Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, an out lesbian, has won the gubernatorial race in the Bay State, fending off a challenge from Trump-backed Republican Geoff Diehl.
Healey’s victory makes her the first out lesbian to ever be elected governor of any state, and only the second woman to ever serve as governor of Massachusetts. Outgoing Oregon Gov. Kate Brown is bisexual, and incumbent Colorado Gov. Jared Polis is openly gay.
Healey was one of two lesbians seeking governorships this cycle. Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek, a Democrat, is seeking to succeed Brown as the state’s top executive, in a race that most pundits classify as a “tossup.”
Healey and her running mate, Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll, were one of three all-female governor/lieutenant governor tickets in the United States, and will become the first female pairing ever elected to lead a state, reports The Associated Press. She also becomes the first attorney general in the commonwealth’s history — regardless of party — to successfully seek the governor’s race.
Healey campaigned on education, job training, and affordable child care, and — particularly after recent actions by the U.S. Supreme Court — cast her herself as a defender of abortion rights in a heavily Catholic state. She also campaigned on her record as Attorney General, including her fights against predatory lenders and lawsuits she lodged against pharmaceutical companies for allegedly deceiving patients and doctors about the risk of opioids.
LGBTQ groups celebrated Healey’s win, with both the Human Rights Campaign and LGBTQ Victory Fund praising the campaign she ran.
“Tonight, Maura Healey made history, becoming the first out lesbian governor this nation has ever elected,” HRC Interim President Joni Madison said in a statement. ” Tonight, Massachusetts embraced a platform of equality and inclusion by electing a pro-equality champion. With her in the statehouse, LGBTQ+ youth across Massachusetts and the United States will get to see that they are represented at the highest levels of government, and that they can achieve anything they set their minds on.
“We celebrate Maura Healey’s historic win and look forward to working with her to continue to fight for a Massachusetts that is inclusive and welcoming to all,” added Madison.
Annise Parker, a former mayor of Houston who serves as president and CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund, acknowledged the various hurdles that Healey had to face.
“It is an uphill battle for LGBTQ candidates and women candidates to win high-level elected office, but Massachusetts voters know Maura is a fighter and today helped her make U.S. political history,” Parker said in a statement.
“Maura is one of the most compassionate and courageous public servants in America, never backing down from a tough fight on behalf of the underdog,” added Parker. “In the face of so much hate and intolerance sweeping our nation, her win is a sign — especially to LGBTQ kids in desperate need of hope — that LGBTQ people have a place in American society and can become respected public leaders.”
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