In the off-hours from work, when Attorney General Maura Healey needs to spend some time in her campaign headquarters, she doesn’t need to drive long distances across the state.
She simply puts on her sneakers and takes a light jog from her home on the Training Field down to Main Street – where she has established a highly visible and heavily trafficked campaign office in Charlestown as she ramps up her first re-election campaign for the job of top law enforcement officer in the state.
“Charlestown is home, and its where I live,” she said. “It’s a great community and political atmosphere. I am happy to set up shop right here on Main Street. It’s great having a presence on Main Street in a location so visible and accessible so that people can come by. We want that. We want them to come by and hear about our priorities and hear about the initiatives we’re fighting for. I want them to come by and share their views…That’s really exciting. We want that dynamic exchange with people and that’s why I’m excited to be on Main Street.”
In 2014, during a very crowded race for AG statewide, Healey set up an office on Sullivan Square, and while it gave her a presence in the Town, it didn’t have the same splash that her patriotic-themed Main Street location has.
In front, one will find a water dish for dogs, and a nice ‘We the People’ bench that was custom painted and donated to her by Charlestown resident Ann Kelleher. Others have donated tables, while one person donated a piece of art for the walls.
“We’ve been running hard for re-election and will continue to do so for the next 100 days until the general election,” she said.
AG Healey is running unopposed this time around.
In fact, she said she and her volunteers, including her sister Tara Healey – also of Charlestown, began their canvassing project right on the hills of Charlestown. From there, they have spread out across the state to hit voters at home and run the grass-roots style campaign that Healey has brought into the office with her – often referring to herself as “the people’s lawyer.”
“I love my job as the people’s lawyer and do my job in a way that ensures I am an advocate for the people,” she said. “Not everyone can afford a high-priced attorney, but we can be there to be the voice for them on a number of different issues our office handles. I also really appreciate the support I’ve received from the Charlestown community. They were there for me in the primary and general election in 2014. I’m proud to live here and do things in the community like march in the Battle of Bunker Hill Parade. I’m proud to put my headquarters here and hope to receive support from my community in November.”
One of her top issues, if elected again, will be something she has already made a priority, and that is the opioid crisis.
“The opioid crisis continues to be at the top of my priorities,” she said. “We did a few things already. We were the first to go after the makers of Narcan and make the drug more cheaply available to our first responders.”
One of the largest cases on opiates that her office has initiated is suing Perdue Pharma – makers of opiate prescription pills – and its distributors.
Lately, though, she said, the focus for her office has been going out into the community to visit middle school students and talk to them about the dangers of opioids. While it seems like an early age, Healey said she has discovered that if one waits until high school to have such conversations, it’s almost too late.
“Now, you have to hit them earlier,” she said. “Once they get to high school, it’s almost too late. We have a lot more to do.”
In a similar vein, she said she is working to take action against some of the vaping companies that market nicotine products to young people in the form of candy-like flavors.
“That’s just not for adults; it’s for kids and to get them addicted to nicotine,” she said.
The issues are endless, as the AG’s office has responsibilities that range from student loan assistance to consumer protections to Medicaid fraud to elder scam protection.
Back at the office on Main Street, campaign volunteers are abuzz making calls and checking on voter databases.
On the wall is a daily inspirational quote, and on Monday that quote was from Hillary Clinton. In the back is a basketball hoop game, a nod to Healey’s love of basketball and her former collegiate and professional career.
Charlestown office Field Director Maureen Kelledy said the office is the central gathering point for volunteers to set up and make calls, as well as to prepare for cavasses across the state. About 10 to 15 volunteers can be found working most days on the campaign.
Healey said she often heads out from her headquarters to the supermarket or coffee shop, and will get stopped by voters to talk about specific issues. It’s something she relishes.
“I think that’s a great thing,” she said. “You want government to be accessible and you want people elected to be accessible. The people are who I serve. They may not agree with every decision I make, but at the end of the day, they will know that I’m trying my very best.”