Farewell, Hurmon Hamilton: Reflections On A Health Reformer

The Rev. Hurmon Hamilton, a force behind health reform, is heading to California

By Martha Bebinger

Repeat after me, he demands: “Finish the Job!”

The Reverend Hurmon Hamilton bounces behind a podium, drilling his message into another crowd of entranced health care advocates. They know the routine. They shout back, mostly in unison: “Finish the job.”  Their words echo through the marble State House hall.

Reverend Hurmon Hamilton after his last State House health care rally


Reverend Hamilton tells the crowd it’s the last time he’ll rattle these walls. He’s leaving for a large, diverse church in Mountain View, California (home of Google and an average high in February of 63 degrees).  His message, “finish the job” is a set of marching orders for the messengers he trained in 15 years with the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization (GBIO).

GBIO, working with a coalition that included Health Care for All, used the power of the crowd to help shape the state’s coverage law. Now, as Hamilton leaves, his team in blue GBIO t-shirts hopes to shape legislation that will bring down health care costs and premiums.  That’s the job Hamilton asks the crowd to finish. The results will test the legacy of his leadership.

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