‘Sacrifices for the Common Good … Make Us Stronger,’ New Democratic Candidate for Governor Says

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2021/02/08/sacrifices-for-the-common-good-make-us-stronger-new-democratic-candidate-for-governor-says/

Democratic candidate for governor Ben Downing thinks personal responsibility is overrated when it comes to the coronavirus emergency — and wants people to make sacrifices for “the common good.”

Downing, who announced this past weekend that he will run for governor of Massachusetts next year, clarified his take on coronavirus measures in a radio segment for WAMC in December 2020.

In the segment, Downing stated that he supports emergency paid sick time and that Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker (a Republican) should have set an eviction moratorium for renters that lasted for the duration of the pandemic. He also argued that the state’s tax code favors the rich, and that taxes should be raised instead of cutting public transit to reduce the state’s budget, as Governor Baker has considered.

Additionally, Downing critiqued what he sees as inconsistent restrictions when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic that may make the public question Baker’s leadership.

“On the one hand, the public is told to socially distance and specifically to avoid even small gatherings in their homes outside their core family,” Downing said. “On the other, casinos remain open. Indoor dining remains open. The public is right to wonder what harm a dinner party could be if the same group could just meet at the bar around the corner.”

Downing then concluded by saying that he felt as though the government had to do more to help people amid the pandemic:

Massachusetts has all the resources to have minimized the impact of COVID. Instead of saying we are all in this together, the message to the public was and is, we are all on our own. One of the lessons from COVID must be to reject that message. Personal responsibility is not enough.

We can build a fairer, stronger Massachusetts as we rid our communities of this virus. To do so, we must also rid ourselves of the delusion that sacrifices for the common good make us weaker.

They make us stronger. Now we need leaders who understand that.

Downing, 39, served as a state senator from 2007 to 2017, representing Pittsfield. He is the first candidate to formally announce a run.

Democrat and Harvard professor Danielle Allen said in December that she is exploring a run.

On the Republican side, no one has announced. It’s unclear if Baker will seek another term or if Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito will run. Additionally, former state representative Geoff Diehl of Whitman was looking at running for governor as of December.

Downing could not be reached for comment on Monday.