Maura Healey defeats Geoff Diehl to become the first woman elected governor of Mass.



The Democratic attorney general will also be one of the nation’s first openly lesbian governors.

Maura Healey speaks to the press at Maverick Square in East Boston on Monday. JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images

Maura Healey will be the first woman elected governor of Massachusetts and one of the first openly lesbian politicians to serve as a state chief executive.

Healey, 51, a Democratic state attorney general and South End resident, along with his running mate, Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll, secured a gubernatorial victory on Tuesday over Republican Geoff Diehl, a former representative of the Donald Trump-backed Whitman State who ran alongside fellow former lawmaker Leah Allen, of Danvers.

The Associated Press called the race for Healey shortly after polls closed at 8 p.m.

Both Healey and Diehl have led campaigns to stave off rising costs of living in the Bay State, from housing to living expenses.

But each saw notably different roads to get there.

Healey, pledging an aggressive climate agenda, outlined plans to put the state on track to transition away from fossil fuels in years to come. Diehl was a frequent critic of the proposal, joking Healey would bankrupt the state in pursuit of his vision.

Diehl, on the other hand, emphasized individual freedom. He called for rescinding COVID-19-related warrants for state employees and sought to give parents more say in their children’s class affairs, including through a proposal to require a informed consent for “controversial program topics”.

But Healey warned that a victory for Diehl would open the door to “Trumpism” in Massachusetts, a political movement that she says is idiosyncratic with the values ​​of local voters.

Healey’s win comes as no surprise: Polls have consistently shown Healey to be the favorite since she entered the race earlier this year – a wide lead she has steadily led until Election Day.

Still, Healey’s victory means the corner office in Beacon Hill will revert to Democrats – who hold significant majorities in both houses of the state legislature – once popular moderate Republican Gov. Charlie Baker finishes his term. second four-year term in January. It remains to be seen how exactly the one-party leadership will change after years of balancing Baker’s office and both chambers.

Healey, who has touted a close, bipartisan working relationship with Baker, often praised the now lame governor and frequently cited his administration’s efforts on many issues as ones she would emulate or seek to pursue.

Voters also apparently see a bit of Baker in Healey. A UMass Amherst/WCVB poll last month found that most voters think Healey resembles Baker’s leadership style and ideology more than Diehl.

When she takes office in January, Healey will not be the first woman to serve as Bay State governor, although she will be the first elected to the position.

Republican Jane Swift served as the state’s first female governor between 2001 and 2003, having risen to the post when Governor Paul Cellucci resigned to serve as US Ambassador to Canada.

Healey will also go down in national history when she steps into the governor’s office.

With her victory in hand, she is set to become one of, if not the first, openly lesbian governor in the United States.

Former Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek, another Democrat and lesbian, was also on the ballot for governor of her home state on Tuesday, although she faced a race harder than its Massachusetts counterpart.



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