Saturday, May 18, 2024

Danielle Allen, right, in a Feb. 5 campaign photo. (Photo: Danielle Allen for Massachusetts via Facebook)

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Danielle Allen said Tuesday that she is winding down her campaign, leaving by “sounding an alarm” about a process that leaves fewer people such as herself on the ballot.

“I’m incredibly proud to have led these efforts as the first Black woman in the history of Massachusetts to run for statewide office,” Allen said in an afternoon email. “Through both simple math in a winner-takes-all process and limited engagement access for the broader Democratic electorate, the current ballot access procedure through the current caucus system is leading to a serious impoverishment of our democracy – fewer choices on the ballot, fewer nontraditional candidates able to enter the pipeline. In Massachusetts, where we pride ourselves on being the birthplace of democracy, there is no excuse for ballot access procedures that push out qualified but nontraditional candidates and rob the people of Massachusetts of real choice on their ballot.”

Fixing that flaw will be a priority for Allen as she reflects on what’s next, she said, and “my commitment to continue creating progress on these issues – arm in arm with activists and community members across our commonwealth – is unwavering.”

Allen is a Harvard professor and author on politics and education policy who emphasized her experience as an executive for nonprofits, including the running of a $6 billion program as chair of the Mellon Foundation board. She announced her run in June at a speech at the 54th Regiment Memorial in Boston, introduced by Cambridge Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui.

For some in the wider community, the introduction to Allen came in June 2020, as she was added to the Cambridge Public School district’s list of Covid-19 Task Force members. As part of a commitment to ensure officials made policies after hearing diverse perspectives, she led a plan that shifted focus in the metrics used to determine if in-person classes were safe. The “Path to Zero” report suggested that instead of relying on three metrics that measure levels of Covid-19 in Cambridge or Greater Boston, the district look at transmission of Covid-19 in individual schools to evaluate whether to close their classrooms move to remote learning.