Press Release: Barbara Lee & Nancy Gertner Join EMILY’S List & Feminist Majority in Supporting Maura Healey

03.10.2014

Prominent National Women Backing Maura Healey for AG

Barbara Lee & Nancy Gertner Join EMILY’S List & Feminist Majority, Adding New Voices in Support of Healey’s Forward-Looking Vision

Boston — Prominent national leaders in women’s issues and progressive politics this week teamed up in support of Democratic candidate for Attorney General, backing the first-time candidate’s unmatched experience in the office and leadership on issues central to the women.

Barbara Lee, president and founder of the Barbara Lee Political Office and the Barbara Lee Family Foundation, and Judge Nancy Gertner, who stepped down from the Federal District Court of Massachusetts in 2011, have signed on to co-chair the campaign’s Women’s Steering Committee, enlisting women throughout the Commonwealth and nation who share Maura’s passion for key issues facing women and who know those issues are at stake in this critical race for Attorney General.

"Maura Healey takes on the tough fights. She's worked to ensure access to reproductive health care and for the civil rights of every Massachusetts resident,” said Judge Gertner. “We need an Attorney General who will fight for equal pay and equal rights. I know that person is Maura Healey. I am honored to serve a co-chair of her Women's Steering Committee.”

Lee and Gertner are legends in the public policy and legal fights critical to the advancement of women’s rights. Barbara Lee has worked to educate the public about gender disparities in government since 1998 and, through her nonpartisan Foundation, gives women candidates, elected officials and other leaders at all levels essential knowledge to meet the challenges of campaigning and governing. Boston Magazine listed her as one of the “100 People Who Run this Town” and the “50 Most Powerful Women.”

Judge Gertner retired from the federal bench in 2011 and is a professor of practice at Harvard Law School.She was appointed to the bench by President Clinton in 1994 and, in 2008, received the Thurgood Marshall Award from the American Bar Association, only the second woman to receive it after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She has spoken, lectured and written extensively on women’s and civil rights.

The announcement follows endorsements of Healey by EMILY’s List and the Feminist Majority, which called out Healey for her front-lines work protecting the buffer zone around women’s health clinics and arguing successfully against the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

“Maura Healey is a champion of equality with a proven record fighting for civil rights of Massachusetts families,” said Stephanie Schriock, President of EMILY’s List. “Her unwavering commitment to justice and years of experience as a Bureau Chief in the Attorney General’s office make Maura the right choice for Massachusetts women and families, and the EMILY’s List community – now more than three million members strong – is excited to help her make history as the first openly gay state attorney general in America.”

“We enthusiastically endorse Maura Healey, a trailblazer for women’s rights, civil rights, and human rights, for Attorney General of Massachusetts,” said Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority said. “She has been an impressive advocate on many issues that advance equality for all women. Her early leadership to establish one of the first state buffer zone laws to protect women’s health clinics and abortion providers from violence is an example of her commitment to women’s health and well- being. Moreover her commitment to human rights can be seen in her historic leadership in writing the first major state challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act and developing the prevailing argument of the nation’s first state lawsuit striking down discrimination against same-sex marriage. Her fight to end predatory student loan practices of some for-profit colleges indicates her dedication to consumer protection.”

The significant new backing comes at the end of a week when Healey was endorsed by Senate Majority Leader Stanley C. Rosenberg (D-Amherst), who has secured enough votes to become Senate President in the next legislative session, alongside Senators Daniel A. Wolf (D-Harwich), founder and CEO of Cape Air, and James B. Eldridge (D-Acton).

The former Assistant Attorney General has also been endorsed by the first District Attorney to endorse in the race, Northwestern DA David Sullivan, former U.S. Senator William “Mo” Cowan and groups such as MassEquality and the national Victory Fund.

Healey thanked the leaders for rallying to her side in the contested Democratic primary. “I’m so thankful these legends in the fight for equality are on my side,” said Healey. “They share my vision that our Attorney General must have deep professional experience both in court and in managing major parts of the office and be able to continue our nation-leading work on behalf of people in this state.”

Before stepping down in October to run for Attorney General, Healey, 43, served as chief of both the Public Protection & Advocacy and Business and Labor Bureaus, overseeing more than half the attorneys and staff in the far-reaching office. She previously served as chief of the important Civil Rights Division, where she built the case and argued the nation’s first successful legal challenge to the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act.

While in the AG’s office, Healey led work against predatory lenders, led the innovative HomeCorps program helping prevent foreclosures, led the state’s implementation of the buffer zone around women’s health centers, and worked with law enforcement partners across the Commonwealth to implement tough new anti-bullying rules, and corporations such as Apple to achieve landmark national settlements for people with disabilities.

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