Massachusetts State Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz is considering running for governor against incumbent Governor Charlie Baker for the 2022 gubernatorial election.
Chang-Diaz said in a statement that Massachusetts “need[s] someone in the corner office who feels the same urgency working people do” against the “economic, public health, and racial justice” crises in the state.
Sen. Chang-Diaz is the first Latinx woman elected to the Massachusetts State Senate. She represents the Second Suffolk District as a Democrat, which includes parts of Dorchester, Jamaica Plain, Hyde Park, Mattapan, Mission Hill, Roslindale, Roxbury, and the South End. She is currently serving her seventh term.
Chang-Diaz is the Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Cannabis Policy and the Joint Committee on Children, Families, and Persons with Disabilities. She is also a co-chair of the Massachusetts State Senate’s Racial Justice Working Group.
Before she was elected, Chang-Diaz was a teacher for Lynn Public Schools and Boston Public Schools. She was also the Director of Outreach at the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center and a political adviser at the Barbara Lee Family Foundation.
Chang-Diaz was a major proponent of the Student Opportunity Act of 2019, which aimed to reform school funding and implement $1.5 billion in resources to Pre-K through 12 schools. She also helped create new policing oversight and accountability laws after the death of George Floyd.
Chang-Diaz has been a prominent critic of the vaccine rollout in the state. In February, she compared the process of getting a vaccine appointment to a raffle, as “each incremental advantage buys you another ticket into the drawing.”
White residents have several advantages that aid in the process of getting a vaccine appointment, such as life expectancy over 75, English proficiency, digital literacy, job flexibility, and car ownership. Chang-Diaz said that the rollout is a “textbook case study of structural racism” as “Black, Latinx, and lower-income Bay Staters—those who are the most likely to get infected with coronavirus—are the least likely to have gotten a vaccine.”
Chang-Diaz has stated that the pandemic has shown Baker “not to be the great manager that he convinced Massachusetts he was.” She said that Gov. Baker is prolonging the racial gaps of the pandemic by not implementing vaccination programs that would benefit BIPOC communities. Chang-Diaz urged for a vaccine equity director and a mobile vaccine program to close the racial disparities in vaccinations.
A recent poll was conducted by UMass Amherst and WCVB on the race for governor. Out of the 800 residents polled, 17 percent of said they would vote for Chang-Diaz in a matchup with Governor Baker. The poll also showed a 52 percent approval rating for Baker, a drop from the 78 percent approval rating in August.
Other people who have announced possible campaigns for governor include Geoff Diehl, former Republican member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, and Danielle Allen, a Harvard professor and Democratic candidate. Bob Massie, a Democrat who ran against Baker in 2018, said that Attorney General Maura Healey and Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone are possible contenders for the governor race. Baker himself has not formally announced his campaign for re-election. If elected, this would be Baker’s third term as governor.