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The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

SU Dems hosts discussion on Mass. gubernatorial race

William Woodring
Suffolk sophomore Stephen Merrick speaks at Suffolk Democrats meeting

The Suffolk University Democrats hosted a discussion on the party’s gubernatorial primary featuring representatives from two campaigns.

The event, held during Tuesday’s activities period, comes just ahead of the deadline to apply for the add-on delegate position at the Massachusetts Democratic State Convention. 

SU Dems Vice President Stephen Merrick explained that the state convention happens each year to vote on either a party policy platform or on statewide party candidates. These candidates must secure 10,000 signatures and earn support from 15% of the convention to make the democratic primary ballot this fall.

Merrick went on to discuss the process for becoming a delegate. Each Democratic Town Committee selects a proportional number of delegates, and the state party also admits add-on delegates for youth ages 18-35, underrepresented ethnic and racial groups, people with disabilities and those who identify as LGBTQ+. Applications for these positions are due this Saturday.

Merrick said he was excited to see the SU Dems host the event.

“Today’s event was all about helping students get their voices heard in the process of choosing our next governor, whether or not they choose to have their voices heard on the campaign trail or at the convention is up to them, but I’m glad they at least had some opportunity here,” he said.

State Senator Sonia Chang-Díaz’s husband, Brian Hirsch, and Marcella Castile, a regional field director on Attorney General Maura Healey’s campaign, presented their respective campaigns. 

Chang-Díaz currently serves as the Massachusetts State Senator for the 2nd Suffolk District, which includes the Boston neighborhoods of Roxbury, West Roxbury and Roslindale. Her website said she is running a campaign of progressive change. 

Hirsch spoke of Chang-Díaz’s plan for a Green New Deal as well as her focus on education. Chang-Díaz’s campaign has talked at length of her campaign’s priority on closing education inequities. 

Before her political career, Chang-Díaz was a public school teacher in Lynn. She told CommonWealth Magazine that she saw the difference between Lynn and her public education in Newton, and that is a big inspiration behind her politics.

“I saw the difference between those two worlds and the way that that gap narrowed the life choices for my kids in Lynn,” Chang-Díaz said. “And that really made me mad, as you could imagine, and it pushed me back into organizing in order to try to accomplish the changes that I thought would bring about systemic change for my students.”

Castile, a recent graduate of Emerson College, explained to students ways in which they could get involved in Healey’s campaign and talked about Healey’s policy on student loan forgiveness.

Healey made headlines as attorney general of Massachusetts earlier this year after announcing a settlement with major student loan service, Navient. The company agreed to a $1.8 billion settlement and to forgive $43.2 million in federal loans to Massachusetts students in January as a result of Healey’s joint suit with 39 other states.

“Student borrowers here in Massachusetts and around this country who were already facing financial hardships were driven further into debt by Navient at a time when they needed help most,” Healey said at the time of the settlement. “They’ve held people back from doing things like buying homes, buying cars, saving for retirement or pursuing careers.”

Merrick said the SU Dems event shows the political power that young people have.

“We were extremely grateful that both major Democratic campaigns reached out, and wanted to talk to our students,” he said. “It really shows how much of a game changer people in our generation have become in recent elections.” 

Merrick also said he hopes his club is able to hold similar events in the future.

“I really hope we can hold more events like this in the future as the race heats up, and regardless of who our nominee is I firmly believe the commonwealth will be in good hands under a Democratic administration,” Merrick said.

The Democratic Convention will take place on June 3 and 4 at the DCU Center in Worcester. Those interested in applying to be an add-on delegate can do so here before applications close on April 9.

The Massachusetts Primary Election will take place on Sept. 6 and the General Election will take place on Nov. 8.

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About the Contributor
William Woodring, Senior Editor-at-Large | he/him
Will is a senior majoring in public relations. He is originally from Medway, Massachusetts. In his free time, he enjoys listening to music, writing, reading, and running. He is interested in political journalism and hopes to go into politics after graduating. Follow Will on X @woodringwill

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SU Dems hosts discussion on Mass. gubernatorial race