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Andrea Campbell sworn in as Mass. attorney general

Outlines progressive policy priorities for office

Yawu Miller
Yawu Miller is the former senior editor of the Bay State Banner. He has written for the Banner since 1988.... VIEW BIO
Andrea Campbell sworn in as Mass. attorney general
Andrea Campbell is sworn in as attorney general by her aunt, Lois Savage, and her husband, Matthew L. Scheier, at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. Photo: Angela Rowlings

Accompanied by her husband and sworn in by her aunt, Andrea Campbell took the oath of office as Massachusetts attorney general Wednesday at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center in a ceremony attended by hundreds.

Campbell, the first Black woman elected to statewide office, in her remarks noted the historical nature of her election.

“Today I stand on the shoulders of a beautiful and resilient Black people who stood up for civil rights, for freedom, inclusion, love — including interracial love — who fought to integrate public schools or higher education institutions or law schools, who testified and were beaten to ensure our political systems represented all of us,” she said.

Andrea Campbell applauds performers during her inauguration. Photo: Angela Rowlings

Campbell spoke about her childhood in Boston, growing up bouncing between foster care and the homes of relatives, losing her mother in an auto accident, her father to incarceration.

“I like to think of it as an impossible story made possible by the power and grace of God — that a girl from a poor family who grew up in public housing in Roxbury and in Boston could become the 45th attorney general of Massachusetts and the first woman of color to be elected to Massachusetts statewide office,” she said.

Campbell delivered a wide-ranging speech, touching on the social inequities facing the elderly, people of color and LGBTQ people, and pledging to use her office to protect people.

“The good news is there are many laws that are meant to make society more fair and keep us from discrimination and hate on the books,” she said. “But they must be championed and enforced vigorously to ensure our state’s people feel that fairness and are welcomed everywhere they go in this country, and we in the AG’s office can do just that. We can ensure that the government is responsive to your needs, and do it with integrity, empathy and urgency.”

Attorney General Campbell greets Gov. Maura Healey. Photo: Angela Rowlings

Campbell’s staff told the news website Politico that she intends to create an elder justice unit that would focus on increasing equal access to health care and protect seniors from fraud and deceptive business practices. Her office is also planning to create an office of gun safety enforcement and a reproductive justice unit, according to Politico.

Priorities the new attorney general touched on in her speech also included fighting wage theft; working to ensure all children have access to behavioral health services and a high-quality education; holding employers accountable for wage theft; fighting public corruption; bringing more transparency to the state’s prisons; defending Massachusetts gun laws; and addressing the opioid crisis, including holding accountable the companies that have profited from it.

“That is a lot,” she said. “I know, and I’m going on and on because there is a lot to do, but I am excited to get to work together. We can and will do more. We must, if Massachusetts is to be the leader it has always been. We must do more with a sense of boldness and urgency and take risks.”

Campbell was sworn in by her aunt, Lois Savage, with her husband, Matthew L. Scheier, holding the Bible on which she took her oath of office. In attendance were elected officials including U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, U.S. Reps. Ayanna Pressley and Lori Trahan, Gov. Maura Healey, Mayor Michelle Wu, Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden, and state Reps. Russell Holmes of Mattapan, Sam Montaño of Jamaica Plain and Carlos Gonzalez of Springfield.