The Nation and the World / The World

Maura Healey’s gender and sexual orientation should not be her defining factor

Maura Healey, the 73rd governor of Massachusetts, made history by becoming the first female governor of the state and one of the first openly lesbian governors in the United States, alongside Tina Kotek of Oregon. Healy was elected in November 2022 and was inaugurated on January 5th, 2023. Although it was exciting to see the barrier broken, it was even better to see that Maura Healey’s sexual orientation has not been a major issue.

While representation is important and it is a significant milestone, it is equally important to focus on Governor Healey’s qualifications and accomplishments beyond her sexual orientation. 

Placing too much emphasis on her gender and sexuality can imply that being a female or LGBTQ+ governor is outside of the norm and may hinder our ability to evaluate her policies and performance objectively. 

Governor Healey’s top policy priorities include climate and clean energy, affordable and abundant housing, and high-quality education. So far, the Healey-Driscoll administration has appointed Melissa Hoffer to be Massachusetts’ first ever Climate Chief, responsible for driving climate policy and monitoring the administration’s progress. The goals include achieving net-zero emission by 2030 and transitioning the state fleet to electric vehicles. Additionally, her administration is creating a new secretary of housing to support cities and towns in meeting their housing goals. 

Prior to her election as governor, Healey served as Massachusetts Attorney General, advocating for civil rights and enforcing state laws from 2015 to 2023. Before that, Healey served as chief of the Civil Rights Division, hired by Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley in 2007, where she led the state’s efforts to challenge the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which allowed states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages. 

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