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Maura Healey makes history as first openly lesbian U.S. governor

Written by on November 8, 2022

aura Healey made history on Election Day, becoming the first woman to be elected governor of Massachusetts and the first openly lesbian governor in U.S. history.

Healey, who was the first openly gay attorney general elected in the country in 2014, was previously a civil rights lawyer. She led the first state challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act, which banned same-sex marriage.

As attorney general, she worked to hold Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family accountable for their role in fueling the opioid epidemic, and her office sued Exxon Mobil for lying about climate change.

She ran on a platform of investing in housing, public transportation, the clean energy economy, and job training.

Healey won the gubernatorial race against Republican Geoff Diehl. Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, decided not to seek re-election.

Massachusetts has had a woman governor before — Jane Swift was the first woman to fill the office in 2001 — but she was appointed to the role, not elected, when former Governor Paul Cellucci was named U.S. Ambassador to Canada.

Healey ran alongside lieutenant governor candidate Kim Driscoll, the mayor of Salem.

The Human Rights Campaign applauded Healey’s win, saying, “as one of our nation’s first lesbian governors, she will not only be a champion of pro-equality policies, but also a role model for the entire LGBTQ+ community.”

The U.S. also has a chance to see its second openly lesbian governor elected on Tuesday. Tina Kotek, Oregon’s Speaker of the House, is running for governor of her state against Republican Christine Drazan and independent candidate Betsy Johnson. Oregon has had a Democratic governor since 1987.

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