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The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News



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State of the Commonwealth: Governor Healey shares priorities for Massachusetts residents

Alexis Algazy
Healey greets attendees on the House floor. Healey shared stories about Boston residents who would be helped by accomplishments like the MassReconnect program and the proposed Affordable Homes Act.

Despite the icy roads and below freezing temperatures, the House Chambers at the Massachusetts State House were filled with politicians and residents gathered to hear Governor Maura Healey’s first State of the Commonwealth Address Jan. 17. Healey introduced Massachusetts residents to the people behind her policies and discussed her work to improve accessible education and her efforts to alleviate transportation issues. 

Healey spoke about her prioritization of both higher and early education, evidenced by her August launch of MassReconnect, a program allowing those 25 years and older to attend community college for free, and the recent “Gateway to Pre-K” agenda, a program that seeks in part to invest in universal pre-K access for Massachusetts’ four-year olds of select communities.

Healey shared a story about Danita Mends, a working mother from Roxbury who was unable to afford college tuition and was in attendance at the address. MassReconnect allowed Mends to pursue her education free of cost. 

“Thanks to MassReconnect, student enrollment in public higher education grew last fall for the first time in 10 years,” Healey said. 

The East Boston Social Centers’ Sprouts Early Learning Classroom leads the House Chambers in the Pledge of Allegiance. Governor Healey announced the “Gateway to Pre-K” agenda, which guarantees pre-K access for Massachusetts 4-year-olds in Gateway Cities, available by the conclusion of 2026. (Alexis Algazy)

During her speech, Healey announced Literacy Launch, a program that will make reading materials available with the goal of increasing literacy across the commonwealth. Healey called for Massachusetts to triumph in education with the exclamation “We are going to be first in literacy, too.”

“It was inspiring to [hear] someone as impactful as [Healey] make such an inspirational statement,” Yiannis Asikis, a 17-year old from Boston University Academy who previously interned at the State House, told The News.

One of Healey’s most notable accomplishments over the past year was the $1 billion tax cut signed into law Oct. 4. It was Massachusetts’ first tax cut in over two decades. 

Healey spoke about her own mother, who raised five children alone, and, according to Healey, would have benefited from this tax cut. 

“You’ll see the savings when you file your returns in April,” Healey said. 

Over the past year, Healey said she strived to work for the people of Massachusetts. She highlighted the administration’s work standing up for reproductive rights, developing a new hate crimes unit in the State Police and implementing the Work and Family Mobility Act.

“This is what our work is supposed to be about,” Healey said. “Bringing help and hope to those we serve.”

Although she listed an array of accomplishments, the governor recognized the continued challenges Massachusetts residents face on a daily basis.

“Costs are too high for housing and childcare,” Healey said. “Our schools are the best, but not for every student. Congested roads and slow trains steal our time and our joy. It’s frustrating.”

Looking ahead to the next year, Healey pledged to prioritize these daily dissatisfactions and push for affordability.

Healey drew the House Chambers’ attention to Massachusetts residents Abelardo Corona and Gabriela Amezcua and their two children from Haverhill. The state’s housing programs aided the couple in purchasing their first home, a feat that was previously unattainable for them.

“The Affordable Homes Act will create thousands of opportunities just like theirs,” Healey said. The governor will face the Joint Committee on Housing to testify on this act. 

Another frequent frustration of Massachusetts residents is transportation. Healey cited her administration’s efforts to gain both state and federal funding for transportation, as well as the appointment of Phillip Eng as MBTA General Manager in hopes of fixing the T. 

“Look, we still have a long way to go. I know that,” Healey said. “I want to thank T riders for your patience as the work continues. We are committed to making your commutes better.”

Faisal Khan, director of religious affairs and imam at the Islamic Center of Boston in Wayland, was among the benediction speakers. After the program, he told The News that he agrees with Healey’s efforts toward more efficient transportation. “My kids ride on the Red Line and it’s always taking forever,” Khan said. 

Healey reflected on her achievements from her first year in office while recognizing the work that lies ahead.

“Behind every decision we make is a person – a student, a family, a small business owner, a Senior,” Healey said. “That’s who our work is for.”

About the Contributor
Alexis Algazy
Alexis Algazy, City Editor
Alexis Algazy is a second-year journalism and political science major with a public relations minor. This is her second semester serving as the deputy city editor, and she is looking forward to extending city and political coverage. This semester Alexis is doing media relations at BCG for co-op. Follow her on X @alexisalgazy for article updates.
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