BOSTON - Maura Healey was sworn Thursday afternoon as the first woman and first member of the LGBTQ community to be elected governor in Massachusetts.
Healey took the oath of office in the House chamber shortly after 12:30 p.m. becoming the 73rd governor of the Commonwealth.
"I'm thrilled. It's really, really exciting," Healey told WBZ-TV's Nick Giovanni Thursday morning before the ceremony. "It's an honor and an exciting day."
"It is the honor of my life to lead this state," Healey told the chamber after getting a standing ovation that lasted about two minutes before she could begin her speech.
In her address, she outlined some of the goals of her administration. She faces severalincluding fixing the MBTA, making housing more affordable in the state and improving education.
"We have untold wealth in the Commonwealth. But record public revenue does little good when families can't pay the rent, or buy a home, heat their home, or pay for child care," Healey said. "This is the greatest state in the union. But people are leaving at some of the highest rates in the country. Giving up on the Massachusetts story."
She also wants to address the state having some of the highest child care costs in the country.
"Our care workers don't make a livable wage, Healey said. "Let's finally pass legislation in line with Common Start to make sure every family pays what they can afford, and that care workers are paid what they deserve."
Healey said fixing the cost of living in the state is among her top priorities.
"We have to make Massachusetts a place that people can afford to call home. Our people can't realize their dreams until we end the nightmare of high costs," Healey said.
On higher education, the governor said she will create a new program called MassReconnect to offer "free community college to students over 25 who don't have a college degree."
The governor also wants to hire 1,000 additional workers at the MBTA.
"The state of our trains and roads and bridges today is unacceptable," she said. "Let's acknowledge that we can't have a functioning economy without a functioning T."
Healey will need to appoint a new MBTA general manager and in the next two months she'll hire a "Safety Chief to inspect our system, top to bottom and track by track."
The governor addressed climate change as well, saying she believes Massachusetts "can lead the world." Healy said she will create and appoint the country's first "Cabinet-level climate chief" on Friday.
"She will work across government and with every city and town to meet our climate goals and achieve our economic potential," the governor said. "We will match our ambitions with our investments."
Healey also promised to "act with empathy and with equity" as governor.
"Let the word go out to people and businesses here and in every part of this country. In Massachusetts, you are welcomed. You are included. You are protected. This is a state where we will never relinquish the right to reproductive freedom. Where we prize and protect human rights. And civil rights. And gay rights. And equality. And democracy," she said.
Healey's time in office with Kim Driscoll will mark the first time Massachusetts has seen two women holding the roles of governor and lieutenant governor, a long-awaited moment for those who have worked alongside the former attorney general.
"For women, we're a minority in the legislature, but we have a mighty voice. Probably louder than our numbers so to have a woman as the governor, finally - it's a great day," Rep. Sarah Peake, who represents Barnstable's fourth district, said.
"I think it's good. I think beyond saying they're women, they're qualified women. They're women who deserve to be where they are," added former House Speaker Robert DeLeo.
Massachusetts Sen. and U.S. Sec. of State John Kerry said he believes Healey will bring more stability to Massachusetts.
"She's a groundbreaking in so many different ways. A terrific person … I think she's going to be terrific." Kerry said. "You can't hurt by taking the best of Charlie and whatever it is. I think there will be continuity. I don't think it's going to be craziness like what we're seeing in Washington."
Healey hosted anat the TD Garden Thursday evening.
She is taking over for, who did not run for re-election. Baker will become NCAA president in March.
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