November 28, 2022

BOSTON (AP) — Democratic Attorney General Maura Healey was elected governor of Massachusetts, making history as the nation’s first openly lesbian governor.

Healey, the state’s first woman and openly gay candidate to be elected to office, defeated Republican Geoff Diehl, a former state official who had the support of former President Donald Trump.

Her election returns the governorship to Democrats after eight years of Republican leadership under popular Governor Charlie Baker, who opted not to seek re-election.

Healey and her running mate, Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll, were among three all-female governors/executive governors in the US who started Election Day with a chance to become the first such pairing elected to lead a state .

The Republican all-female ticket of Sarah Huckabee Sanders as governor and Leslie Rutledge as lieutenant governor won in Arkansas. In Ohio, Democrat Nan Whaley and fellow campaigner Cheryl Stephens lost the ticket to Republican Gov. Mike DeWine.

Healey was also one of two openly lesbian candidates running for governor of the country. Healey and Democrat Tina Kotek, a candidate for governor of Oregon, each started the day with a chance to become a state’s first openly lesbian elected governor.

Healey addressed supporters at a downtown Boston hotel following her win Tuesday night.

“To those who voted for me and to those who didn’t, I want you to know that I will be a governor for everyone and will work with anyone who is willing to make a difference in this state.” effect,” Healey said.

Healey also addressed the historical nature of their victory.

“Tonight I want to say something to every little girl and young LGBTQ person out there. I hope tonight shows you that you can be whatever you want to be and nothing and nobody can ever stand in your way but your own imagination, and that’s not going to happen,” Healey said.

“I stand before you tonight proudly to be the first woman and the first gay person to be every elected governor of Massachusetts,” she added.

Healey — elected the nation’s first openly gay attorney general eight years ago — snagged what became known in Massachusetts as the “curse of the attorney general.” Since 1958, six former Massachusetts attorneys general have run for governor. All have failed.

During the campaign, Healey pledged to expand job training programs, make childcare more affordable, and modernize schools. Healey has also said she would protect “access to safe and legal abortion in Massachusetts” following the Supreme Court decision in which Roe v. Wade was lifted.

The 51-year-old has also ticked off a string of accomplishments during her tenure as the state’s top law enforcement officer, including protecting students and homeowners from predatory lenders and suing Exxon Mobil over whether the oil giant misled investors and the public about his knowledge of climate change.

Healey also targeted OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma and members of the Sackler family over allegations they misled patients and doctors about the risks of opioids.

During the campaign, Democrat Diehl warned against “bringing Trumpism to Massachusetts.” Diehl co-chaired former President Donald Trump’s first presidential campaign in Massachusetts and won his approval for governor in a state that flatly rejected Trump in 2016 and 2020.

Although Healey is the first woman in Massachusetts to be elected governor, she is not the first in office. Republican Jane Swift, then Lieutenant Governor, became acting governor in 2001 when Governor Paul Cellucci resigned to become ambassador to Canada. Swift was never elected governor.

The Republicans had held the corner office in the statehouse for all but eight years since 1991, when Democrat Deval Patrick was governor.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission.

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