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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

AG HEALEY PRIORITIZES OPIOID EPIDEMIC, CLIMATE CHANGE, GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION AND EDUCATION FUNDING IN INAUGURAL ADDRESS

AG HEALEY PRIORITIZES OPIOID EPIDEMIC, CLIMATE CHANGE, GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION AND EDUCATION FUNDING IN INAUGURAL ADDRESS
            BOSTON – Attorney General Maura Healey was sworn in for her second term today and administered the oath of office to hundreds of Assistant Attorneys General. In her inaugural address, AG Healey focused on a few specific priorities for the years ahead, including a continued focus on the opioid epidemic, leadership on clean energy and addressing climate change, gun violence prevention efforts, and support for new funding for education to help all students in Massachusetts succeed.
            At the Emerson Colonial Theatre – after being sworn in by Judge Rya W. Zobel – AG Healey also highlighted some of the office’s accomplishments over the past four years, including work to combat the opioid crisis, defend gun laws, recover millions of dollars for taxpayers, successfully defend state interests in court, and take action on behalf of residents on issues of wage theft, consumer protection, and civil rights.
“Four years ago, I said that the Attorney General’s job is to be the People’s Lawyer. And that’s what I, that’s what we, have tried to be,” AG Healey said. “We were tested by new challenges and confronted some old divisions. Change doesn’t come easily, and sometimes progress is slow. But we know that when we work as one, when we harness our drive and determination, there’s nothing we can’t do.”
            AG Healey said confronting the opioid crisis will continue to be her office’s top priority in the new term. She vowed to expand prevention education in schools, use her Fentanyl Strike Force to take lethal drugs out of communities, break down barriers that stop families from accessing the mental health and substance use treatment they need, and protect the Affordable Care Act. AG Healey also highlighted her ongoing lawsuit against Purdue Pharma.

“I promise you – we’ll hold opioid makers accountable for the role they played in creating this crisis,” said AG Healey, noting that her office was the first state to sue not just Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, but its executives and its owners. “We’ll do whatever it takes to hold this company accountable and get the justice our families deserve.”

On gun violence, AG Healey said her office will continue to and work with survivors of violence and young leaders, including the student organizers of March for Our Lives Boston who were at the ceremony today.

“Over the last four years, we worked and cried with too many parents who’ve had to experience the unimaginable. People who turned their grief into action, and their loss into resolve, to protect those we can still keep safe,” AG Healey said. “In the name of their children, and all those we’ve lost, we say, ‘no more.’”

This year, the AG’s Office will work with Sandy Hook Promise to expand school-based violence prevention and suicide training and mental health training to nearly train 140,000 young people.

AG Healey also highlighted the need for Massachusetts to “lead the clean energy revolution that will protect and power the world” and protect the investments made toward a clean and sustainable future.

“Our shoreline is eroding, our fishing communities are watching ecosystems collapse, residents from Plum Island to South Boston to the Cape are facing costs in the billions, and our federal government calls it a hoax,” AG Healey said. “In this critical moment, let us act.”

She called for the need to set new goal – meeting the state’s electric power needs with renewable energy by 2050, and half or more by 2030, with a comprehensive statewide plan for electric vehicles. AG Healey also endorsed the plan for a regional cap-and-invest system to address emissions in the transportation sector, modeled on the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

            And lastly on education, AG Healey said her office will support efforts on Beacon Hill and stand with community leaders to secure new funding for education.

“I’ve visited a lot of classrooms over the past four years. I’ve learned we have incredible teachers and administrators, and the best students in the world. But the way schools are funded in our state doesn’t work,” AG Healey said. “Your zip code shouldn’t determine the quality of your education. Let’s make the changes we need to give every student the same chance to succeed.”

AG Healey’s address centered around teamwork and working together as a state to build a better future.
 “From my basketball days, I know what makes a great team. The best team isn’t the one with the fastest players or the tallest players. It’s the team that is willing to go above and beyond – that isn’t intimidated by long odds,” AG Healey said. “That knows we are truly at our best when we work together and make the people around us better. That’s the kind of team we have here in this state. That’s why, no matter what happens in Washington, we’ll continue to lead. We’ll take care of each other and lift each other up.”
Today’s swearing-in ceremony was also attended by state and local officials, members of the judiciary, former Attorneys General Martha Coakley, Tom Reilly and Jim Shannon, partners in law enforcement and first responders, along with family, friends and colleagues. Some of the special guests include Cory Palazzi of Cory’s Cause, Mark Barden of Sandy Hook Promise, Massachusetts Major City Chiefs of Police Association President Brian Kyes, Joanne Peterson of Learn to Cope, Greg Gibson and Anne Marie Crotty, whose son was killed in a school shooting in Massachusetts in 1992, Gladys Vega of the Chelsea Collaborative, the Rev. Mariama White-Hammond, and Patricia and Manuel Oliver whose son was killed in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. Nicole Talbot, a student at the Landmark School in Beverly, sang the national anthem.
            To read AG Healey’s entire inaugural address, click here.

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