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 “immediate needs” 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 “to ensure critical housing and economic development programs across the state can continue to serve people in Massachusetts without interruption.”
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.
A total class act
We wish to make note of the incredibly classy announcement last week by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who told her country that she will be stepping down from the post after almost six years in office.
Ms. Ardern took over the job at the age of 37, making her at the time the youngest head of state in the world.
She admitted very forthrightly that she had “nothing left in the tank,” and that she was shifting her focus in life to her family (she has a four year-old daughter.)
Jacinda Ardern epitomized the term “political courage.” Her tenure will be remembered for her compassionate response to a massacre in a mosque in the nation’s capital, Christchurch, and for her subsequent spearheading of a ban on assault weapons in that country. She also guided New Zealand through the worst of the COVID crisis with courage, determination, and competency that saw New Zealand ultimately have one of the lowest COVID mortality rates in the world.
Ms. Ardern will be missed on the world stage. We can only hope that political leaders in our country might learn from her example.