Gubernatorial candidate Danielle Allen looks to unify state

  • Gubernatorial candidate Danielle Allen speaks to the crowd at Stage on Main in Orange on Sunday.


  • The crowd at Stage on Main in Orange on Sunday for Danielle Allen’s meet and greet featured several returning attendees from previous gubernatorial candidates’ panels.

  • Gubernatorial candidate Danielle Allen speaks to the crowd at Stage on Main in Orange on Sunday. Staff Photo/Julian Mendoza

Staff Writer
Published: 11/8/2021 1:52:36 PM
Modified: 11/8/2021 1:54:45 PM

ORANGE — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Danielle Allen impressed “Meet & Greet Your Statewide Candidates Series” organizers with her commitment to unify Massachusetts during Sunday’s meet and greet at Stage on Main.

Allen, who has two decades of executive experience in the nonprofit sector, separated herself from previous speakers and fellow Democratic candidates Ben Downing and Sonia Chang-Diaz. Although she has no senatorial experience, she leaned on her background in organizational leadership and framed it as a beneficial distinction. Throughout the afternoon, Allen highlighted her team’s COVID-19 response framework (which, she said, was adopted by the Biden-Harris administration) and general background in team-building in an effort to appeal to those in attendance.

Early in her oration, Allen reached back in time to point out Massachusetts’ potential to do more, a strategy also employed by Chang-Diaz. Allen particularly referenced the state’s decision to abolish slavery before anywhere else in the United States to hammer home this point. She then contrasted today’s state-level leadership to this potential and expressed disappointment, a sentiment similarly voiced by Downing and Chang-Diaz.

“We are a leadership state,” she said. “We are not leading right now, but we can.”

As they had in each of the other two meet-and-greet sessions, locals arrived with concerns over feelings of Franklin County’s underrepresentation at the state level. In preparation for this, Allen framed her campaign as one that would work to “build one commonwealth.”

“We all feel the pressure of our broken democracy right now,” Allen said. “To have confidence in our democracy, it has to deliver, and it has to deliver for all of us.”

Attendees asked questions that further (and more specifically) dug into the idea that Western Massachusetts needs more attention. Allen elaborated on her commonwealth-building approach, voicing desires to implement an “office for rural strategies,” “stronger wages” and an “opportunity and equity cabinet.”

Following Allen’s question-and-answer session, event co-host and former state Rep. Denise Andrews said she was impressed by how Allen stood out from the rest of the candidate pool.

“What’s different for me is that it’s clear Danielle has done her homework on one commonwealth and how to build one commonwealth,” she said. “Her time to conceptualize strategic change and mobilize different groups … is unique and extremely valuable.”

Event co-host Susan Hollins said that “all three candidates are very interesting and talented in different ways,” but that Allen’s past experience building a “strong democracy” sets her apart.

“I think her impressive background as an activist for change in government and her vision of a commonwealth that pays attention to all the voices … is extremely interesting,” she said. “She’s brilliant, there’s no question.”

As she had at the other two sessions, Andrews closed out the panel by urging those in attendance to turn their interest into action.

“If you like what you see, it’s not a passive sport, politics. … Time, money and vote is what makes an impact.”

Reach Julian Mendoza at 413-772-0261, ext. 261 or

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