Maura Healey has won her bid to become the next governor of Massachusetts, making history in the process as the first woman governor and LGBTQ+ governor of the state, as well as the first-ever out lesbian governor in United States history.

Healey, a former civil rights attorney and professional basketball player, defeated Republican candidate and former state representative Geoff Diehl, who was endorsed by disgraced former president Donald Trump.

In her victory speech, Healey addressed “every little girl and every young LGBTQ person out there”, saying: “I hope tonight shows you that you can be whatever, whoever you want to be, and nothing and no one can ever get in your way except your own imagination, and that’s not going to happen.”

She added: “I stand before you tonight proud to be the first woman and the first gay person ever elected governor of Massachusetts.”

After eight years of Republican leadership under Gov. Charlie Baker, who chose not to seek reelection, Healey’s victory means the governor’s office returns back to the Democrats.

Joni Madison, Human Rights Campaign Interim President, said in a statement: “Tonight, Maura Healey made history, becoming the first out lesbian governor this nation has ever elected. Massachusetts embraced a platform of equality and inclusion by electing a pro-equality champion.

“With her in the statehouse, LGBTQ+ youth across Massachusetts and the United States will get to see that they are represented at the highest levels of government, and that they can achieve anything they set their minds on. We celebrate Maura Healey’s historic win and look forward to working with her to continue to fight for a Massachusetts that is inclusive and welcoming to all.”

Throughout her campaign, Healey promised to “cut taxes, reduce costs in housing and transportation, improve education, and make vocational training available,” as well as protect “access to safe and legal abortion in Massachusetts” following the Supreme Court’s controversial decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

According to the White House, President Joe Biden made a “congratulatory” call to Healey on Tuesday night.

LGBTQ Victory Fund President and CEO Mayor Annise Parker said Healey’s win is a “sign – especially to LGBTQ kids in desperate need of hope – that LGBTQ people have a place in American society and can become respected public leaders.”

Parker continued: “It is an uphill battle for LGBTQ candidates and women candidates to win high-level elected office, but Massachusetts voters know Maura is a fighter and today helped her make U.S. political history.”

Lisa Turner, the executive director of LPAC, an organisation that supports LGBTQ+ women politicians, added: “Maura Healey’s victory marks a milestone in women’s representation.

“Not only is Healey the first woman elected as Governor of Massachusetts, but she is the first open lesbian ever elected to lead a U.S. state. As governor, she will be an important role model for millions of LGBTQ women across the country.”

Elizabeth Warren, the senior U.S senator from Massachusetts, said the state have elected “a woman who fights to protect working families – a warrior who’s gone toe to toe with for-profit colleges and Big Oil – and it’s a great victory for the people of Massachusetts.”

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