Maura Healey, Kim Driscoll focus on economy at campaign kickoff in Worcester

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Maura Healey and Kim Driscoll, Candidates for Governor and Lt. Gov.

Maura Healey and Kim Driscoll, the Democratic candidates for Governor and Lt. Governor made their first public appearance as a ticket in Worcester.

Christine Peterson/Telegram & Gazette, Christine Peterson/Telegram & Gazette

WORCESTER — Launching their general election campaign as the Democratic ticket for governor and lieutenant governor at Worcester Public Market, Attorney General Maura T. Healey and Salem Mayor Kimberley Driscoll stressed their message of economic development. 

Healey said that beginning their campaign in Worcester at the Public Market on Kelley Square was an intentional decision.

“It’s an area, and a city and a region, that represents the kind of economic development that we are so ready to champion,” Healey said. “And it represents what I think is so incredibly exciting where we are in the state right now.” 

The event was Healey’s and Driscoll’s first after winning their primary races. Healey, of Boston, became the nominee for governor without any active opposition after state Sen. Sonia R. Chang-Díaz of Boston stopped campaigning.

Driscoll won the nomination for lieutenant governor, besting state Sen. Eric P. Lesser of Longmeadow and state Rep. Tami L. Gouveia of Acton.       

After Healey and Driscoll got to Worcester Public Market, they stopped at a couple of the stands to greet the vendors. They tried out wine from Canal District Wines and gelato at Froze Zone. 

At a press event inside Wachusett Brew Yard, Mayor Joseph M. Petty introduced the Democratic ticket. 

“They know the issue that every mayor faces here in the city of Worcester, every town, every city whether it comes to affordability, reproductive rights, mental health,” Petty said.

Emphasis on economic opportunity and jobs

Healey and Driscoll repeatedly emphasized economic opportunity and jobs, and support for reproductive rights in an address that also referenced their shared experience as college basketball players.  

“I think it’s really clear the message to voters that we’re going to be able to bring forward the next nine weeks,” Driscoll said. “If you want an administration that’s going to be delivering for people, not dividing people, you need a team approach. We know something about teamwork.”

In her address, Healey talked up the economic development in Worcester, referencing its population growth and the various development projects around Polar Park. 

When asked how she would keep cities such as Worcester from becoming unaffordable, Healey said creating more housing for a range of income levels, especially housing that is oriented around transit, would be the top priority. 

“This is a real issue of Massachusetts competitiveness, and both of us are pretty competitive,” Healey said. “We don’t want to lose to any other state. I don’t like it when I hear from CEOs that they’re thinking about having to go elsewhere because too many of their employees are having to deal with real concerns about cost of housing.”

In addition, Healey said that some Massachusetts cities needed to look at adjusting zoning laws. 

‘(Diehl) wants to bring Trumpism’ to Mass.

Healey and Driscoll also repeatedly characterized former state Rep. Geoff Diehl of Whitman, the Republican nominee for governor who was the choice of former President Donald Trump, as the candidate of Trump’s ideals in a state where the former president lost by large margins in both of his elections. 

“(Diehl) wants to bring Trumpism into Massachusetts. He was endorsed by Donald Trump, he led Donald Trump’s campaign in Massachusetts and he’s already said he will vote for Donald Trump in 2024,” Driscoll said. 

“There’s so much noise and unnecessary divisiveness right now getting in the way, we want to bring people together, not tear people apart,” Healey said. “Geoff Diehl is about tearing people apart.”

Massachusetts Republicans nominated Leah Cole Allen, a former state representative from Danvers, for lieutenant governor. 

When asked about Diehl’s offer of three debates, Healey said her team has already agreed to one and that they are still evaluating the potential for others. 

While political forecasters and polls have indicated that Healey and Driscoll are string favorites to win in November, Healey rejected the idea that the race would be a “layup” and said she would continue to work hard for every vote.