Rufus GiffordSun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.
Rufus Gifford

Sun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.

By Colin A. Young

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE

BOSTON -- The field of Democrats vying for the chance to succeed U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas got a little more crowded Monday when former ambassador to Denmark and subject of a Netflix documentary series Rufus Gifford threw his hat into the ring.

A first-time political candidate, Gifford served as finance director for Barack Obama's 2012 re-election campaign and other Democratic causes before being confirmed as U.S. ambassador to Denmark in August 2013 and left his post when Obama left office.

According to his campaign announcement, Gifford helped Obama "promote initiatives around universal health care, climate change and equality." Danish TV, and later Netflix, broadcast a two-season documentary series based on Gifford's job in Denmark titled "I am the Ambassador."

"I'm running in part because I feel like people have lost faith and trust in government and politics, trust we desperately need to build back," Gifford says in a video announcing his candidacy. "During my time as ambassador, it was my desire to get out from behind my desk, humanize our work, tear down the walls, listen, ask questions and encourage people to engage ... it made me realize we need to think about politics and government in a different way.


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Gifford said he was "shocked and heartbroken" by the election of President Donald Trump and that he is worried that international relationships like the ones he built as ambassador are being eroded by the Trump administration.

A native of Manchester by the Sea, Gifford recently moved into the Third Congressional District, in Concord, with his husband Stephen. He said his family has roots in the district and pledged to travel the district for "a series of community tours and house parties to listen to the concerns of residents."

Gifford, 43, is the son of longtime Boston baking fixture Chad Gifford, who served as CEO of FleetBoston Financial Corp., chairman of Bank of America and various other roles in the financial world.

In addition to Gifford, seven other Democrats and three Republicans have declared candidacies for the Third Congressional District seat and the competition for the seat has heated up well in advance of the September 2018 primary elections.