Benjamin Downing on "Why Politics Matters"

Friday, April 22, former Massachusetts State Senator Benjamin Downing spoke with Williams College students, faculty and community members at Log Lunch. Mr. Downing grew up in Pittsfield, MA and was told that the town’s best days were behind it. Inspired by the city’s struggles and its people’s lack of confidence, he returned years later as the Berkshire District’s Senator for ten years.

Professor Sarah Gardner and Ben Downing

Mr. Downing spoke to the audience about how he recognized that protests, marches, and advocacy create windows for policy and politics to align, increasing the ability to make progress on issues. He reminded the room that politics and policies do not just occur during campaign season. Voting and doing nothing else is giving up.

According to Mr. Downing, if you care about issues in climate, you CANNOT give up on politics. Politics is actually the best vehicle available to solve these issues. There is no one silver bullet, no matter how effective a policy solution may or may not be. It is a multi-facited issue.
Now Mr. Downing is working with a Solar Company to solve problems these issues from a different perspective. But he remains an advocate for policy. He stated: “Climate change is framed as a ‘tomorrow issue,’ but it’s up to all of us to make the system work the way its not supposed to work, today.”
Pick up the phone and call your representatives today!


-Caroline Beckmann, ’17