After much speculation and wait, state Sen. Adam Hinds on Wednesday officially announced his bid for lieutenant governor.
The sole representative for the Berkshires in the Massachusetts Senate now joins his predecessor in seeking statewide office in 2022. Ben Downing, who held Sen. Hinds’ seat before him, also threw his hat in the electoral ring earlier this year to vie for governor. As we said when Mr. Downing announced his gubernatorial campaign, Sen. Hinds’ shot at lieutenant governor will hopefully bring some much-needed attention to issues disproportionately affecting Western Massachusetts that often go unaddressed.
Having two Berkshire-connected perspectives for the No. 1 and 2 executive seats on Bay State Democratic Primary ballots next year can’t hurt, though both hopefuls have their work cut out for them. A state political climate that often overlooks the western part of the state also makes it harder for candidates with roots here to break out against those with foundations closer to Boston.
Nevertheless, we are hopeful that Sen. Hinds’ entrance into the lieutenant governor’s race can help to underscore these disparities and open up the necessary conversations on addressing them.
While four Democrats have officially announced a gubernatorial run, Republican Gov. Charlie Baker could have the biggest impact in shaping the Democrats’ race. If he does not run for a third term, Attorney General Maura Healey will very likely join the race. Her experience, name recognition and war chest will make her a strong, early favorite. That would have implications not just for Mr. Downing’s nomination chances but for the overall strength of the ticket that Sen. Hinds seeks to jump on for the general.
Meanwhile, Sen. Hinds’ shot at statewide office will shake up the Berkshire legislative delegation amid the shifting sands of redistricting. Sen. Hinds’ district will expand slightly as he departs it. State Rep. Paul Mark, D-Peru, is expected to run for Sen. Hinds’ seat, likely preventing a showdown between incumbent Berkshire representatives in the House. Rep. Mark currently represents the 2nd Berkshire District, whose communities will be scattered among several other House districts. Brendan Phair, an independent from Pittsfield, is also eyeing Sen. Hinds’ seat.
Whatever the success of Sen. Hinds’ lieutenant governor campaign, we welcome what will hopefully be some increased visibility in an important statewide race to the lived experiences of those in Berkshire County and Western Massachusetts. Given the overlooked structural issues that have recently been highlighted by the state auditor and others, it’s a good time to have a couple Berkshire lenses on next year’s state ballots.