Carpenter, 55, spent much of his adult life defending progressive causes, including nuclear disarmament, campaign finance reform and a single-payer health care system. He worked as an organizer for the presidential campaigns of the Rev. Jesse Jackson in 1988 and Gov. Jerry Brown (D-Calif.) in 1992, and addressed the Democratic National Convention as a delegate in 1992. He lived in Florence, Massachusetts.
Carpenter's death was met with grief and kind words from Democratic figures. Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), who called Carpenter "a dear and treasured friend," told the Daily Hampshire Gazette that the activist was "in his typical very enthusiastic form" in a recent meeting, despite his cancer.
“He was a passionate fighter for peace and justice and all causes that are good. He was a remarkable person with a spine of steel and heart of gold," McGovern told the Gazette.
Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said in a statement that Carpenter, a "longtime friend and supporter," was "the embodiment of the progressive movement."
"He spent every day working to put power back in the hands of the people, and in doing so built an unprecedented coalition of labor, women’s groups, communities of color, LGBT and students that is transforming how government works at all levels," Markey said. "He was a man fueled by the highest values of society, and his work will live on in leaders for generations to come."