Bob Massie, co-founder of The Murninghan Post and publisher emeritus, today announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts. While we intend to maintain the highest standards of journalistic decorum, we’re thrilled to pieces. We’ve known Bob for more than 25 years, and can’t think of anyone better suited to represent us – all of us, whatever stripe or size – in the nation’s capital. As you can tell from recent posts, what happens in politics with a big or little ‘P’ affects just about every aspect of sustainable prosperity and justice. We’re all in this together, whatever path we take to make a difference.
Why is Bob running? A full statement appears on his online campaign website, www.bobmassie.org. “The United States, as it has many times, stands at a crossroads,” he begins. “Some feel we are facing inevitable decline. Today we are in danger of losing our way…. We have many problems that require careful consideration – how to reinvigorate our economy, revive our education, and provide for citizens who have been struck down by misfortune – but we will not make progress unless we restore our ability to dream dreams.”
Why does he think he can make a difference? “Because I have a lifetime of personal and professional experiences where I have fought for what I believed in,” he says. “My whole career has been dedicated to different forms of public service, pursuing the spiritual and practical goals that American values instilled in me.”
An article about Bob’s decision appears in tomorrow (Sunday’s) Boston Globe, titled “The timely return of Bob Massie”, written by editorial page editor Renée Loth. It’s already online (and, of course, not an endorsement). “Remember Bob Massie?” it begins. “The 1994 candidate for lieutenant governor doesn’t think so, and he’d like to reintroduce himself.
“I’ve been away a long time,’’ he said in an interview.
And it was a trying time: a worsening of hepatitis C associated with his hemophilia; painful medical treatments and a more painful divorce; a seven-year wait for a liver transplant, languishing on a Somerville couch, hating the winters.
… But today, at 54, Massie is happily remarried, has the liver of a much younger person, and says he is in better shape physically than he’s ever been. His hepatitis viral load is essentially zero.
Bob’s declaring his candidacy early because running for office is a grueling challenge, particularly since the incumbent, Scott Brown, has been called the most popular politician in the Bay State. Brown, a Republican who served terms in both the Massachusetts House of Representatives and Senate, secured an upset victory in the special election held last January to fill the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy’s seat. He’s since become a star, although the Boston Herald reported today that he considers himself “the underdog”.
As Loth wrote, “Massie is certainly an unusual candidate. An ordained Episcopal priest with a PhD from Harvard Business School, he is an award-winning author and social entrepreneur who also happens to be one of the longest-surviving HIV patients on the planet. He was infected during a blood transfusion 32 years ago but never developed AIDS symptoms — a much-studied medical marvel whose case may lead to an eventual vaccine for HIV-AIDS.”
But those of us who know Bob know that there’s a lot more to his story. Back in 2002, the Harvard Business School Alumni Bulletin asked this question: “Will the real Robert Kinloch Massie (DBA ’89) please stand up?” For one thing, he’s a serial entrepreneur. Bob was the first executive director of Ceres, the co-founder of the Global Reporting Initiative, and a founder of the Investor Network on Climate Risk. He’s also a disciplined thinker, a renowned author and speaker on sustainability and social justice issues. Since his liver transplant surgery 18 months ago, he’s continued to advocate for corporate and investor accountability, along with a casino-free Massachusetts. And be a loving father and husband to daughter Katie, sons Sam and John, and wife Anne.
Bob’s lifetime of illness (hemophilia, until the liver transplant) has taught him what it means to be an “outsider”—and given him, Loth writes, “a self-awareness rare in any politician”. Massie told the Globe, “I’m always looking for how to connect with people. I don’t let superficial difference deter me from reaching out. If you can touch that human quality, combined with practical and rational thought, you can make progress. I think that’s a critical piece of what’s needed in politics, and in the US Senate.’’
Amen to that, Bob. And thanks for daring to make a difference.