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Healey won’t be able to hide with new job


It is always exciting when a new governor takes office, accompanied by all the traditional pomp and ceremony. The State House rocks on inauguration day, the corridors buzz.

Politicians from both branches of the Legislature gather in a joint session in the House chamber and enthusiastically greet the new governor.

The new governor delivers a speech, which is usually forgettable, but everyone claps and cheers anyway. It is the warmest reception a governor will get from the Legislature in the next four years.

Everyone is happy because they all have been elected or re-elected and will be on the state payroll for another two or four years.

It  will all  happen again at noon on Thursday when Democrat Maura Healey takes the oath of office and succeeds outgoing Republican Gov. Charlie Baker.

I have witnessed and covered the ceremonial inauguration of a dozen governors, all who happened to be men.

This time it is different.

It is different because Healey will not only be the first woman elected to the office but the first openly gay person as well.

It will also be different because Healey will be inaugurated along with her running mate, Lt.Gov. Kim Driscoll, which means for the first time the offices of governor and lieutenant governor will be occupied by women.

Later Healey and Driscoll will hold an inaugural celebration at TD Boston Garden to which the public is invited at $25 a pop. The theme  is “Moving the Ball Forward” in recognition of Healey’s basketball background.

It is a theme she used to get elected to two terms as attorney general and again in her 2022 campaign for governor.

But shortly, like Monday morning, Healey will realize that it is time to give the basketball a rest and play the game of governing.

In a business where it is better to be lucky than good, Healey has led a charmed political life, topped off with Baker’s decision not to seek re-election, and then faced with a weak Republican opponent.

In addition, she hardly had to campaign against Trump conservative Geoff Diehl. And when she did surface, she had the fawning establishment media either on her side or in her back pocket.

Rather than conduct any “deep dive” into her record, policy or plans the woke and dope media did a belly flop.

Things will be different now that she is governor largely because, unlike her eight years as attorney general, Healey will be working in an open building where it is difficult to hide, even if you are governor.

Healey, for the eight years as attorney general, worked out of the closed 21’st floor in the high-rise McCormack Building, not the State House. This meant that, unlike the open State House, she could avoid the media and come and go with no reporters knowing whether she was in the office or not

State House reporters hardly got to ask her questions or even see her. She rarely held a press conference, was never accessible. She never visited the State House Press Gallery. She was like a phantom.

The governor cannot do that at the State House because it is an open building.  The governor is visible every day. He parks outside the State House and takes a public elevator. He is accessible to reporters or to anyone else.

He exits in the corridor outside his office where he is met daily by  reporters. The governor holds press conferences, or openly roams the corridors on the way to hearings or meetings with House Speaker Ron Mariano or Senate President Karen Spilka. Healey has done none of that,

For years she has been driven to the underground garage at the McCormack Building and whisked up to her office—and leaving the same way—without encountering anyone.

Healey has been the most guarded of political people in Massachusetts.

For years she was also able to run the state’s highest law office as though it was a private law firm and she was a private person.

It worked then. But it won’t work now.

Peter Lucas is a veteran Massachusetts political reporter and columnist.


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