Democratic gubernatorial candidates discuss middle class struggles at Northampton forum

NORTHAMPTON – Democratic gubernatorial candidates Jay Gonzalez, Bob Massie, and Setti Warren participated in a forum at Northampton High School Wednesday night.

The event, which was moderated by former Northampton Mayor Claire Higgins, saw around two hundred people pack into the school’s auditorium to hear the candidates speak. The forum was co-sponsored by the Democratic city and town committees of Amherst, Easthampton, Holyoke, Northampton, South Hadley, and Southampton.

Candidates answered questions from a panel made up of local journalists and academics, and also answered questions that had been submitted from several local non-profits and members of the public.

“The jobs in this state suck,” said Massie at one point, going on to decry the state of opportunity for young people across Massachusetts. Much of the evening’s discussions were in that spirit, and centered around struggling middle class families, income inequality, the opioid crisis, the poor state of public transportation and current Gov. Charlie Baker’s failure to properly mitigate any of these problems for everyday people.

Massie, who has worked as an activist and founder for numerous non-profits and organizations including the New Economy Coalition and Ceres, reiterated throughout the night that he felt Baker’s policies were literally bankrupting the state and the people in it.

Gonzalez, who formerly served as the Deputy Secretary of Administration and Finance in Gov. Deval Patrick’s administration, called Baker a “state quo, wait-and-see Governor,” and criticized him for not taking action where it was needed.

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