Maura Healey Running A Campaign About Nothing

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Maura Healey could be the next governor of Massachusetts.

What does that mean?

I don’t know. 

I don’t think a lot of people know what it would mean, either.

The reason I say that is she’s been extremely light on policy details so far. She’s running what many call a Seinfeld campaign:  a campaign about nothing.

The Democrat and incumbent attorney general is largely relying on name recognition. She has been elected statewide twice:  first in 2014 and again in 2018. This, in theory, makes her a strong candidate and an overwhelming favorite to win the Democratic primary — which gives her a very good chance of being our state’s next governor.

Healey has been in the race for more than two months now and it’s unclear what she thinks on many major issues.

If you go to her campaign web site, you won’t find that information, either. She doesn’t have an issues page where people can go and quickly find out where she stands.

So does that mean she has commented on hot-button issues elsewhere? She has commented vaguely on some issues, but others? Not at all.

Whether or not you agree with the other Democratic candidate for governor, state Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz (D-Jamaica Plain), she deserves credit. Chang-Diaz is running on supporting Medicare-for-All at the state level, fare-free MBTA rides, publicly-funded college, and universal prekindergarten, among other things. Plus, as a member of the Massachusetts legislature, she is on the record supporting many bills — be it votes or sponsoring legislation.  

We don’t know what Healey thinks about any of those issues. We know that she hates Donald Trump, doesn’t support a U.S.-Mexico border wall, thinks access to abortion and health care should be expanded (with no details of how), thinks people who don’t want men in women’s bathrooms shouldn’t use public bathrooms, and that she was O.K. with people committing arson in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

She hasn’t talked about our state’s social issues like physician-assisted suicide, gambling, expanding the state’s sex-ed guidelines, banning American Indian mascot names, or allowing Gender X on birth certificates. You might be able to guess where she is on those issue; but that’s all it is — a guess.

She wouldn’t tell The Boston Globe her position on sports betting this week. Where is she on that?

We know she’s against neo-Nazis. That’s brave.

She calls herself a progressive, but she didn’t fill out candidate questionnaires sent to her from Progressive Massachusetts and Our Revolution, two left-of-center organizations. Whenever NewBostonPost has contacted her campaign, there has been no response.

In short, she doesn’t want you to know her political views. And she’s running for the highest elected political office in the state.

On the other hand, the campaigns for Chang-Diaz, former state representative Geoff Diehl (R-Whitman), and Wrentham businessman and Republican Chris Doughty have done a good job at responding to inquiries. 

What is the Healey agenda? Can anyone answer that?

Former state Senator Ben Downing (D-Pittsfield), who dropped out of the gubernatorial race earlier this year, feels the same way. He told The Boston Globe earlier this month that he doesn’t know what Healey would do if elected.

“You have Sonia as the progressive standard-bearer, the darling of the liberal activists and if the election were on Twitter, that is probably the best primary she can have,” Downing said. “And Maura I know would push back against being described as more moderate in her messaging or otherwise. But I don’t think any of us have a clear answer for:  on day one, Governor Healey does . . . what?”

If you’re running for governor, you should have a clear answer to that question. 

If I were governor of this state, I know exactly what I’d want to do:  legalize fireworks, ban revenge porn, amend the state’s hiring process to emphasize skills over degrees, reform occupational licensing, establish a state-level child tax credit, cut bloat in higher education, combat substance abuse (be it alcohol, tobacco, drugs) and treat addiction as an illness, use my platform to organize a ballot initiative on transparency in the legislature (making the legislature subject to public records requests and committee votes public, for example), among other things. 

If I can put that together off the top of my head, then how come Maura Healey hasn’t put anything together in two months?

At the moment, Healey’s bid looks like another my turn campaign — like Hillary Clinton running for president in 2016 or Joe Kennedy III running for U.S. Senate in 2020. 

If a candidate thinks your vote is a blank check for that candidate to do whatever she wants, be wary of that candidate.

If she doesn’t think she owes you answers now, what makes you think you’ll get them later?


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