BOSTON (State House News Service) – Closer now to her swearing-in than to when she was elected, Gov.-elect Maura Healey said Thursday that she is continuing to work on picking people to join her team.
During a visit to the State House, Healey was asked if she would be open to keeping any members of Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration as Cabinet secretaries. The governor-elect said she and Lt. Gov.-elect Kim Driscoll are “all about identifying the right people for these jobs, the best people for these jobs.”
“They may come from within, they may come from outside, they may come from outside of Massachusetts, they may come from within state government, they may come from outside of state government, but that’s really what our focus is right now,” she said.
Though Healey and Driscoll haven’t announced any secretary picks yet, she said they are spending a lot of time talking with people interested in joining the administration and that the process is “very intense.”
Healey didn’t limit her timeline for top hires, saying they would happen “within the coming weeks.” The governor-elect and lieutenant governor-elect are set to be sworn in on Jan. 5. On whether she intends to have her Cabinet fully filled by the time she takes office, Healey said “we’re going to have to see about that.”
“I’m really excited about the folks we’ve been talking with and thinking about what’s possible here as we get ready for Jan. 5,” Healey said.
Healey also told reporters that she is planning to take a close look at issues around housing for an influx of migrants and that she thinks a functioning MBTA is “critically important” for Massachusetts.
The governor-elect’s comments about migrant housing came in response to a question about a $139 million supplemental budget Gov. Charlie Baker filed in November to address the “dramatic increase” in the need for emergency shelter assistance that he said is driven by migrant arrivals.
The governor’s bill remains pending in the House Ways and Means Committee, and House leaders have not said whether they support the measure or when they plan to advance it for debate.
Healey said Thursday that a lot of municipalities are “stepping up” to respond to an influx of migrants in their communities.
“It looks to be a case where there is a continuing need and I know that the administration and the Legislature will continue to talk, and certainly it’s something that I’ll be taking a close look at come January,” she said.
After meeting with Boston Mayor Michelle Wu this week, the governor-elect said she is “open to” the city of Boston having a dedicated seat on the MBTA board.
The city has wanted a seat on the transit authority’s board for years and nearly got it this summer, before it got lost in the eleventh-hour scramble on Beacon Hill at the end of legislative sessions in July.
“It’s critically important that we have a functioning T, that we have a transportation system here in the Commonwealth that works not just for Boston and greater Boston, but for the entire state,” Healey said. “I look forward to more conversations with Mayor Wu about transportation and a whole bunch of things.”