Maura Healey & Kim Driscoll Are Who We Endorse for Mass. Governor and Lieutenant Governor
By: The Rainbow Times’ Editorial Board—
As the Massachusetts primaries ended and the general election campaign began, the Democratic ticket reflected a combo many Baystate residents were hoping for, a historic duo to take the reigns of leading the Commonwealth on a progressive path forward that works for nearly everyone — a “slam dunk” as some on our team have called it.
Attorney General Maura Healey and Salem, Mass. Mayor Kim Driscoll have much more in common than just being the first all-female Democratic gubernatorial team to advance to the November ballot. Although that is no easy feat, most importantly, they each have a long-standing record of accomplishments. Each is equipped with unique and countless skill sets. They have already successfully embodied the definition of effective progressive leadership in their respective positions. Healey, if elected, would become the country’s first openly lesbian Governor, one who has already taken on some of the largest special interests as the “people’s lawyer.” Driscoll, herself, a fifth-term Salem Mayor and the first woman elected to the position, lead the city out of crushing debt and thrust an antiquated past time into a future full of prosperity.
Throughout their tenure, The Rainbow Times’ team has covered in-depth stories on the initiatives, perspectives, and issues that impacted millions of residents in Massachusetts, with both candidates at the helm in their respective positions. Unlike some politicians who focus on getting in the game of equal rights just prior to an election cycle, these two women have spent their careers and lives serving not only the general population with brilliance and inclusion but also with an emphasis on defending and representing some of the most marginalized and discriminated against within it.
Housing, health, environment, rights
As a civil rights attorney turned the commonwealth’s Attorney General, Maura Healey has been advocating on behalf of Massachusetts residents since the start. As such, she has successfully taken on industries like Purdue Pharma, ExxonMobil, and predatory student loan lenders to protect Massachusetts residents. Among her litany of achievements, those are just the tip of the iceberg of what she has already accomplished.
Massachusetts is divided significantly among affluent residents and those struggling to make ends meet with soaring housing, healthcare, utilities, education, and other basic living costs. Healey & Driscoll are focused on getting the economy working for everyone. The vied positions will take experienced leadership — with their level of knowledge and expertise — and dedication to issues that impact every facet of life, such as taking on the climate crisis while addressing environmental and climate justice, healthcare access, job creation, smart innovation, infrastructure development, and clean transportation, amongst others.
Recognizing the impact of systemic racism in all sectors of society, including the criminal justice system, Healey has already supported criminal justice reform and has committed to tackling issues, such as housing and education, to help prevent entry into the criminal justice system in the first place. She will also ensure that the 2020 police reform bill, which she has also supported, is fully implemented.
Driscoll on character, housing, LGBTQ+ rights
Under Driscoll’s impressive leadership, Salem has thrived as a “world-class city” with a booming economy, affordable housing development, sustainable plans tackling the climate crisis and rising sea levels affecting the city’s coastal region, and a clear understanding of human rights issues. Driscoll’s tenure as Mayor sends a clear message to the rest of the commonwealth: She can and will get things done and she will do so with compassion, integrity, honesty, and courage.
The Lieutenant Governor candidate does not shy away from adversity. When she encountered dire opposition to an affordable housing proposal, she brought in experts on accessory dwelling units (ADUs) and they substantiated the importance of implementing affordable structures in other parts of the country. Most importantly, she made sure that those who opposed the measure were fully educated as to what it all entailed, its costs, benefits to all, etc. Knowing how this could alleviate financial pressure on city residents, she did not waver. Her tenacity shows how prepared she is to do the same for issues arising on Beacon Hill.
Driscoll has been a no-nonsense mayor of action. In 2014, Driscoll took on Gordon College by terminating its city contract early when the college policy included discriminatory practices directed toward the LGBTQ+ community, which violated the city’s non-discrimination ordinance enacted earlier that year.
“Gordon’s behavioral policies and their president’s advocacy for the ability to discriminate against LGBT individuals violated both the spirit and letter of that law. In Salem, perhaps more so than most other cities, we have an especially unique understanding of the negative outcomes that can follow from any group of people being singled out for discrimination or stigmatization. Our values are shaped by our history, and it is a legacy that really impels us to stand up and take positive action,” she said to The Rainbow Times in a 2019 exclusive interview (https://is.gd/I4xUPE).
