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Frances Crowe endorses Bob Massie, who campaigns for governor in Pioneer Valley

  • Bob Massie, Democratic candidate for governor of Massachusetts, center, talks with Jean Pierre Crevier of Southampton, right, while Mike O'Neill of Southampton looks on Jan. 6, 2018 following a meeting with the Southampton Town Democratic Committee at the Edwards Public Library. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Frances Crowe, left, reads “Our Common Future: Bold Leadership for Clean Renewable Energy,” presented to her by Bob Massie, right, a Democratic candidate for governor of Massachusetts, Saturday, in her Northampton home. Earlier in the day, Massie met with Democratic voters in Southampton. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Activist Frances Crowe, left, talks with Bob Massie, Democratic candidate for governor of Massachusetts, Jan. 6, 2018 in her Northampton home. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Bob Massie, one of three Democratic candidates for governor of Massachusetts, right, talks with Mike O’Neill of Southampton on Saturday, following a meeting with the Southampton Town Democratic Committee at the Edwards Public Library. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Bob Massie, Democratic candidate for governor of Massachusetts, left, speaks as Reeny Groden, center, and Janet Cain, both of Southampton, listen Jan. 6, 2018 during a meeting with the Southampton Town Democratic Committee at the Edwards Public Library. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Activist Frances Crowe, left, talks with Bob Massie, Democratic candidate for governor of Massachusetts, Jan. 6, 2018 in her Northampton home. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • The Southampton Town Democratic Committee listens to Bob Massie, Democratic candidate for governor of Massachusetts, speak Jan. 6, 2018 at the Edwards Public Library. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Bob Massie, Democratic candidate for governor of Massachusetts, back center, speaks Jan. 6, 2018 during a meeting with the Southampton Town Democratic Committee at the Edwards Public Library. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Activist Frances Crowe, left, meets Bob Massie, Democratic candidate for governor of Massachusetts, Jan. 6, 2018 at her Northampton home. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Bob Massie, Democratic candidate for governor of Massachusetts, speaks Jan. 6, 2018 during a meeting with the Southampton Town Democratic Committee at the Edwards Public Library. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Activist Frances Crowe, left, talks with Bob Massie, Democratic candidate for governor of Massachusetts, Jan. 6, 2018 in her Northampton home. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Activist Frances Crowe, left, talks with Bob Massie, Democratic candidate for governor of Massachusetts, Jan. 6, 2018 in her Northampton home.

  • Promotional materials for Bob Massie, Democratic candidate for governor of Massachusetts, are displayed Jan. 6, 2018 during a meeting with the Southampton Town Democratic Committee at the Edwards Public Library.



For the Gazette
Monday, January 08, 2018

NORTHAMPTON — From her living room couch, longtime activist Frances Crowe gave Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bob Massie a glowing endorsement.

“I support Bob Massie for governor of Massachusetts,” Crowe said in a video filmed after talking with him. “We certainly need his vision and experience, and I hope you will, too.”

Massie, 61, and Crowe, 98, bonded on Saturday while sharing their experiences as activists for social justice and clean energy. They became involved in activism during different eras — Massie during South Africa’s apartheid era and Crowe after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki — and both have been arrested for protesting environmental issues.

“It’s sad when you have so many wealthy, powerful corporations pushing their agendas through,” Massie said. “Citizens are left with civil disobedience as the final way that they can think of to register their views.”

The activist, author and entrepreneur from Somerville was in the Pioneer Valley campaigning to unseat incumbent Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, who is up for re-election this year.

Massie stopped in Southampton to talk with Democratic voters before heading to Greenfield for a forum with fellow Democratic candidates Setti Warren and Jay Gonzalez. In Northampton, he met Crowe at her home and discussed his environmental plans for the Bay State.

“It’s important to stop pipelines and our dependence on fossil fuel. We need to do that,” Massie said. Utilities “are pursuing fossil fuel and profit because they’re owned by institutional investors and hedge funds, so they’re not really looking to our future. And we have a state commission that supports that. So, one of the things I want to do as governor is change that state commission to people who are committed to renewable energy.”

