New Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey Calls for Groundbreaking Change
Gov. Maura Healey and Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll recited their oaths of office to applause from lawmakers, members of law enforcement and supporters at the State House Thursday night.
The Democrats succeed two-term Republican governor Charlie Baker and lieutenant governor Karyn Polito.
Healey acknowledged in her address that her inauguration was a first in the Commonwealth’s history -- she's the first woman and first openly lesbian governor elected in the United States -- and said her administration will steer Massachusetts toward more groundbreaking achievements in climate, childcare and education policy.
“We share a legacy in this state. Our nation was born here, not with a whimper, but with the spark of revolution -- a hunger for something new and a demand for something better.”
Throughout her speech, Healey outlined goals for her first 100 days in office. One of her first actions will be to create a new program called MassReconnect. The program will offer free community college to students who are over 25 years old and do not have college degrees. Healey also called for more programs to support vocational schools, citing a rise in demand for workers in the trade business.
“Tens of thousands of jobs in health care, transportation and technology are going unfilled because the skills of our workers don’t match the demand of our economy,” she said. “Let’s work with our community colleges and vocational schools and make sure the training we offer meets the needs of our companies in every region.”
Another announcement Healey made was her intention to commit at least 1 percent of the state budget to environmental and green agencies. Additionally, she wants to increase the production of offshore wind sites in the SouthCoast and double the solar energy targets that were set under the Baker administration.
“Let's build a Climate Corridor that stretches from the Berkshires to Barnstable, harnessing research, innovation and manufacturing,” Healey said. “We’ll create thousands of new jobs in clean tech and blue tech, coastal resiliency and environmental justice.”
Despite an ambitious agenda, Healey will still need to work with the House and Senate to make these visions a reality.
Free community college is a top policy goal for Senate President Karen Spilka of Ashland, and House Speaker Ron Mariano of Quincy has lobbied for several offshore wind bills over the past two years.
Regardless, it is not unheard of for the legislature and executive branch to be at odds with each other, despite being controlled by the same political party.
During Deval Patrick's administration, the former governor would often disagree with former Speakers Salvatore DiMassi and Robert DeLeo on policies establishing casinos or expansions to the MBTA.
Healey, however, seems optimistic in her aspirations and sees the legislature as a trusted ally.
Unlike Patrick, who was elected as an outsider candidate, Healey is known by all in the Massachusetts political world for her six years of service as attorney general. She also endorsed several proposals by the House and Senate during her campaign for governor in 2022, such as bills that legalized sports gambling.
“The people of Massachusetts are resourceful -- and resolute and hopeful," Healey said. "They’re ready for what comes next. They’re ready to walk forward. We just have to set the path. We just have to light the way.”