by @SarahCortes- Massachusetts Attorney General candidate Maura Healey spent the week with leaders across Cambridge, defining herself, discussing issues, demonstrating her public speaking ability and setting herself apart from others in the field. "I am the only candidate who has served in the Attorney General's office," she noted. Tonight a crowd gathered to meet with Healey and hear her speak, including artist and former Skadden Arps lawyer and Amnesty International Legal Support Network founder Lori Lander, and former longtime Executive Director of the Cambridge Women’s Commission and former President of the Board of Directors of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Massachusetts Nancy Ryan.
"As a 5'4" pro basketball player, you know I'm scrappy," said the former Miss New Hampshire Basketball and Olympic trial contender, referring to her athletic career. Healey captained Harvard's women's basketball team to an Ivy Championship and played pro basketball in Austria before starting a legal career where she became a top aide to Attorney General Martha Coakley. Healey noted, "I'm a product of Title IX and a beneficiary of Title IX," referring to the federal law that mandated equality for girls and women in educational athletics. As one of the first generation of professional women athletes, former Harvard Briggs Cage top scorer Healey played for UBBC Wustenrot Salzburg, now UNION BSC Salzburg.
In Coakley's office, Healey lead the team that successfully challenged the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which denied federal benefits to same-sex couples by defining marriage exclusively as a union between a man and a woman, in Massachusetts vs. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In handing victory to Healy in a withering decision against HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and others, Judge Joseph L. Tauro ruled that Massachusetts's standing to bring suit against DOMA was "not contingent, as the [US] government suggests, on Thomas Hopkins--or another similarly-situated individual--being lowered into his grave at Winchendon" cemetary, but that Healy had amply demonstrated required financial injury to the state. Further, that, "the [US] government has offered little to disprove the persuasive precedential and historical arguments set forth by the Commonwealth to establish that marital status determinations are an attribute of state sovereignty." Sebelius, no stranger to stinging judicial defeats, received another loss for her actions blocking access to the "morning-after" contraceptive pill. Judge Korman's decision in Tummino v. Hamburg summarily dismissed Sebelious's position as a "...silly argument [that] ignores the fact...that appeal is taken solely to vindicate the improper conduct of the Secretary," and, "this argument...is largely an insult to the intelligence of women."
Healey's record reflects consistent, successful efforts on behalf of the disabled, affirmative action programs, housing subsidy recipients, same-sex marriage proponents, and pregnant women in employment discrimination. In Perry v. Schwarzenegger and later Perry v. Brown, Healey filed amicus briefs in support of the successful effort to invalidate California's Proposition 8, which attempted to define marriage in heterosexual terms. In Massachusetts v. ETrade Access, Healey successfully argued that ATMs must accommodate blind customers, and then followed up and won contempt judgements when banks failed to comply with agreements to do so. In Comfort v. Lynn School Committee, Healey supported a school assignment plan that took race into account. In Joulé Technical Staffing v. Simmons, Healey argued on behalf of an employee who filed a complaint of discrimination against an employer, on the basis of pregnancy. In Diliddo v. Oxford St. Realty, she argued on behalf of a housing subsidy recipient against a landlord seeking to exclude her from renting.
Reflecting her years as a litigator, Healey spoke knowledgeably and articulately about civil rights, consumer protection, gun violence, criminal justice reform, reproductive rights, and encouraging and supporting the technology industry in Massachusetts. A Northeastern University Law school graduate and former Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr associate, Healey has extensive legal credentials. In her campaign, Healey is working to demonstrate her ability to raise funds, speak publicly and endure the rigors of a political race.
Healey's relaxed, engaging manner, intelligence and comfort speaking with individuals in a small group or larger setting impressed observers assessing her viability as a candidate. Other leaders at the gathering included Jonathan Sclarsic, Andrew Lewman, and Cambridge School Committee Member Patty Nolan. Author Cheryl Suchors, reproductive rights activist Susan Yanow, and lawyer, public policy analyst and former White House intern Alex Tischenko also numbered among those Healey consulted at the gathering. Broad Instittue founder, MacArthur Fellow and Rhodes Scholar and biologist, geneticist and MIT Professor Eric Lander co-hosted the event with Lori Lander, who also serves as Director to numerous Cambridge and Boston art and social justice nonprofits.
Tuesday, Healey attended a briefing Tuesday on domestic violence and sexual assault issues with Cambridge-based advocates, including Emerge Batterer Intervention Program Co-Executive Director David Adams, Transition House Executive Director Risa Mednick, and a group of leaders and advocates for eliminating domestic violence.
Orignially published at CCTVcambridge.org/MauraHealy