In 2016, when The Rainbow Times’ newspaper box explosion occurred in downtown Salem, Driscoll not only offered her support, but she was pivotal in ensuring that the perpetrators were caught, and that justice was served. One of the first calls the publication management received after the incident was a message from Driscoll, offering her unyielding support to the LGBTQ+ community and the publication itself. Her proactive approach, amplifying her solidarity and commitment to business owners, residents, and the LGBTQ+ community, reverberated the kind of leader Driscoll was then, and is now.
Also under Driscoll, Salem passed Article XVI, the non-discrimination ordinance, which was the first of its kind on the North Shore to include protections for the transgender community, helping to circumvent what most states and local governments are experiencing today as full-blown attacks on members of this community. It was also under Driscoll that the city’s first Human Rights Coalition (formerly known as the No Place for Hate Committee) was established.
In addition to a long history of inclusive measures and proposals, Driscoll is also the only candidate for Lieutenant Governor that has the expertise of city management, including working with a multi-million-dollar budget, and with a breadth of first-hand experience for what is demanded of such a position day in and day out. We’ve witnessed her grit and perseverance as the Mayor of Salem. We believe she’ll bring that same level of management and determination to the Lieutenant Governor’s office.
Salem has been cultivated into a cultural hub of the arts, utilizing state-of-the-art technology and development while boasting a booming economy under Driscoll. Since first taking office, Driscoll created thousands of new local jobs and unemployment is the lowest it’s been since 2002, The Rainbow Times reported in 2017. Thanks to Driscoll’s leadership, Salem has attracted some of the best talent from surrounding cities, such as Boston, largely in part to its attractive lifestyle and inclusion.
Sharing a teamwork approach, both candidates are committed to working together with experts and local communities to help develop plans to ensure effective change. Healey has expressed the importance of building an inclusive approach, rather than a typical top-down hierarchy. We can assume some of those attributes were learned in part when the AG was a point guard for the Harvard basketball team and as a professional ball player overseas, a shared commonality she has with Driscoll who played for Salem State University.
Healey on LGBTQ+ Issues
Other issues critical to a Healey administration are focused on economic development, education, healthcare, housing, LGBTQ+ rights, immigration, reproductive freedom, transportation, voting rights, expansion of the Child Tax Credit, and more.
Of utmost importance to our readers, are some openly discriminatory acts aimed at the LGBTQ+ community in Boston. An affordable LGBTQ+ senior housing project in the city was vandalized with homophobic and threatening graffiti in July. The next month, Boston’s Children’s Hospital received a bomb threat for providing gender-affirming care to trans youth patients.
If elected governor, Healey told NBC News, that she intends to use her “bully pulpit to fight back against the historic number of anti-LGBTQ bills circulating in state legislatures … and the seemingly pervasive threats of violence the community has been subjected to this year.”
Healey was instrumental in developing the strategy, building the case, and arguing the first successful challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
“Imagine the federal government giving money for the construction of schools and telling us that we can build them for white children but not for black children,” Healey said, as reported by the Advocate (https://is.gd/nztEQZ) during the challenge to DOMA. “Or imagine that the federal government would give money to subsidize health care for men but not for women.
“That’s what DOMA does to Massachusetts. It gives us funding but tells us to treat one category of married people differently than another. It forces us to violate equal protection.”
In addition, Healey went on to be the first openly gay Attorney General in the nation. Now, Healey is on the cusp of becoming the first “out” Governor, making history once again.
At this point in our nation’s history where basic rights are being overturned, where women have lost autonomy over their own bodies, where members of the transgender and LGBQIA+ communities are still deprived of basic humanity and rights, where people of color do not enjoy the same freedoms as their white counterparts, and the Supreme Court is expected to continue to dismantle civil rights protections on every front, etc., there isn’t a second where local protections should be taken for granted. That is why Healey is the best candidate for governor and the candidate whose actions have already proven to be for the betterment of us all, not just the elite or members of one party.
