Former state Senator Ben Downing has announced he is entering the 2022 race for governor of Massachusetts.

Downing, a Democrat born and raised in Pittsfield, said he will run "to build a fairer, stronger Massachusetts." Downing is the first person to declare candidacy in the governor's race. Republican Governor Charlie Baker has not yet revealed if he will seek a third term.

In a video released this morning, Downing said he will work for the state's forgotten regions.

“Growing up in Pittsfield, I lived what it meant to be an afterthought in the state’s political power circles,” said Downing. “Now, as an East Boston resident, I’m part of a new community just as familiar with being written off." Downing said he has lived "in communities that have had to fight harder than they should to get fair representation, equitable access to resources, and attention from Beacon Hill."

Downing was elected to the state senate in 2006 at the age of 24 to represent his Berkshire County district. He served for a decade and stepped down in 2017 to work at NextAmp, a renewable energy company.

Downing touted his legislative efforts to accelerate clean energy and respond to climate change, to rebuild urban and rural economies, reduce poverty and hunger, strengthen state ethics laws, and expand protections for transgender individuals.

Downing, 39, lives in East Boston with his wife, Micaelah Morrill, and their two young sons Malcolm, 3, and Eamon, 9 months.

Although Downing is the first to declare, he's not likely to be the last. On the Democratic side, Harvard professor Danielle Allen is exploring a bid for governor. Many are watching Attorney General Maura Healey for her next move. On the GOP side, former state Rep. Geoff Diehl is a potential candidate, and many see Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito as a proabable contender if Baker does not run.

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