Being a top-level executive in the state government requires an ability to respond to high-pressure and high-stakes situations quickly with poise and decisiveness. Few people understand the importance of this skill as well as Massachusetts Senator Adam Hinds.

After graduating from Wesleyan University and receiving a Master's degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, Hinds spent nearly a decade in the Middle East. While there, he worked on behalf of the United Nations, taking point on negotiations for some of the region's most delicate diplomatic matters.

In Baghdad, Hinds lead a UN negotiation between the Kurdistan Region and the government of Iraq over disputed territory. In Jerusalem, Hinds served as a regional advisor to the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East peace process. Hinds also served in a key role in establishing a ceasefire in Syria in 2012 and the subsequent elimination of its chemical weapons program.

It is these experiences, Hinds said, that separate him from the other candidates in the Democratic primary for Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor.

"Nothing prepares you for standing up for your district in the Senate or taking on the big issues as Lieutenant Governor quite like holding your own in a ceasefire negotiation with the foreign minister of Syria," Hinds said when he joined me in-studio recently. "So (I have) that kind of global international experience, but I'm mostly focused on bringing people together to get things done. This has been a big part of my focus, it has been in the Senate as well – really making sure you have everyone around the table to finally make progress."

Representing Pittsfield, a gateway city in the furthest western corner of the Commonwealth, Hinds understands the importance of fighting for regional equity in Beacon Hill's top legislative priorities.

"Coming from the furthest part of the Commonwealth away from Boston, that's really meant that I have to, in everything that I do, create new line items in the budget," Hinds said. "And really taking that perspective and saying 'Look, we need to fight for every corner of this Commonwealth.'"

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"In fact, I think (New Bedford) Mayor (Jon Mitchell) even mentioned it in his State of the City address that Beacon Hill doesn't exactly wake up in the morning and think of us in the far-reaches of the Commonwealth," he said. "So bringing that perspective to Beacon Hill is priority of mine."

Hinds attended Mayor Mitchell's State of the City Address last week. He said that gateway cities like the one he lives in and represents do experience a lot of the common economic challenges that cities like New Bedford face, recounting the over 13,000 jobs lost in Pittsfield when General Electric relocated years ago. However, Hinds agreed with Mayor Mitchell's statement that different approaches have to been taken with each gateway city.

"So there are those dynamics of 'How do we recover from an industrial economy?' that certainly resonate," Hinds said. "But it is the solutions I think where we have to be careful. So, for a city like New Bedford, sure we have the commonalties of housing and transportation issues which I hear almost anywhere that I go in the Commonwealth. But there are specific economic drivers. So making sure the fishing industry and offshore wind are ready to thrive and making sure the state is making those investments necessary, I think that's critical."

Along with fighting for his district, which is comprised of over 50 municipalities, Hinds has established himself as a leader for climate accountability in Beacon Hill's upper chamber. Hinds crafted key legislation in the Senate's recently passed landmark climate package that will transition the Commonwealth to making electric vehicles more available and affordable.

"We're at this point where GMC has said by 2035 all of their cars are going to be electric," Hinds said. "So I've said okay in Massachusetts let's go down a similar route  and try to have all-new cars electric by 2035 while investing in our electric vehicle infrastructure and a whole range of other things like making sure we have rebates for affordability. Forty percent of our carbon emissions are coming through our transportation sector, so it's clearly where we are lagging behind if we are going to get serious about climate change."

We also discussed the Lieutenant Governor's role in presiding over the Governor's Council and his priorities for judicial appointments, his support for the sports betting legislation and the Work and Family Mobility Act, and his legislation that established rail service from Pittsfield to New York City that will start this summer.

You can listen to the full conversation at the 13:00 mark below.

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