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Harvard Professor Danielle Allen ‘Exploring’ Candidacy for Massachusetts Governor in 2022

Harvard professor Danielle S. Allen is exploring a candidacy for Massachusetts governor in 2022.
Harvard professor Danielle S. Allen is exploring a candidacy for Massachusetts governor in 2022. By Megan M. Ross
By Meera S. Nair and Andy Z. Wang, Crimson Staff Writers

University Professor Danielle S. Allen is exploring entering the 2022 race for governor of Massachusetts, she tweeted Monday.

“It’s time to lay a new and fair foundation for #OurCommonwealth,” she wrote. “With the right infrastructure beneath our feet, we can create a brighter future together. That’s why I’m exploring a run for Governor of Massachusetts.”

According to Allen’s campaign website, she plans to focus her platform on achieving “a fair and flourishing economy,” “educational excellence,” and “sustainability.” Her beliefs in justice, a foundation of health, and democratic innovation will also shape her possible candidacy.

Allen, who is a political theorist, has swiftly risen in the University’s ranks since she joined Harvard’s faculty in 2016. Just one year and a half after joining the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, then-President Drew G. Faust selected Allen as a University professor — the highest honor a professor can receive.

Earlier this year, Allen was named the 2020 recipient of the Kluge Prize from the Library of Congress, an international award for scholarly achievement in disciplines not covered by the Nobel Prize.

Allen — who holds Ph.D.s from the University of Cambridge and Harvard University — serves as Director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics. Her academic work has focused on democratic theory and the history of political thought.

In a video announcing her campaign, Allen — a self-described “democracy advocate” and “policy innovator” — said the coronavirus, which exacerbated inequality in Massachusetts, served as the “last straw.”

“There’s issues of food insecurity, real inequity in school opportunities, climate issues in the community. I can see all the people in this state who are ready for change,” Allen said.

In April, Allen helped author the Roadmap to Pandemic Resilience, a comprehensive policy guide published by Harvard’s Safra Center for Ethics that promotes the use of testing, tracing, and supported isolation to combat the public health emergency.

Allen also said in the video that her family’s personal experiences with mass incarceration shape her views on society today.

“I grew up in this huge extended family, and some of us sort of got accelerated up on the elevators of opportunity, and others really got stuck in the worst kinds of entrapments,” Allen said.

Allen said she believes elected officials have a responsibility to make society more equitable.

“We all have a role to play in putting our society back on a track that really distributes opportunity fairly, and if our elected officers are not delivering that, then we need to make a change.”

“It’s time for us to lay a new and equitable foundation for our life together in this Commonwealth,” Allen added.

Allen will spend the next three months meeting with Massachusetts residents from across the state, per her campaign website.

—Staff writer Meera S. Nair can be reached at

—Staff writer Andy Z. Wang can be reached at

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