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Sonia Chang-Díaz on her bid for governor

With the Massachusetts Democratic Convention less than a month away, state Senator Sonia Chang-Díaz is looking to get at least 15 percent of delegates to earn a spot on the ballot in the governor’s race this fall. On Boston Public Radio Tuesday, she outlined her priorities and what differentiates her in the race.

“We just still have too many people in our government who are more concerned with holding on to their power rather than doing something with it,” Chang-Díaz said. “That’s maddening and frustrating, and I’m fed up with it, and a lot of families across Massachusetts are fed up with waiting — and if we want culture change in Beacon Hill to tackle these problems more urgently, that kind of culture change needs to start from a governor.”

When pressed for specifics, Chang-Díaz refrained from calling out anyone by name. “It varies from issue to issue,” she said.

On Attorney General Maura Healey, largely considered the frontrunner in the race, Chang-Díaz criticized her opponent as not strong enough on justice issues.

“The question is not just ‘Are you a person who is holding onto power rather than doing something with it,’ but ‘Are you a person who is enabling that by being silent?’” Chang-Díaz said. “We have seen so many times over and over — whether it’s on issues of police accountability, racial justice, economic justice — silence is violence, and when people don’t come off the sidelines in order to stand up to that, nothing changes. ”

The state Senator also pointed to policy differences between herself and Healey. “I’m the only candidate in this race that supports single-payer health care, that supports fare-free transit, that supports debt-free public college in Massachusetts,” she said.

She also criticized Gov. Charlie Baker on the student debt crisis and how his administration of him handled the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home, calling his identity of him as a moderate conservative, in contrast with much of the national Republican party, “a very low bar.”

“Not voting for Donald Trump has not made the crushing student debt that many Bay Staters are carrying go away,” she said. “There are many issues that I have disagreed with the governor on, his handling of the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home certainly is one of them.”

On student debt, Chang-Díaz emphasized her support for the Debt Free Future Act, which would make Massachusetts public colleges tuition free with additional grant money for low-income students, as well as her agreement with Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Ayanna Pressley in their calls for student loan forgiveness.

Chang-Díaz also highlighted her Green New Deal plan, which involves environmental justice legislation and promotes green energy. She said she wants to see tax policies that support low-income families without hidden benefits for the wealthy and corporations that benefited from the pandemic.

“We also have to be clear with folks that tax policy is not the only way and often not the most efficient way to deliver help and to deliver relief for working families,” she said. “If we want to help folks who are struggling with inflation right now, let’s talk about your free transit to make it cost accessible, let’s talk about universal, accessible child care in Massachusetts.”

Chang-Díaz needs to win 15 percent of the delegates to the state Democratic Convention next month to earn a spot on the primary ballot in the fall.

“You never know exactly what the percentage is going to be going in because the denominator wiggles a little bit depending on who shows up on convention day,” she said. But she hopes those undeclared delegates bode well for her campaign. “I’m confident, I feel solid about where we are going into convention.”

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