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Has Gov. Healey's work for Biden paid off? She says 'relationships matter'

Chris Van Buskirk, Boston Herald on

Published in Political News

Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey has pledged loyalty to President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign as a surrogate working to convince voters that the 81-year-old is the right person for another term in the White House.

Has the move paid off?

From hosting a fundraiser in the glimmering Seaport last month to backing Biden’s executive action on the country’s southern border and promoting the administration’s workforce agenda earlier this year to officially serving as a “super-surrogate,” Healey has ingrained herself in Biden’s bid to hold on to the presidency.

At the same time, money for the rundown Cape Cod bridges has started to flow, Massachusetts scored one of the coveted ARPA-H hubs, secured millions to set up the Northeast Microelectronics hub, and pulled in $67 million from federal regulators to improve accessibility on the Green Line. The list goes on.

If it were campaign season for Healey’s own reelection, she’d have quite a few things to tout. But consider how large of a role, if any, the governor’s relationship with the president played into all of those awards.

In an interview with the Boston Herald, Healey said “relationships matter,” including the ones state officials in her administration have built with their counterparts in Washington working for Biden.

It is also the reason, Healey said, why she and her team have spent time in D.C. pitching the feds on local climate, infrastructure, transportation, and economic development goals.

“It’s important that we be there explaining that to administration officials as they’re making these awards of dollars. I have an office in D.C. that is there to help facilitate that. I’ve certainly spent time in D.C. myself making the case for Massachusetts and explaining how we’re positioned to really quickly deploy federal funding for the good of our residents and the state,” Healey said.

Healey’s lobbying of the president has gone beyond money.

There was a successful appeal to Biden to receive a disaster declaration for Bristol and Worcester counties after devastating storms and convincing Homeland Security officials to travel to the Boston area to host a work permit workshop for arriving migrants.

Both issues saw significant advocacy from Healey and members of the state’s federal delegation, who argued and pleaded with the administration to assist Massachusetts in its time of need.

 

Healey said it was “critically important” that time was made for her to speak directly to Biden and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas about immigration issues in the Bay State.

“Same on the disaster relief,” she said. “It’s important that I be able to talk directly to the president, which I did, and also directly to the FEMA administrator, which I did, to make the case for Massachusetts. So that’s just to me, that’s part of my responsibility as governor.”

Not everyone is impressed with what has come through during Healey’s tenure.

MassGOP Chair Amy Carnevale said many of the grants that landed this past year “certainly involved significant effort by the Baker-Polito administration during their tenure.”

“I’m sure the Healey-Driscoll administration would love to take credit for all of these federal grants. However, the funding processes don’t happen overnight,” Carnevale said in a statement to the Herald. “The groundwork was done by Baker-Polito, and the funding is a testament to the excellence of the business and nonprofit sectors in our region.”

There is little doubt Biden will perform well in Massachusetts during the general election this fall.

The president’s chances across the rest of the country to win another term, however, are up in the air and if former President Donald Trump takes office, Massachusetts is sure to lose the direct line to the White House that it has been cultivated under Biden.

“This is why people need to understand what’s at stake in this election,” Healey said.

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