AN invitation has been extended by Macroom’s first citizen to the newly elected Governor of Massachusetts to visit the mid Cork town her grandmother left almost a century ago for St Patrick’s Day.
he invitation follows the election last week of Maura Healey, grand-daughter of Jeremiah Healey from Kilgarvan and Margaret Riordan from Macroom as the first female Governor of Massachusetts and the first openly gay candidate to be elected First Citizen of any US state.
Macroom/Millstreet Municipal Council chairperson, Cllr. Eileen Lynch, told The Corkman that she would be happy to talk with colleagues in Kerry County Council about a possible joint invitation.
Cllr Lynch, who expressed her admiration for Governor Healey’s record as a lawyer given she is herself a solicitor, said she was looking forward to welcoming the newly elected Governor and former two term Attorney General of a state that’s synomymous with emigrants from Ireland being elected to high political office.
“It’s a general invitation but that’s when we’d be advising her to come – but, of course, we’d love to host her anytime,” said Cllr Lynch.
The election of Governor Healey has already prompted an invitation from the Healy Raes to visit Jeremiah Healey’s hometown.
“I’m sure we can work with our colleagues in Kerry County Council,” said Cllr Lynch.
A noted civil rights lawyer and graduate of Harvard, Governor Healey fondly recalls her Irish elders and feels blessed that because of their sacrifices, she has been able to live a fortunate life.
Prior to her election as Governor, Maura Healey served two terms as Attorney General of Massachusetts.
“They came to this country under difficult circumstances, fleeing real poverty in Ireland, and real depression, a difficult hard situation, and they worked so hard,” Ms. Healey said in an interview prior to her election as Massachusetts Attorney General in 2014.
“It was their principles and their values I was raised with and I learned a lot growing up about taking care of family, taking care of those who need an advocate, those who need help.”
Because of this personal connection to the immigrant experience, the newly elected Governor is a vocal supporter of immigration reform. Prior to her election as Attorney General in 2014, she said she would be a champion of immigrant rights.
“My view here is I am the granddaughter of immigrants, this is a country of immigrants, it is part of what makes us great as a country, and as a democracy.
“I will do everything that I can to advocate for and support immigration reform.”
During her two terms, a time when bitter political battles were being fought in the US Congress over immigration reform, Ms Healey made it her business to look after the rights of immigrants in Massachusetts.
“I know there are a lot of Irish who are labourers, carpenters, electricians and it is really important that they are not taken advantage of on the job, there are a lot of people working in an underground economy, who are really vulnerable, they are really afraid to come forward because they may not have a documented status.”
Upon her election as Governor, Ms. Healey hailed her victory as a sign of hope for many LGBTQ people.
“We might be the first, but we won’t be the last,” she wrote on Twitter.
To every little girl out there, we want you to know — there’s no ceiling you can’t break.”
Similarly, when addressing her supporters in Boston, she said that her victory was for “every little girl and every young LGBTQ person out there”.
“I hope tonight shows you that you can be whatever, whoever you want to be,” she said. “And nothing and no one can ever get in your way except your own imagination, and that’s not going to happen.”
Maura Healey grew up in New Hampshire, and, as well as being a formidable civil rights lawyer before entering politics, is a former professional basketball player.