Maura Healey took the oath of office as Massachusetts’ 73rd governor at 12:32 p.m. Thursday, rising to the state’s top position after two terms as attorney general and pledging to address challenges including housing, the cost of living, transportation and climate change.
“We have untold wealth in Massachusetts. But record public receipts are of little use if families cannot pay the rent, buy a house, heat their apartment or rent childcare. Our healthcare system is the envy of the world. But our hospitals are desperate for staff,” Healey said in her inaugural address.
She adds: “Our companies are looking to expand, but they are not finding people with the skills required. Communities and people yearn to grow and thrive, but they have not been given the tools to do so. This is the largest state in the Union. But people are leaving the country with the highest rates and abandoning the Massachusetts story.”
Referring to the issue of Massachusetts being home to all of its residents, the New Hampshire-raised Democrat asked Bay Staters to help her “find a way forward and walk it together, into the next chapter of our Massachusetts story.”
Healey, 51, was seen as the clear Democrat favorite to become the state’s chief executive during most of her two terms as attorney general. She won 1,584,403 votes in November’s general election, overtaking Republican Geoff Diehl in the race to succeed Republican Governor Charlie Baker, a popular chief executive who decided against a third term.
In addition to being the first woman and first openly gay person to be elected governor in Massachusetts, Healey’s inauguration makes her the first lesbian governor to serve in any state in America.
She is also the first sitting Massachusetts Attorney General to be elected to the corner office since AG became an elected, non-nominated post more than a century ago, and only the third Democratic-elected Bay State governor in the past 40 years.
She briefly acknowledges in her inaugural address, but downplays, that her rise to the state’s highest office and the many firsts it represents are historic.
“But each of us, each citizen, is a first. Maybe you’re a first-generation immigrant and you’re choosing Massachusetts as the base for your American dream. You may be the first in your family to go to college or send your child there. The first in your neighborhood to start a business,” says Healey. “In this state, we are all pioneers. We are all leaders. That’s why we live in Massachusetts. What story will we write together?”
After a campaign criticizing her for her attention to detail, Healey makes a handful of firm promises in her inaugural address to a joint session of the House and Senate and to the people of Massachusetts. She promises:
- Creation of a stand-alone housing minister who, within her first 100 days, will “work across governments and support every city and town to ensure we meet our goals”;
- Have her administration and finance minister “identify unused government land and facilities that we can convert into rental housing or apartments within a year.”
- Expand tenant tax deductions;
- Include in your first budget proposal a “MassReconnect” program to make community college free for people over 25 without a college degree;
- increasing funding for the state higher education system;
- Designate a Chief of Security at MBTA within 60 days;
- Funding to hire 1,000 new employees to focus on operating the MBTA within their first year;
- Form an interagency task force dedicated to competing for federal infrastructure funds;
- Direct each agency under their administration to conduct a full equity review;
- Doubling government procurement targets for offshore wind and solar energy and quadrupling use of energy storage;
- Electrify the country’s public vehicle fleet and put one million electric vehicles on the road by 2030; and
- Allocate at least 1 percent of state budgets to environmental and energy agencies, triple the budget of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, and establish a “green bank” to invest in resilient infrastructure and attract new businesses to Massachusetts.
(Copyright (c) 2022 State House News Service.
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