Healey holds credentials that include having served from 2007 to 2013 in the attorney general’s office first as the Chief of the Civil Rights Division and then as Chief of the Public Protection & Advocacy Bureau, which oversees a range of operations including civil rights, health care, antitrust, environmental protection, consumer protection, and insurance and financial services.
Healey also won a national settlement with Apple to make its devices more accessible for people with disabilities and led a first-in-the-nation program to keep victims of predatory lenders in their homes. That is the type of action, foresight, and analytical thought process that the commonwealth needs in its next governor.
If Massachusetts wants to continue to be a beacon of justice as viewed by millions of Americans throughout the country, this moment is more important than ever to safeguard those protections and ensure the officials serving in the commonwealth’s highest offices are committed to doing so. We believe Healey & Driscoll will do just that.
Public safety, guns
With a focus on public safety, AG Healey released a statement on her proactive stance against gun-related violence and circumventing the law. She has worked to close that loophole by joining a coalition of 20 attorneys general in supporting a new federal rule regulating “ghost guns”— untraceable firearms that lack serial numbers or identifying marks and are often made at home from kits that have been purchased online without background checks, according to a release.
The new rule adopted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) would help ensure that law enforcement officers can trace any self-made guns that are later used in a crime. It would also limit gun traffickers’ ability to distribute these weapons in Massachusetts.
“Ghost guns pose a serious threat to the safety of our residents – they’re untraceable and often made from easily accessible household items, allowing dangerous individuals to circumvent our laws,” AG Healey said. “My office has prioritized working with our law enforcement partners to get these guns off our streets. This important rule put forward by the Biden Administration will require compliance with laws that require serial numbers and critical background checks.”
At the state level, AG Healey supports legislation to ban the possession, manufacture, and assembly of ghost guns and 3-D printed weapons in Massachusetts. This is legislation that will protect every resident in the commonwealth and another reason to support Healey on November 8th.
Transportation, education, and MassReconnect
According to Northampton’s Daily Hampshire Gazette, Healey said “she will [also] promote small businesses, work to enhance transportation that includes east-west rail and look to overcome the perception that the region’s distance from Boston means that it is not invested in or prioritized. She said representation on state boards and committees and in her administration would be critical.”
Continuing that commitment to not leave Massachusetts residents behind, Healey & Driscoll’s program proposal MassReconnect, will help older and non-traditional students finish their education and train them for good jobs in critical industries like health care, education, clean energy, advanced manufacturing, and behavioral health, Healey’s website read. Not only would this program fund the cost of community college tuition, but it would also cover mandatory fees, textbooks, and course materials. In true Healey & Driscoll form, the ticket is focused on dismantling barriers to access for Massachusetts residents.
The time Healey & Driscoll have already spent in corner offices has benefited us and made our state stronger, our people heard, and our voices count. It should come as no surprise to anyone that this nation has been living in extraordinarily dark times where division of the human spirit is often at play and where lies from the radical right have dominated the political landscape. However, Healey & Driscoll have already effectively led us out of some of the most trying times we’ve experienced in the recent years of the COVID-19 pandemic, the days during and dealing with the aftermath of the Trump presidency, and have promised a brighter future for Massachusetts residents in the years ahead.
“You will have somebody ready to lead on day one,” Healey said during her bid for Attorney General then. “You will have somebody who won’t be outworked. You will have somebody who is looking to make sure that Massachusetts has the most progressive, most forward-looking attorney general’s office in the country.” That statement rang true all along and we believe it will ring true again when she assumes the Governor’s office come January 2023.
With a distinguished and progressive record of standing strong with unfaltering tenacity, Healey & Driscoll fight for what is not only grounded in truth and justice, but they have and will continue to make decisions based on intelligence and experience, humility and integrity – with equity and inclusion. They, we believe, will continue to open opportunities for the Commonwealth where everyone is given a fair shot at success. Our past is the greatest predictor of the future, and the Healey/Driscoll ticket has already solidified that and given us something to look forward to in the years to come.
It is with immense pride that The Rainbow Times throws its full and unwavering support toward Maura Healey for Governor and Kim Driscoll for Lieutenant Governor.
[This endorsement was first published in the October 2022 issue of The Rainbow Times.]