Both Massie and Crowe see clean energy as a worthy investment for Massachusetts. Energy sources like the wind and sun are alternatives to fossil fuels that would not only be less damaging to the environment, but would create jobs and are an economic opportunity, Massie said.

“We see so many countries that have realized this is the key to prosperity and are moving aggressively to get rid of fossil fuels, and the United States has been very slow. And Massachusetts, unfortunately, has also been slow, and now we have a president who wants to take us backwards, which doesn’t make any sense,” Massie said.

Massie shared with Crowe his plan for “Our Common Future: Bold Leadership for Clean Renewable Energy in Massachusetts.” According to Massie, the plan would see Massachusetts start to transition to 100 percent renewable energy, eliminate restrictions on solar power, stop the building of pipelines and start the building of wind energy-generating facilities.

Massie also said the plan would reduce energy bills, because after a certain point wind and solar energy becomes free.

“We could be exporting energy. Right now, we spend $20 billion bringing fossil fuel into the state,” Massie said. “This is a win-win-win with wind.”

Energy overhaul

Massie was happy to receive Crowe’s endorsement and said people in western Massachusetts have been very receptive to his experience with environmental issues because it’s important to the area: Franklin and Berkshire counties have seen protests against the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co.’s Northeast Energy Direct project, which was ultimately halted.

“He’s kind of the Bernie Sanders of the state,” Crowe said.

At the Edwards Public Library in Southampton earlier in the day Saturday, Massie also talked about his energy plan, passing around printed copies. He also told the Southampton Democratic Town Committee that Baker has been accepting tens of thousands of dollars from companies that profit from fossil fuel and appoints people connected to such companies to utility-regulating positions.

The state, he said, needs a systematic overhaul when it comes to energy.

Massie said his experiences put him in a position to be an effective governor. He had hemophilia as a young child, campaigned for equality while at Princeton University and was ordained as a minister in the Episcopal Church. He has also led sustainability and advocacy groups Ceres and the New Economy Coalition, and invented the Global Reporting Initiative, a system of measuring companies’ records in providing labor and human rights.

Massie said his activism in South Africa and his Harvard MBA give him knowledge about human rights issues and economics, respectively.

“I have that thing that makes me an unusual candidate — somebody that has both the passion and the experience and leadership on these questions that we care about,” Massie said.

In front of the Southampton crowd, Massie detailed some of his other positions: He supports a $15 minimum wage for the state, a transition to a single-payer health care system, and a rebuilding of the transportation system.

He supports the Fair Share Amendment, a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would add a 4 percent tax to some annual incomes of more than $1 million and allow the state to spend the revenue on public education.

Massie acknowledged that he did not have the answers for everything, however.

Pressed on how he could reasonably transform Massachusetts into a state with a single-payer health care system, Massie said he would need to bring the “producers, consumers and insurances” to the table, and that no one person could give a perfect answer.

At that point, an audience member’s iPhone’s Siri coincidentally turned on and said, “I don’t know, who?” The whole room burst into laughter.

“How do you really expect to change anything when things like the Boston Foundation and the Pioneer Institute — big money — is dominating everything and schools like us — Hampshire Regional School, for example — the state has failed to pay us for transportation?” asked Jim Palermo, 77, of Southampton. He said he was concerned that state mandates like buying laptops waste money when other things are more needed.

Massie’s answer was to “put a spotlight on the problem” and then everyone who wants to make change will be able to join in the discussion and implement a solution.

“I think that’s entirely possible because in the Legislature you have some wonderful leaders who are ready to act, but they’re not being invited to act,” he said.

Massie said there are many problems with education, and that solving other problems, like health care, will help solve educational problems and vice versa, because the two are interrelated. A good start to solving problems, Massie said, was getting out and talking to potential voters.