Setti Warren is adding another former governor to his ranks of supporters. But it’s not one from Massachusetts.
In a statement Wednesday, former Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin endorsed the former Newton mayor in the Democratic primary race to challenge Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker.
Shumlin, who was one of the first governors to draw attention to the opioid crisis in a 2014 speech, cited Warren’s commitment to fighting the epidemic and implementing single-payer healthcare. The former Democratic governor led Vermont’s abandoned single-payer plan and believes the healthcare system should be implemented at the national level.
“Given the situation in D.C., the states are where we will find the solutions for lowering health care costs, and we will rely on forward-looking states like Massachusetts to lead the way,” Shumlin said in a statement provided by Warren’s campaign. “To get there, we need to elect progressive governors who are committed to leading on single payer right now.”
Shumlin, who also served as chair of the Democratic Governors Association added that he is “convinced Setti Warren is just that kind of Democrat.”
Alluding to Warren’s recent town hall events specifically focused on addressing the opioid crisis, Shumlin praised the 47-year-old former mayor for contributing to a “statewide conversation.”
“Setti understands that the way to fight the opioid epidemic is by focusing on treating addiction like a disease, not by stigmatizing it as a moral failing,” he said.
In a statement, Warren thanked Shumlin for his support and guidance.
“I look forward to benefiting even more from his experience and expertise,” he said.
Warren is running against two other candidates in the Democratic primary and faces a perhaps daunting general election against Baker if he were to receive the party’s nomination. Even in liberal-leaning Massachusetts, all three Democratic gubernatorial candidates have struggled to gain name recognition in their respective bids to take on the popular Republican governor.
A WBUR poll Wednesday found that 74 percent of voters in the state approve of the job Baker is doing as governor, including 67 percent of Democrats. Meanwhile, 68 percent of voters (and 72 percent of Democrats) said they hadn’t heard of Warren.