First openly lesbian governor in US history Maura Healey sworn in: ‘It is the honour of my life’

Maura Healey

Massachusetts’ former attorney general Maura Healey has once again made history by becoming the first openly lesbian person to be sworn in as governor in US history.

On Thursday (5 January) Healey took the Oath of Office to uphold the constitution as she was sworn in as the 73rd governor of Massachusetts. She declared: “It is the honour of my life to lead this state.”

In the Democrat’s inaugural address, Healey took time to address key issues, saying: “We have untold wealth in the Commonwealth.

“But record public revenue does little good when families can’t pay the rent, buy a home, heat their home or pay for child care.

“This is – this is! – the greatest state in the union. It is. But people are leaving, at rates we don’t like, giving up on the Massachusetts story.”

She added that residents can’t “realise their dreams until we end the nightmare of high costs”.

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Massachusetts state representative Orlando Ramos said: “[As] a single dad who raised a daughter by himself, being able to witness that moment in person was a very powerful moment and a very proud moment for myself and I think for all women across the Commonwealth.” 

Senator John Velis of the second Hampden and Hampshire District said Healey “talked about all the things that I think are the greatest challenges in the Commonwealth”.

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A photo of Democrat Maura Healey standing in front of the American flag as she talks into a microphone during her acceptance speech
Democrat Maura Healey. (AFP via Getty/Joseph Prezioso)

The 51-year-old also used her speech to announce the creation of a new housing secretary, a child tax credit, a safety chief to inspect transportation infrastructure and a cabinet-level climate chief, among others.

It follows Healey setting her agenda in her campaign, with an emphasis on wanting to create affordable houses, pathways to homeownership, invest in public transport and create a system of affordable universal childcare.

Ramos, who said he looks forward to working with Healey, added: “I think that we’re going to have a very productive session, having heard what we heard today.” 

Healey, who had been the state’s attorney general since 2014, defeated Trump-backed Republican Geoff Diehl comfortably with a campaign that focused on LGBTQ+ and abortion rights, affordable housing and better healthcare. 

Her historic win saw her flip the governor’s office to Democrats after eight years of Republican control under governor Charlie Baker, who didn’t participate in the running to be re-elected. 

It follows Zooey Zephyr becoming Montana’s first ever trans representative to be sworn into legislature on Monday (2 January). 

Maura Healey: ‘I am proud of who I am’

The 51-year-old, who is proudly a lesbian, is determined to use her new role as Massachusetts governor to champion LGBTQ+ rights.

In order to do this she hopes to adopt gender-neutral markers on more official documents, support LGBTQ+ education being taught in schools, ban the archaic LGBTQ+ panic defence and streamline the process of co-parent adoption, to name just a few initiatives.

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Maura Healey previously led the state’s successful challenge of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 law that allowed states to deny rights to same-sex married couples.

“I am proud of who I am,” Healey told WBUR.

“Kids need to understand and believe that they are loved, they are seen and that they can be whoever they are.”

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