By Kathryn Gallerani | May 17, 2018
KINGSTON – Attorney General Maura Healey walked into the Kingston Intermediate School auditorium Tuesday night, taking the time to stop and talk to people on her way to the front of the room.
Addressing about 80 guests at her 18th Town Hall meeting in over a year, Healey said it’s important in her role as attorney general to listen.
“I really believe that for me to do this job well and to be the people’s lawyer, and that’s why I ran for attorney general, because I believe the role of the attorney general is to be the people’s lawyer, to do my job effectively, a big part of this is making sure that I am out there listening,” she said.
She said her father was a selectman where she grew up, and she would go to the town dump with him on Saturdays and watch and listen as people approached him and the other two selectmen to talk. After those conversations, they would take action.
Former Senate President Therese Murray was on hand to introduce Healey at the event hosted by the Kingston Democratic Town Committee as a leader who stands up and puts herself out there to fight for what she believes in.
Healey said she wants to understand people’s needs and concerns and to have a conversation. More than ever, she said, citizens need to be actively engaged in democracy in their communities. She encouraged reaching out to her office so she can be a resource to residents.
While the intent of the forum was for residents to ask questions about issues of concern to them, she opened the forum with a status report on what she’s been doing as attorney general.
She said consumers who are victims of fraud, for example, can get help from her office. Utility companies that want to increase electric rates have been prevented from doing so. The Fair Labor division ensures that fair wages are paid. Different units provide services.
More than ever, she said, citizens need to be actively engaged in democracy in their communities.
Her top priority, she said, has been combating the opioid crisis because so many people have shared their family’s stories of addiction with her.
She said she worked to stop the maker of Narcan from jacking up the price charged to emergency responders so they could not afford access to it, sent a team to monitor doctors who were prescribing opioids for their patients, leading to addiction, and was active in changing pharmacy dispensing practices to require training to cut down on pharmacy shopping and doctor shopping.
She stressed the need for accountability and the importance of investigating the six branded opioid manufacturers, one of which is the subject of a lawsuit by other states. Healey has not filed the lawsuit yet but has sent a letter of intent to sue.
More than ever, she said, efforts are needed to prevent addiction by educating young people and providing care and treatment and behavioral health services. She has a new initiative called Project Here in conjunction with the GE Foundation and former Celtic and addict Chris Herren aimed at fighting substance abuse in middle schools. A mobile app will help connect to young people where they are and connect them with the resources they need.
“We owe it to our young people to do far more than we’re doing and to act with greater urgency,” she said.
Finally, she said, her office has been actively suing President Donald Trump’s administration over universal access to healthcare, including attacks on the Affordable Care Act and threatening funding for Medicare and insurance coverage for contraceptives. She praised the state’s clean energy efforts and said she has has sued protect those resources. She also touched on the need for student loan debt reform.
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