A third Democrat has entered the 2022 race for Massachusetts governor.
State Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz from Boston joined former state Sen. Ben Downing and Harvard professor Danielle Allen as candidates. Chang-Díaz is the first Latina to be elected to the state senate, and she is a former public school teacher who has advocated for a range of progressive causes.
WBUR's Morning Edition spoke to her after she kicked off her candidacy Wednesday with a series of events across the state. She said she's entering the race to try to bring systemic change, and that "we can't wait any longer."
"I'm tired of waiting for government to live up to our hopes and the needs of our families," Díaz said. "You know, when I say systemic change, I mean change in our education systems, change in our housing, change in our transportation system and our health care in our environmental stewardship. These are all things that working families have been waiting on for years and years and years."
Highlights from this interview have been lightly edited for clarity.
On what issue she'd own and get to work on right away if elected
Well, I know the temptation is to pin me down to one issue, but I really think I would be doing a disservice to the working families that I'm in this race for, to oversimplify and say, if we just get this one thing right — I mean, if there is one silver bullet that we have in public policy, I do believe that it is public education. I will define that as from 0 on to post-12th grade. We need to expand our definition of what public education is. And if we can get that right, we are going to take a huge bite out of many of the other issues and challenges that we face as a Commonwealth.
On whether she views name recognition outside Greater Boston as a challenge
There are a lot of people I am going to meet and I'm really looking forward to meeting across this Commonwealth. But what I experienced, just in day one, is that these are people in many cases that I had been working in the trenches with for years on education funding reform, criminal justice reform, on transgender equal rights, on civil rights issues, on economic development and economic justice. So a lot of these are not new relationships. Some of them will be, many of them will be.
On Gov. Charlie Baker's popularity and how she'll find compromise to reach his voters
So I think the question is, what is the governor doing with that popularity? We need someone in the corner office who feels the same urgency that working people do and who is willing to confront the problems that working families are experiencing with the same determination that they're living, and who are going to face our problems head on and not run away from them and not minimize them. And I think that is not a partisan issue.
On what distinguishes her from other Democratic candidates in the race
Well, I think that I have worked shoulder to shoulder with communities across this Commonwealth for over a decade now. And together we have shown that we can take what people said was impossible and turn it into the law. And I am in this race to have the deepest and the most empowering conversation with Massachusetts about the kind of Commonwealth that we all want to raise our kids in and we want to hand on to the next generation. And I am looking forward to a very robust debate about that.
This segment aired on June 24, 2021.