Governor Maura Healey wasted little time since her inauguration a few weeks ago in setting the pace for what we’re sure will be an active — and activist — administration with her announcement last week that she will be filing her first two pieces of legislation, one of which is a $987 million â€œimmediate needsâ€ bond bill targeting housing and economic development and another for an additional $400 million for MassWorks that will make grants available to cities and towns for infrastructure projects.
Governor Healey, who highlighted economic development as a top priority during her campaign, said she filed the “immediate needs” bill â€œto ensure critical housing and economic development programs across the state can continue to serve people in Massachusetts without interruption.â€
The $400 million for infrastructure will continue the funding stream for MassWorks, which was established in 2010, that will ensure that this key program will create essential infrastructure improvements in communities across our state,
In our view, Governor Healey’s announcement represents a burst of energy that portends a refreshing change in the atmosphere on Beacon Hill.
To be sure, her predecessor, Charlie Baker, was the most popular governor in the country during his eight-year tenure. But it was clear that after two exhausting terms in office, Baker’s enthusiasm for the job had waned — which, by the way, is to be expected, especially after three years of battling a pandemic.
But beyond that, Healey represents a true changing of the guard in politics on Beacon Hill. For all of his progressive views, Charlie Baker was a straight, male Baby Boomer who, like all of us, was a product of his age and his times. There were some things he just could not accept, such as marijuana legalization and providing driver’s licenses for non-citizens, that showed that he was out-of-step with the times.
By contrast, Maura Healey is a gay, female Gen Xer — and accordingly will bring a perspective to the job of governor that will be based on her personal experience.
(We also would note that both Baker and Healey are Harvard graduates where they both played basketball, but Healey was the captain and a star player, whereas Baker was…not so much.)
Yes, the times they are a changin’ — and we’re looking forward to the Maura Healey era in Massachusetts.