Maura Healey wins election, becomes first female governor

By Nick Kolev
Boston University News Service

Maura Healey, the Massachusetts state attorney general running under the Democratic Party, handily claimed victory in the 2022 gubernatorial race. She becomes the first female and LGBTQ+ governor of Massachusetts. Healey also makes history as the first lesbian governor in the United States. 

Healey bested her Republican opponent Geoff Diehl, earning 61.3% of the vote to Diehl’s 37.1% as of 9:15 p.m. on election night. This marks a resounding victory that surprises few.

Polling at 20+ points over Diehl throughout the election, Healey was the strong-favored candidate to win throughout her campaign.

As of 9:20 p.m., Diehl has not yet conceded. 

Healey ran on a largely progressive platform — which included fighting climate change, combatting the state’s housing crisis, criminal justice reform, and promoting LGBTQ+ and disabled rights. 

Diehl’s platform, which seemed to have resonated less with voters, focused on issues such as fighting COVID mandates and a ‘Parents’ Bill of Rights,’ which promised giving parents more control over the school their children attend as well as the content they are taught.

The two opponents previously clashed in two debates over Diehl’s support of former President Donals Trump’s claims of election fraud in the 2020 election as well as his opposition to abortion.

“Massachusetts needs a governor who will protect a woman’s freedom to make a decision for herself,” Healey said in their first debate Oct. 13.

The governor-elect, a New Hampshire-born lawyer from a Massachusetts family, led the basketball team at Harvard College and played (professionally?) for two years in Austria before returning to earn her law degree at Northeastern.

She began her career in a private practice before joining the state attorney general’s office as Chief of the Civil Rights Division in 2007. There, she spearheaded the legal challenges to the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which limited marriage between one man and one woman.

Her other legislative contributions include pushing for Massachusetts Buffer Laws, which protected women from harassment at reproductive health centers as well as holding financial institutions accountable for the 2008 economic crash.

In 2014, Healey became the first LGBTQ+ attorney general in the country when she was elected to the office, winning landslides in both the primary and the general election. She cruised to a similarly easy victory when she was re-elected in 2018.

“I am excited to have a woman governor who is a lesbian,” said Amy Hoffman of Jamaica Plain outside a polling station. 

While her legislative career has included clashes with corporate giants like Exxon and Purdue Pharmaceuticals, her tenure as attorney general was marked by frequent and stark challenges towards the Trump Administration, mainly on environmental issues.

Healey’s tenure included over 100 lawsuits against the Trump Administration, most of which were successful.

One of her first actions after Trump’s inauguration was to join other AG’s across the country in challenging his executive order enacting a travel ban on Islamic countries.  

Her other challenges included challenging Trump on issues, such as environmental protections on water, an overturning of pandemic-related grants for college students, and immigration policies amongst a litany of other issues.

With widespread support, Healey is set to begin her historic first term in January 2023.

“I think Diehl ran a strange campaign,” said Jamaica Plain voter Leo Eguchi. “I support her [Healey], I think she is very good and she was a great attorney general.” 

Supporters raise red cutout letters of Maura Healeys first name at her election party, 2022. Photo by Maggie Wen for BUNS.

Pamela Sari contributed to the reporting of this article.

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