Remarks to the 2015 Democratic State Convention

Remarks of Attorney General Maura Healey
Democratic State Convention
Springfield, Massachusetts
September 19, 2015


Good morning Democrats. Thank you Chairman McGee. It’s great to be here in Springfield.  And it’s really great to be here with all of you.

A year ago, I stood before you. You let me my share my story. You invited me to make my case. And one thing is certain, I would not be standing here today without all of you.

It’s a privilege to work for the people of Massachusetts. Every day I’m grateful. Every day I’m inspired by the trust you’ve placed in me.  And every day, I am motivated, by the power and the possibility of equality, justice and fairness for all.

Because the fight of your Attorney General is about standing up for the people of Massachusetts. Securing opportunity for everyone. That’s the fight of the People’s Lawyer. That’s the fight of our Party. That’s what defines us. That’s what it means to be a Democrat.

When I said I wanted to be the People’s Lawyer, I meant all the people. That’s why we created the office’s first-ever Community Engagement Division, to bring our work and our resources into every neighborhood.

For people to know, that, no matter who you are, no matter where you live, we are there for you. And we know, as we reach out to cities, rural towns, and suburbs across this state, what’s most important is to fight for our most vulnerable residents.

And we’re working hard to do just that.

By launching new initiatives in schools and communities on relationship violence, domestic violence and child protection.

By going after those who exploit and traffic human beings, not only for sex but in labor and an underground economy.

And by using the power and the platform of our office to fight for reforms to our criminal justice system.

As I said to you a year ago, I am a civil rights attorney and criminal justice reform is a civil rights issue.

Nowhere is our work more important than in the battle against heroin and prescription drug addiction. Since taking office, that has been my number one priority.

I’ve seen it in the rising numbers of overdoses, deaths and families torn apart by addiction.

I’ve heard it in the desperate cries and pleas from people across this state.

And you have too. All of you, put up your hands if you know someone - a family member, friend, neighbor, or co-worker who has been impacted by this epidemic.

Some of you have been impacted in the most profound ways. Like my friend Cathy Fennelly who lost her son Paul to this deadly disease. Cathy has the courage, and you have the chance, to help put a face on this crisis and say, “Something needs to be done.”

That’s what drives me. That’s what drives my team.

Focusing on prevention and treatment for mental health and substance use.

Giving every first responder access to Narcan.

Cracking down on abusive prescribers and pharmaceutical companies – because it’s time they focus on health, not wealth, and put people over profits.

That’s what we need to do, that’s what we will do, and I won’t quit and you won’t quit until we get there.

And speaking of putting people over profits, we’re also focused on the economic security of our families. Last year, the average American CEO made a salary 204 times more than their employees.  204 times more.

As our economy has recovered, the gains have gone to those already on top - squeezed from a middle class that is working more hours and taking on more debt than their parents.

That inequality threatens an entire way of life – ordinary families are facing extraordinary odds to succeed.

Yes, I’m the Attorney General, but you know what, I’m also the proud daughter and granddaughter of union workers and I know what unions have done for this country, and the path they have created for families and future generations.

We need to champion the collective bargaining that will help rebuild our middle class.

And I want the men and women of the Massachusetts labor movement and all who support it to stand.

That’s what drives me. That’s what drives my team.

We’ve seen what we can accomplish when we work together. Last year, with the help of every person in this room, Massachusetts passed the strongest sick leave law in the country.

I was proud to share the stage two weeks ago with President Obama as he announced that he’s taking sick leave national. The President came to Boston for one reason. Because Massachusetts knows how to lead.

Massachusetts leadership brought us public education.

Massachusetts leadership brought us a clean energy economy for a 21st century America.

And Massachusetts leadership brought marriage equality from the steps of Cambridge City Hall to the clerk’s office in Rowan County, Kentucky.

Democrats did that. You did that.

Today, we’re continuing to lead by working to pass the state’s first equal pay law in 70 years. Because equal pay isn’t just a women’s issue – it’s a core economic issue for every family.

I am proud that, for the first time, the Attorney General’s Office is offering paid parental leave to our employees. And I’m even prouder that more Massachusetts businesses are stepping forward to make sure that paid leave is available to all new parents.

And while we look out for parents, we have to look out for young people. That’s why I’m proud to be teaming up with Senator Elizabeth Warren to fight for students who are drowning in debt -- $1.3 trillion.

Together, we’re leading efforts here and in Washington to hold the schools and the lenders accountable to our students. Because that’s how we build opportunity for every family in Massachusetts.

That’s what drives me. That’s what drives my team.

Why do we do this? Why are these our fights?

Because we’re Democrats.

Because we believe we are stronger when our society includes everyone.

The fast-food worker who dreams of a better future for her children.

The transgender student trying hard to live life to the fullest and who needs us to pass a public accommodations bill this year.

The woman who goes to Planned Parenthood to access the health care she needs. It’s wrong that there are some in Washington who would choose to shut down our government in order to deny someone’s daughter, sister, or mother health care.

And because we are Democrats, because we don’t just believe we are stronger, but because we are stronger when our society includes everyone, we stand with the immigrant, who like our parents, our grandparents or great-grandparents before us, came to this country in search of a better life.

We need to fight for those students, that family, that mother, that worker.

Democrats know we don’t fire people for their diversity. Or the language they speak at home.

America is not Donald Trump’s boardroom. And who we have been, who we are, and who we will be, as Americans is not a reality TV show.

We need to fight for our values.

That’s what I’m doing as your Attorney General.

And I ask that you continue to join me in these fights and in the fights ahead.

Thank you Democrats. Let’s go out, let’s get after it, and let’s fight every day, for every person in this state.

Thank you so much.

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