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11/27/23 pdf
November 27, 2023

Healey and Diehl faceoff at the gubernatorial debate


The official portrait of Maura Healey.

With one of the most electric general elections approaching, gubernatorial candidates keep tabs on their scorecards. In the recent gubernatorial debate, Maura Healey, the Democratic candidate, and Geoff Diehl, the Republican candidate, clashed over various topics and issues, including abortion, immigration rights and the millionaire’s tax, among others. The scorecard suggests Healey is leading with 56 percent and Diehl with 23 percent. [1] 

According to the news sources, both the candidates linked each other to their respective party heads, Donald Trump and Joseph Biden. 

“My opponent has said that he backs Donald Trump 100 percent of the time,” Healey said during the debate, accusing Diehl of using Trump’s playbook in the election. Diehl commented that the debate should center around “Massachusetts…and not national politics.” 

One of the trending topics discussed at the debate was the decision to overturn Roe v Wade. Diehl allied with the Supreme Court’s decision and commented, “I appreciated that the Supreme Court overturning of Roe v. Wade with the Dobbs decision because I always felt, like Ruth Bader Ginsberg felt, that abortion should be a states issue.” Healey’s take on Diehl’s comment was strongly disparaging. “He wants to defund Planned Parenthood. He wants to jail doctors who provide abortion care. That’s a real difference in this race,” said Healey. [2] 

Healey highly emphasized the issue of affordability and taxation. She said that currently, when she goes around the state, affordability is a significant problem. A substantial amount of work is needed in our state to reduce the cost of housing and childcare since it affects the quality of life and Massachusetts’ competitiveness. Comprehensive tax relief and reform are one of the ways to achieve it. [3] Diehl disregarded Healey’s take on cutting down the taxes and her support for taxing the state’s millionaires, which he opposes. [4] 

Diehl has made the COVID-19 vaccine mandate and Parents’ Bill of Rights the centerpiece of his platform. He has been vocal about giving parents more “control over their kids’ education.” [4] On his campaign platform, Diehl wrote that parental consent is essential in matters of “controversial curriculum subjects” and other resources used by the school board as part of their curriculum. Healey had a contrasting opinion to present. “He wants to ban books,” Healey accused. In his defense, Diehl said that the subject is not about removing books from libraries but about granting parents the right to have a say in their children’s school curriculum and education. 

The debate shifted gears when both candidates expressed their positions on November’s ballot question four: “To decide whether a controversial new law opening access to driver’s licenses for all residents regardless of legal status will remain on the books.” 

Healey has taken a strong position on the issue of immigration and has promised that if elected as governor, “she will continue to defend our immigrant communities…” One of her important action plans is to ensure that eligible undocumented residents in Massachusetts have a driver’s license “regardless of their immigration status.” However, Diehl had an opposing take on the topic. During the debate, Diehl suggested giving access to undocumented immigrants will gravitate them more toward Massachusetts, and a situation like this is likely to put a strain on resources. 

At the end of the debate, both candidates were asked to grade Charlie Baker, the current Massachusetts Governor. Diehl gave Baker a “B” grade, whereas Healey refused. “Governor Baker’s done a really good job,” she said instead. [2] 

Healey’s platform has a slew of action plans ranging from immigration and reproductive rights to education and criminal justice reform. Diehl’s platform revolves around Housing and Infrastructure, the Parent’s Bill of Rights, Healthcare, etc.

1: https://www.nbcboston.com/news/politics/maura-healy-geoff-diehl-kevin-reed-massachusetts-governor-poll/2866203/
2: https://thesuffolkjournal.com/39020/news/midterm-madness-healey-and-diehl-square-off-in-first-gubernatorial-debate/
3: https://www.bostonherald.com/2022/10/09/maura-healey-supports-charlie-bakers-tax-cuts-and-also-millionaires-tax-hike/
4: https://www.bostonglobe.com/2022/10/12/metro/gubernatorial-candidates-geoff-diehl-maura-healey-set-debate-first-time/

About the Contributor
Kaushar Barejiya, News Editor