Area politicians weigh in on Healey’s entrance into governor’s race

  • Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, left, greets supporters during a campaign stop at the Maverick Square T station Thursday in Boston. Healey announced Thursday that she’s entering the race for Massachusetts governor. AP PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 1/20/2022 8:31:11 PM

NORTHAMPTON — The much-expected entrance of Attorney General Maura Healey into the race for the Democratic nomination for governor caught the attention of politicians and political observers from across the state, and western Massachusetts was no exception.

“She’s instantly become the front-runner,” said Matt Szafranski, editor in chief of Western Mass Politics and Insight, who noted that Healey has more than $3 million in her campaign coffers.

Her major opponents in the primary for the moment are state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, D-Boston, and Harvard professor Danielle Allen, and Szafranski said that if either of them survives the party’s convention, there’s always a path. However, he also said that it’s easier to raise millions of dollars when you already have millions of dollars.

On the Republican side, former state Rep. Geoff Diehl is running for governor.

Right off the bat, the attorney general captured the support of two of Easthampton’s political heavyweights: Mayor Nicole LaChapelle and Rep. Dan Carey, D-Easthampton.

“I think Maura Healey will make a great governor,” Carey said.

He also said that while he hadn’t gotten a chance to talk to her yet, he intends to endorse Healey.

“She’s about hard work and results,” Carey said. “That’s what we need in the corner office.”

LaChapelle said that Healey’s entrance opens the door to a more holistic conversation on the issues, and this includes both Healey and her major opponents. However, LaChapelle did not hide her allegiance in the governor’s race.

“I’m with Maura,” she said.

She also said that Healey represents a “tantalizing opportunity” to have someone who has litigated on important issues for western Massachusetts assume the role of governor.

Another local leader who is all-in with Healey is Rep. Mindy Domb, D-Amherst.

“I’m extremely excited about Maura Healey entering the governor’s race,” Domb said.

Domb said that Healey has exceeded her expectations as attorney general and would make an “exceptional governor.”

She also said that Healey is very familiar with the western part of the state and understands its challenges.

Rep. Natalie Blais, D-Sunderland, said that having so many women run for governor is a historic moment. She also said that while she has not yet endorsed in the race she’s“strongly leaning towards Maura Healey.”

Rep. Lindsay Sabadosa, D-Northampton, was an early supporter of Chang-Diaz, and the entrance of Healey into the race hasn’t changed who she is backing to be the commonwealth’s next governor.

“I’m glad that she’s made a decision,” said Sabadosa, on Healey throwing her hat into the ring. “Now that the waiting game is over, there will be more time to talk about the issues.”

Sabadosa also noted the historic nature of the major candidates being two women of color and an LGBTQ woman.

“That is an amazing feat for the state of Massachusetts,” she said. “We are not a state that tends to elect women to the corner office.”

State Sen. Adam Hinds, D-Pittsfield, is running for lieutenant governor.

“The attorney general’s entry into the race makes the field even more historic than it was,” Hinds said.

Hinds said that he looks forward to bringing regional balance to the ticket, and he said he will do all he can to make sure the next governor is a Democratic woman.

He also said that he’s worked with both Healey and Chang-Diaz before, and that he will see how things develop endorsement-wise.

“I’ll stay focused on my race for now,” he said.

Rep. Paul Mark, D-Peru, is running for state Senate in the successor to Hinds’ district.

“I think it’s very exciting,” said Mark, of Healey’s entrance.

Mark was a supporter of former state Sen. Ben Downing in the governor’s race, who exited the contest last month. And while Mark’s not endorsing at this time, he’s looking forward to hearing from the candidates.

“I’m uncommitted at this point,” Mark said.

Mark also noted the importance of western Massachusetts in a Democratic primary because of the region’s high turnout, and said that candidates interested in winning and being a good governor are going to want to spend a lot of time in the region.

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.
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