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Ex-Obama official Donald Berwick launches run for governor

Donald BerwickAP file

Dr. Donald M. Berwick, a former Obama administration official, today announced he is running for governor in 2014.

“As a doctor, an educator, an innovator and someone who has dedicated his professional career to making things work better and to helping people – I am ready to lead,” the Newton Democrat said in a statement announcing his candidacy.

Berwick, a pediatrician, former Harvard faculty member, and a former administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, has been exploring a run in recent months.

The 66-year-old told the Globe in January that his experience in the health care sector helped him understand the issues that matter to people, including education, public safety, and the economy.


But Berwick, an expert on issues of health care cost and quality, resigned in late 2011 after Republicans voiced strong opposition to his confirmation and looked poised to block it. At the time, with national debate focused on Obama’s health care overhaul, Republicans accused Berwick of wanting to ration services, a charge he called a mischaracterization.

Another Democratic physician, Dr. Joseph Avellone, has already announced a bid for the corner office in 2014. US Representative Michael E. Capuano and state Treasurer Steven Grossman, both Democrats, have said they are pondering bids for governor as well.

On the Republican side, Charles D. Baker, the GOP nominee who lost to Governor Deval Patrick in 2010, is considering another run.

The timing of Berwick’s announcement was somewhat unusual, coming eight days before the US Senate special election to replace John F. Kerry.

Berwick referenced that election in his statement.

“There will be a time for an announcement tour and traditional campaigning later – but for now,” Berwick said, he was encouraging his supporters to work to elect US Senate Democratic nominee Edward J. Markey.

Joshua Miller can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @jm_bos.