Maura T. Healey ’92 was sworn in as Massachusetts’ 73rd governor on Thursday, becoming the first woman elected governor to take office in the state’s history.
Healey, who was elected as attorney general in 2014, won the governorship handily in November against Geoffrey G. Diehl, a former state representative endorsed by former President Donald J. Trump. She succeeds Charlie D. Baker ’79, who will be starting as the next president of the NCAA in March.
In addition to being the state’s first female elected governor, Healey is the third consecutive Harvard College graduate in the post — the 26th in the commonwealth’s history. She will also be one of the first two openly lesbian governors in American history, along with Governor-elect Tina Kotek of Oregon.
“I assume this office with humility, mindful of the weight of history, enlightened by the gift of gratitude,” Healey said in her inauguration speech in the Massachusetts State House chamber. “It is the honor of my life to lead this state.”
The audience included many current and former Massachusetts politicians, including Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA), former Democratic presidential nominees Michael S. Dukakis and John F. Kerry, and former governors William F. Weld ’66 and Deval S. Patrick ’78.
In her speech, Healey pledged to make strides on a range of issues, including housing, child care, education, infrastructure, and climate change.
Citing Massachusetts’ higher-than-average rents, Healey said she planned to create the position of secretary of housing to coordinate housing and affordability goals across the state and “end the nightmare of high costs.”
“If we want Massachusetts to be a home for all, we need to build more places to live, and we need to make sure those homes are within reach,” Healey said to sustained applause.
Healey also promised to implement a child tax credit for Massachusetts families, calling attention to the state’s high child care costs.
“The strength of Massachusetts is its families,” Healey said. “So today, let us pledge to be the first state to solve the child care crisis.”
In addition, Healey pledged to create a new program she dubbed “MassReconnect,” which she said would offer a free community college education to people over the age of 25 who don’t already have a degree and provide greater funding for state universities.
“The first free school was established in our state almost 400 years ago,” Healey said. “We will continue to offer not just an education but the best education.”
Lieutenant Governor Kimberley L. Driscoll was also inaugurated alongside Healey.
Driscoll, who succeeded outgoing Lieutenant Governor Karyn E. Polito, thanked her predecessor and Baker for working across the aisle in their roles.
“They chose a bipartisan, people-centered approach and governed with a wide lens, a big heart, and an open mind,” Driscoll said in her inaugural address.
Healey has been building her cabinet for days now, selecting top officials to lead the state’s executive departments. On Wednesday, the day prior to her inauguration, she appointed two more officials, including Harvard University Chief Technology Officer Jason Snyder as the secretary of the Executive Office of Technology Services and Security.
—Staff writer Rahem D. Hamid can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Staff writer Elias J. Schisgall can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @eschisgall.