The 617: Bob Massie

On Feb. 27, the Tufts Democrats welcomed Bob Massie as the third and final speaker in their gubernatorial speaker series in partnership with Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life. While the event wasn’t overflowing with people, students still showed up to hear about what Bob Massie had to say.

Bob Massie was born with the disorder hemophilia — a bleeding disease that causes joints to swell with blood. By the age of four, Massie couldn’t walk. He spoke of the lessons this taught him, such as learning, “Sometimes you can be very eager to connect with a group … and yet people react to you sometimes with fear, and with judgement and with prejudice.” Massie then explained how this went on to affect the rest of his life and his passion for activism. In high school, Massie became dedicated to human and labor rights. In college, women’s rights and labor rights were important to him. Massie grew up during Apartheid and spoke of how deeply that affected him and impassioned him. He decided to attend the Yale Divinity School and he became ordained.

Massie spoke to how he clinched the Democratic nomination for Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts in 1994, but unfortunately ended up losing. Massie was an excellent public speaker and engaged the audience by asking us what we wanted to see from the world in 20 years and if we were on the path to obtain that.

As someone with such a big name in the private sector, having led Ceres and founded the Massachusetts Energy Efficiency Coalition, Massie was of course very focused on climate change. Massie said that, “We could do a great deal just by building the economy in Massachusetts around the concept of sustainability.” He even mentioned that Governor Baker used to be a “climate denier” and how important it was for a governor to address climate change and renewable energy.

Very few tangible political goals came from Massie’s speech. One that did was to create a committee on future work to address the rise in artificial intelligence that is taking jobs away from the economy. Otherwise, Massie addressed his lack of a political “checklist” by saying, “I think that in this race, we have the opportunity not only to define the problems which are severe but also to weigh out the opportunities … [the other Democratic candidates in this race] tend to have a checklist … but I see this structural flaw in the economy as a whole, that needs to be addressed systematically, systemically … Then we can move forward with unifying the state into a single commonwealth…”  While it can be great for a candidate to remain open to all ideas and not be confined by a checklist, it’s necessary to have a strong platform based on some kind of tangible changes. Reforming the entire economy and how society functions is a task that no governor would be able to fix in four years. It’s important to focus on the short term fixes that can help Massachusetts families immediately.

Massie’s gubernatorial headquarters are right in Davis Square, at 53 Chester Street. Massie encouraged everyone to stop by and spoke to how many people had been trickling in recently. Get involved in the 2018 race for governor! Massie’s office is looking for volunteers to help aide their fight for a greener, more equitable Massachusetts.