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Maura Healey sworn in as governor of Massachusetts

Maura Healey is sworn in as the 73rd governor of Massachusetts on January 5, 2023. Standing behind her are Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll and William Galvin, Secretary of the Commonwealth
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Maura Healey is sworn in as the 73rd governor of Massachusetts on January 5, 2023. Standing behind her are Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll and William Galvin, Secretary of the Commonwealth

During the historic inauguration she declared "It is the honor of my life to lead this state."

History was made in Massachusetts today where a new governor took office.

Maura Healey took the oath of office to become the 73rd governor of Massachusetts.

She is the first woman, and first member of the LBGTQ community, to be elected governor.

“I assume this office with humility, mindful of the weight of history, enlightened by the gift of gratitude,” Healey said. “It is the honor of my life to lead this state.”

In her inaugural address during a joint session of the Massachusetts Legislature held in the House Chamber at the State House in Boston, Healey vowed to govern with “equity and empathy” and for the first time laid out some specific initiatives to fix greater Boston’s broken down public transit system and make the state a more affordable place to live.

“We have to make Massachusetts a place that people can afford to call home,” she said. “Our people can’t realize their dreams until we end the nightmare of high costs.”

To tackle the housing affordability crisis, Healey, who plans to elevate housing to its own cabinet-level designation in her administration, said she’ll direct that an inventory of state property be made to identify unused sites that might be developed as housing within a year, increase aid to first time homebuyers and raise tax deductions for renters.

“This is a fine start, but we need to do more,” Healey said as she called on “every citizen” to support projects to create more housing near transit hubs, ease restrictive zoning, and preserve existing housing.

The first state budget Healey will file about two months from now will include funding to hire 1,000 more people to work at the MBTA, she announced. While fixing public transportation in Boston, Healey promised the crumbling roads and bridges in the rest of the state won’t be ignored. She plans to create a special task force to pursue funds available to the states from the federal infrastructure law.

“The people of this state deserve the best transportation system we can offer, so lets go build it,” Healey said.

Calling for a massive job training effort, Healey is proposing to make community college free for people over the age of 25 who do not have a college degree.

The new governor vowed to meet the state’s climate goals and to devote 1 percent of future state budgets to energy and environmental agencies.

Thursday’s inauguration of Healey as governor, and Kim Driscoll as lieutenant governor -- the first time both offices are held by women – marked the consolidation of Democratic power in state government following eight years with Republican Charlie Baker in the corner office.

As a candidate, and again in her inaugural address, Healey called for tax reforms – something the Democratic leaders of the legislature have so far been non-committal toward.

“This will mean real relieve for the people who need it most,” Healey said. “I'm ready to work. Let's get it done.”

After being sworn in as lieutenant governor, Driscoll called it “an honor of a lifetime.”

Driscoll’s precise role in the new administration has not been detailed. She headed up the transition team. Her predecessor, Karyn Polito, was the Baker administration’s liaison with local government.

The record-setting tenure of Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno. The 2011 tornado and its recovery that remade the largest city in Western Massachusetts. The fallout from the deadly COVID outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers Home. Those are just a few of the thousands and thousands of stories WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill has covered for WAMC in his nearly 17 years with the station.