Maura Healey has been sworn in as Massachusetts' newest Attorney General. Healey will be the state's 55th AG, following a long line of attorneys taking the office since Paul Dudley's role as Attorney-General of the Province of Massachusetts Bay in 1702. The oath of office was administered by Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph Gants in Faneuil Hall. Following the oath of office, Healey has indicated the direction she wants to take the Attorney General, in protecting the state's young people.
Prior to the election, Healey was a bureau chief with the Office of the Attorney General under her predecessor Martha Coakley. She was also a prosecutor with the Middlesex District Attorney's office, and has previous securities litigation experience at a private law firm. Healey will be the second woman to head the Attorney General's office, and the first openly gay Attorney General for the state. Although Healey has never made her orientation a major issue, gay rights activists see her election as a step forward in civil rights equality.
In the speech following her swearing in, Healey announced she would create a "first-of-its-kind" division. "The division will fight to keep our children safe and healthy, in their schools and in their homes, on the streets and online," said Healey. "Together with our partners, we will take on teen addiction, dating violence, and child abuse, and find ways to reduce the number of young people in our juvenile justice system."
Sexual assaults on campus will be another area of focus for Healey. Heroin and prescription drug abuse will also be on her radar. However, the list of issues to be addressed continues. Healey announced plans to form a task force to address the drug issue. She called prescription drug abuse a public health crisis. In part, Healey hopes to expand the prescription monitoring program, increase public education, and look at what is behind the increase in price for the anti-overdose drug Narcan.
Healey has already promised strict enforcement of casino law while speaking before the Gaming Commission. She referenced prevention of criminal abuse of the gaming industry, withprevious attempts to illegally profit from the gambling industry by individuals tied to organized crime. "In this new era, the public must feel confident that no casinos will be brought online before meeting their commitments and following the law," said Healey.
According to Healey, becoming the Attorney General "means leading an office that reaches out to the communities as often as it litigates." Healey's speech continued, "far too many have had their lives turned upside down by gun violence, domestic violence, and sexual assault, whether at the hands of human traffickers or college classmates."
Outgoing Attorney General Martha Coakley is moving across town to a position at Harvard. Coakley will be a resident fellow at the Kennedy School's Institute of Politics. Coakley was busy in the months leading up to the November election, running for the office of Massachusetts governor. She was the Democratic nominee, but was narrowly defeated by now governor Charlie Baker.