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Maura Healey begins inaugural tour with stops in Springfield, Worcester


If incoming Gov. Maura Healey thought she was going to get off easy during an inaugural tour event at a Worcester food pantry and clothing distribution hub, the executive director there surely showed her otherwise.

“Let’s do some food distribution! Come on people, let’s go!” Maricelis Gonzalez, executive director of El Buen Samaritano Food Program, called to Healey and her entourage shortly after they arrived on Piedmont Street.

“Come on, Kim,” Gonzalez called to incoming Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll, before ushering the pair into the food pantry.

Healey’s tour was one of several planned stops ahead of her Thursday inauguration as the Bay State’s 73rd Governor. The first was earlier that day, at New North Citizens’ Council Youth Center in Springfield, where Healey and Driscoll helped hand out gifts ahead of Friday’s observance of Three Kings Day.

Healey was well received in Worcester by a crowd of people she seemed to mostly remember from the campaign trail mixed against a long line of families waiting for food or a winter coat.

She also got an earful and put to work.

Gonzalez sent some of her staff running to get turkeys from the back to add to the boxes of food she showed to Healey as she explained the contents. She pulled the governor elect of the commonwealth through the room, pointing out the things that were running short. Gonzalez explained the history of the food program, how her father had started it in the 90s.

“Do you have enough food?” Healey asked.

“We run out of food all the time,” Gonzalez told her.

“Do you know about the baby formula shortage?” Gonzalez asked, before dragging Healey away again to see the pantry’s small supply of infant food.

Healey and Driscoll both listened as she explained how hard it was to keep formula in stock, before being pulled away by Gonzalez yet again, handed food boxes filled with canned food, fresh produce and a turkey and sent to a table to hand it out.

The waiting families seemed to take the politicians’ visit in stride, smiling for selfies before taking the offered boxes.

The pair were marshaled to a different table, where three men from Guatemala waited for coats. A pile of winter jackets dozens deep disappeared in moments.

“It breaks my heart, I don’t want to see anyone in our state going without food or clothing or housing,” Healey said. She helped a woman put on her new coat.

According to Healey the event is exactly what her pre-inaugural tour is all about; getting out into the state to meet people where they are.

“It’s about connecting with people and connecting with communities. We’re one commonwealth, you know and our destinies are tied to one another,” she said. “We learned today more things that will inform the work that we do and the priorities that we set.”


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