped with his. On the Republican side, Governor Charlie Baker has yet to say whether he is considering running for a third term.
A former teacher, Chang-DÃaz has served in the State Senate since 2009 and has run unopposed in her last two races. She co-chairs the Cannabis Policy Committee and the Joint Committee on Racial Equity, Civil Rights and Inclusion.
In addition to stops in Springfield and Worcester, a campaign aide said Chang-DÃaz plans to hold a launch event Wednesday afternoon outside English High School in Boston, the site where Baker in 2019 signed a law to reform the financing of schools known as the Student Opportunities Act.
Chang-DÃaz authored one of the bills that became the basis for this $ 1.5 billion law – which has yet to be implemented – and has lobbied for years for an overhaul of the funding formula to better reflect the costs associated with teaching low-income students English learners, special education and employee health care.
In the Senate, Chang-DÃaz has been a voice for progressive causes, from criminal justice reform to the most recent Police Accountability Act Baker signed last year. She was among the main negotiators of the Police Reform Bill and has also recently advocated for efforts to ensure greater equity in the state’s vaccination strategy against COVID-19.
In his video, Chang-DÃaz talks about his family background, saying his mother was a social worker and his father an immigrant who became NASA’s first Latino astronaut.
âIf my mom can spend her life helping kids escape poverty, surely Massachusetts can pass a millionaires’ tax to help more kids get a better start in life,â she says. “If America can send a poor child from Costa Rica into space, surely Massachusetts can make our infrastructure greener and bridge the racial wealth gap.”
More than a year before the 2022 Democratic primary, the contest centers on candidates from the Boston area – Chang-DÃaz lives in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood and his Senate district also includes parts of Dorchester, Hyde Park, Mattapan, Mission Hill, Roslindale, Roxbury and the South End. Downing, who represented the Berkshires in the Senate, now lives in East Boston and Allen resides in Cambridge.
Allen, the first black woman to run for governor of Massachusetts as a major party candidate, officially launched his campaign last week, criticizing a “pretty rough start” on immunizations and saying Massachusetts needs a “administration that sees and invests in leadership ideas, solutions that emerge from the field, helps make them evolve “.
Downing, who in February was the first hope for governor to declare, also did so with an emergency call from Beacon Hill and criticism of the vaccine rollout. He said that, if elected, he would “constantly push” his former colleagues in the Legislature to make progress on issues such as climate change, economic justice and racial equity.
Chang-DÃaz announced at the end of March that she was “seriously consider“a run for governor. The following month she received over $ 21,000 in donations and, as of May 31, her campaign account balance stood at nearly $ 203,165, so far standing at in the middle of the pack among declared Democrats.
While she was thinking about it, a “Draft Sonia Chang-DÃaz” campaign broadcast online, arguing: “At this critical time, Massachusetts needs a governor like Sonia Chang-DÃaz to lead a movement for gradual change from the corner office, fighting for justice and fairness across the Commonwealth.”
State Representative Nika Elugardo was among those who said they signed the petition.
Allen’s campaign has about $ 283,279 in the bank and Downing’s $ 111,399, according to the Office of Campaigning and Political Finance.
Contributions that have poured in since Chang-DÃaz first launched his offer include $ 250 from 2014 gubernatorial candidate Donald Berwick, $ 100 from 2018 congressional candidate Alexandra Chandler, and $ 1,000 from a former Senate colleague, Cape Air CEO Daniel Wolf.
Baker has more than $ 484,000 on hand, and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito’s balance exceeds $ 2 million, including the more than $ 47,800 she raised in May.
Chang-DÃaz is not the only state senator considering a statewide candidacy in 2022. Senator Diana DiZoglio, a Democrat from Methuen, is running as an auditor, and others are said to be considering campaign for a higher position.
In the House, Representative Tami Gouveia, a Democrat from Acton, announced it candidate for lieutenant governor earlier this month.