Gov. Maura Healey

Attorney General Maura Healey Runs for Governor, Condemns Azerbaijani Attacks on Armenian and Genocide Denial


WATERTOWN — According to a recent poll, Maura Healey is the favored candidate to win the November election for governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The 51-year-old Democratic two-term attorney general, in the course of her career, served as chief of various divisions of the same office, worked as a Special Assistant District Attorney in Middlesex County, and at an international law firm, and even played professional basketball for a few years after graduating Harvard University. She now is poised to become not only the first woman governor of the state but also the first openly lesbian one. She is facing off against Republican Geoff Diehl.

She has met with members of the Armenian community during her campaign (see Mirror-Spectator, September 24) and in an interview at the end of September, spoke of her support of that community. She said, “In Massachusetts we have such a vibrant and rich Armenian community. I have come to know that community and come to really appreciate and respect the Armenian Americans who are living here in Massachusetts….I have tried to be there both as a civil rights lawyer and as attorney general in support of the Armenian community, and I will continue to be there as governor.” 

Healey repeated the gist of her September 19 statement concerning the recent Azerbaijani attacks on the Republic of Armenia, declaring: “I want to be clear that I am standing with the Armenian community. I strongly condemn these attacks, and certainly pray for the safety of all of these involved and an end to conflict.”

Attorney General Maura Healey speaking at the Massachusetts State House commemoration of the Armenian Genocide in April 2017 (photo Aram Arkun)

She has participated in a number of ceremonies of recognition of the Armenian Genocide in Massachusetts over the years, and in this regard, she stated, “The Armenian Genocide is one of the darkest chapters in world history, and I think it is shameful for anyone or any country to refuse to recognize the Armenian Genocide….I can tell you that just as I did as attorney general, as governor I will always take action and speak out against hate, discrimination and intolerance, and I will always support Massachusetts’s wonderful Armenian community.” She also spoke of the importance of genocide education, and her pleasure that Massachusetts has passed a law mandating it. She continued: “I want students in Massachusetts to receive an accurate education about world history and that includes making sure that we have the curricular as well as the instructors in place to support teaching about the Armenian Genocide.” 

Attorney General Maura Healey speaking at Armenian Heritage Park during a vigil commemorating the 2015 centennial of the Armenian Genocide (photo Ken Martin)

Healey recalled that as attorney general she sent two attorneys from her office to the Republic of Armenia to discuss combatting corruption as part of a US State Department program. She said that after becoming aware of the program, she discussed it with some members of her team and decided that it would be a way as an office that they could be helpful to Armenia. She said, “My team was really excited about the experience and invigorated, and we certainly would want to continue those relations.” 

Another potential avenue of relations with Armenia might be economic. She said, “As governor, support for trade is something I would be most interested in. Anything that we could do to support the Armenian people in Massachusetts and the Armenians in Armenia is something that I want to do as governor. Hopefully that might involve a trip or trade mission, and the continued building of a relationship.”

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The Campaign for Governor

There have been periodic mentions in the press of the so-called curse of the attorney general, which refers to the failed campaigns of six prior attorneys general for governor in Massachusetts, all Democrats. Healey dismissed any inherent reason for difficulty in transitioning from attorney general to governor, stating, “I think every race is different and candidates are different. All I know is that I bring the right experience, having led and managed an office of 600 people, having delivered real results for people across the state, whether it was bringing back 7 billion dollars to taxpayers and rate payers and residents of the state, whether it was finding basic support for small businesses, or work for their cities and towns, whether it was holding big pharma and corporations accountable for all they did to fuel the opioid epidemic.” 

She said, “I realize that the job of governor is different but I think the formula remains the same in terms of the ability to build teams, to collaborate and to get things done.” She spoke about the need to grow the state economy and make Massachusetts affordable by tackling difficult housing and transportation issues. While creating jobs, she said it was necessary to “make sure that we are doing it in a way that brings people together, because I think that so many people are turned off right now by the noise, the politics and the vitriol, and the attacks that are out there.” She noted concerns about the rise of xenophobia and white supremacists in the country at large, and said, “I think we have to be clear about our principles and make clear that we are going to fight to end discrimination and to support opportunities for people here in this state. I look forward to that challenge. 

She concluded, “I am known as someone who will listen, who will collaborate, and who will find ways to solve problems and work to move us forward…I am the person who brings the experience, having managed and led a state agency, and having worked closely with cities and towns and with our federal partners all the way up to the White House. We are going to need that kind of experienced leadership, given the challenges that we are facing.”

Statewide elections will take place on November 8.

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