By Ramsey Khalifeh
Boston University News Service
While Maura Healey’s official term as governor begins in January, the governor-elect is already positioning herself to prepare the state for swaths of new policy and legislation, with the hopes of approaching the very topics that her administration campaigned on leading up to the election.
Healey, currently serving as the Attorney General, was elected Governor in November, setting precedent as the nation’s first openly gay governor.
In an email statement, Karissa Hand, Healey’s press secretary listed six committees she says are “top of mind for the Healey-Driscoll administration” – their issues include transportation, affordable housing, and climate resilience and readiness.
The committee that addresses safe and healthy communities for all ages, for example, which asks “how we build safe communities and increase access to critical community health resources,” is co-chaired by Michael A. Curry, of the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers, and Dr. Aisha E. Miller of the real estate firm Related Beal.
Other notable chair members include experts in academia from universities like Harvard, and former White House national climate advisors.
According to Suffolk University’s most recent Massachusetts polling with the Boston Globe, published on Oct. 18, although 58.8 percent of those polled believe that Massachusetts is heading in the right direction, many feel there are dire issues that need to be addressed.
The economy and housing appear to top the list of issues that voters, and those polled, feel are most pressing. In the same Suffolk poll, 44.6 percent believe Bay Staters are in an economic recession, 25.2 percent are very concerned about their personal financial situation, and 23.6 percent have said that recent price increases have caused a lot of financial hardship.
One transition policy committee is hoping to address this, and will focus on “how we build a dynamic economy that reduces costs for people and businesses while lifting up our workers.” The committee will be run by JD Chesloff of Bunker Hill Community College, and Pam Eddinger, of the Massachusetts Business Roundtable.
Max Dahlstrom, 21, a senior at Boston University and president of the university’s Young Democratic Socialists of America, says he voted for Healey in the general election but not the primary.
Dahlstrom was an advocate for Sonia Chang-Diaz’s run for governorship, as he felt her policies aligned more with his progressive values. Seeing that Chang-Diaz lost in the primary, his only other choice in the general election was Healey.
Dahlstrom’s biggest concerns for Massachusetts revolve around housing and the economy.
“I think housing is just extremely pressing,” Dahlstrom said. “People are not keeping up with inflation and rent.”
Other than housing, which Dahlstrom is researching for his senior thesis and how real estate capital controls housing policy, reliance on public transportation, climate change, and healthcare are issues he cares about most.
Much of his main issues with Healey is that she is too centrist in her values and has too many similar beliefs to Charlie Baker, who is a Republican. Dahlstrom noted her ties to police unions, who he says have expanding overtime budgets and equipment.
“I would like to see people in power really advocating for the certain things that Healey was not doing that Diaz was. I’d like to see a focus on a housing platform that doesn’t rely on private developers but [that relies on] efforts for affordable housing,” Dahlstrom said.
Dahlstrom attributes the feelings of financial insecurity in Massachusetts to housing.
“It really attributes to the fact that everything that enables you to move up in society is so expensive,” Dahlstrom said.
Affordable housing will be addressed by the Healey-Driscoll administration. Dahlstrom says he hopes the policies for housing go beyond addressing the shortage. He wants to see more programs that will work to keep residents in their homes.
Leave a Comment