I ANNOUNCED THAT I was running for governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts one year ago to the day last week. I got into the race before Gov. Charlie Baker said he wouldn’t be running for re-election. I got into the race because I believed – as I still do – that there is nothing inevitable about the slow pace of change in our state, that has consistently failed to tackle the biggest issues faced by working people and communities of color.
We can pass a Green New Deal, enact same-day voter registration, win debt-free college, close the racial wealth divide, and deliver universal preschool. We have Democratic supermajorities. We have the resources. In the end, all we lack is the political courage to make it happen.
During my time on Beacon Hill, I have never shied away from being honest – even when it was hard. That’s part of what enabled me to win major education funding reform, and the nation’s strongest police accountability law. And it’s a strategy I stood by last week when making the difficult decision to stop campaigning for governor. I chose to be honest with my supporters and myself: Looking at the numbers every which way, I saw no responsible path in the remaining 10 weeks that led to my being elected Governor this year.
That does not mean there’s no path to victory for the movement. Often, when candidates exit a race, there is a certain way in which they are supposed to do it. Retreat from public life. Paper over differences in the race. Hoard as much political capital and money as possible for a future run.
But I do not believe following these unwritten rules would hold true to this campaign or serve the people across this state I got into this race to fight for. This might be an end to my time actively campaigning for governor, but it is not an end to campaigning for the values that brought me to this race in the first place.
The reality is that this race has always been about more than just me. It’s been about building a movement for courage and urgency in this state. Courage and urgency for a planet on fire, for families who are living paycheck to paycheck, for BIPOC kids who believe government doesn’t see them.
That’s why I’m using the energy my campaign has built up over the past year to back a slate of candidates who embody the values of putting courage over politics. At the same time I announced I was going to stop actively campaigning for governor, I announced that I will be campaigning for Raul Fernandez, Sam Montaño, Vivian Birchall, Ricardo Arroyo, and Rahsaan Hall. I am proud to back this slate of Courage Democrats and I’m encouraging my supporters to join me. I know these candidates will walk the walk and be willing to challenge anyone who stands in the way of winning what working families need – no matter which party they are from.
So, voters of Massachusetts, I am no longer asking for your vote.
I am, however, asking you to join me in giving something equally precious – your time.
If you planned to vote for this campaign, please consider volunteering for this slate of Courage Democrats. Participate in our campaign’s voter registration drives to help enfranchise historically disenfranchised communities. Become a part of a movement organizing across the Commonwealth to build a future where courage comes before politics.
I truly believe that together we have the chance to make an enormous difference at the state and local level, build power for years to come, and win real, progressive change for people across Massachusetts.
State Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz of Boston is a former Democratic candidate for governor.