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Maura Healey comes out as a centrist realist in maiden speech – Boston Herald


Gov. Maura Healey struck a note of clear-eyed realism as she took the reins of office, noting residents fleeing the state due to high taxes and housing costs and acknowledging “people are tired” from battling COVID-19.

“We have untold wealth in Massachusetts, but record public revenue does little good when families can’t pay the rent, or buy a house, heat their homes or hire child care,” she said in her inaugural address in the House chamber.

Healey made a passing nod toward promising to lower taxes, though she shied away from saying tax “cuts” and got only a lukewarm reception from Democratic lawmakers in the chamber.

“Let’s get this done,” she said somewhat unenthusiastically.

Healey will face stiff resistance from some Democrats to her tax cut proposals.

While she promised to cut taxes for the middle class and for those with children during the campaign, she didn’t overly focus on that in her address on Thursday.

Healey’s speech did not sugarcoat the state of Massachusetts — trying to buck people up for possible hard times ahead.

It was optimistic but realistic as she plotted her way forward in her historic journey as Massachusetts’s first elected female governor.

“Our health system is the envy of the world,” she said. “Yet our hospitals are desperate for staff. Patients are in boarding rooms – spending hours and days in an agonizing wait for care. We sense the shadows of a mental health crisis, and too many suffering from substance use disorder.”

She also made a nod to the business community, praising them for helping drive the economy.

“In me, you will have a partner every step of the way,” she said.

Healey even mentioned making changes to zoning laws to aid in housing production, which is not exactly on the progressive wish list. This is something Gov. Charlie Baker tried to do but failed in the Legislature.

Healey also thanked the Republican Baker near the top of her speech, praising him for leading the state “with a steady hand.”

“He has governed with integrity and care — eager to study problems and work together on solutions,” she said. “The example he set for eight years was in the best traditions of public service.”

Healey will not govern as the far leftist politician that her Republican critics tried to make her  out to be — she is going to be more of a centrist in the mold of Baker.

She will face pressure from the left to endorse progressive policies, but it remains to be seen whether she’ll embrace them.

Healey also did not delve into national politics or even mention Donald Trump in her speech.

Gov. Maura Healey speaks after being sworn in. (Nancy Lane/Boston Herald)
Gov. Maura Healey speaks after being sworn in. (Nancy Lane/Boston Herald)


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