For Ben Downing, politics are personal

On paper, Ben Downing looks very much like someone who might launch a run for governor while still in his 30s, which is what the 39-year-old Democrat did earlier this month, becoming the first declared candidate in the 2022 race.

His dad was a popular elected official in Pittsfield where Downing grew up, elected four times as Berkshire County district attorney. After college, Downing worked for several members of the state’s congressional delegation in Washington before mounting a winning campaign for state Senate at age 24 (he had turned 25 by Election Day) and going on to serve 10 years in the Legislature before leaving in 2017 to spend several years working the clean energy field.

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