Healey Respects Pelosi, but Says New Voices “really Important”
By Matt Murphy
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE
BOSTON -- With Congressman Seth Moulton at the center of a firestorm in Washington and at home over the future of the Democratic Party, Attorney General Maura Healey, one of the party’s stars at the state level, avoided choosing sides Tuesday in the Congressional leadership fight.
Healey said she was excited for the new voices entering the Democratic Party, and also had respect for U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the California congresswoman vying to lead the House when the Democrats take control in January in Washington.
“Ultimately it’s going to be up to those in Congress to decide,” Healey said during an interview on WGBH’s Boston Public Radio. “I respect Nancy Pelosi. I also, though, appreciate that there are new voices coming into the party and I think that we should have new voices considered for leadership positions. That’s really really important.”
Healey said she was particularly encouraged by the electoral successes in the midterms of veterans, women and candidates of color.
Moulton, a Salem Democrat, has been at the center of the resistance in the House working to deny Pelosi the 218 votes she will need in January on the floor of the House to become speaker. Sixteen Democrats signed a letter released Monday vowing to oppose Pelosi, including Moulton and U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch of South Boston.
Moulton held a town hall in Amesbury on Monday where some constituents challenged his efforts to oppose Pelosi’s continued leadership of House Democrats.
In an op/ed published Tuesday on CNN’s website, Moulton wrote: “I think it’s time for change. We need a speaker of the House who will harness all of the new voices in Congress to put forth a bold, progressive vision for the country -- someone who will give the great new leaders in our party a chance actually to lead.”
Moulton on Tuesday was also taking heat from local Democrats. Rep. Mike Connolly, Cambridge progressive, went on Twitter to poke fun of Moulton.
“Here’s a joke I’ve been telling for the past year or so: “Seth Moulton is looking to take the Democratic Party in a bold, new direction -- a new course that galvanizes young people *and* makes Wall Street happy -- and as soon as he figures out what it is, he’s gonna let us know...,′ ” Connolly wrote.
Rep. Michelle Dubois responded to Connolly’s Tweet, agreeing with her colleague. “So disappointed in him & Cong Lynch,” Dubois Tweeted.
In a Nov. 11 post-election letter, Congressman Richard Neal of Springfield called Pelosi “the right person to lead our Caucus in the 116th Congress.” He cited her work to pass the Affordable Care Act in 2010 and her opposition to Republican efforts “attacking the law.”
“The next Speaker of the House must be a shrewd, battle-tested negotiator who understands how to out-maneuver Republicans and continue to build on the gains that Democrats made under Nancy’s leadership eight years ago,” Neal wrote.
A CBS News poll released conducted Thursday through Sunday found Democrats nationwide split over whether Pelosi should become speaker, with 49 percent backing her for the post, 40 percent favoring another Democrat, 10 percent unsure and 2 percent saying it would make no difference.
So far, no one in the Democratic caucus has stepped up to challenge Pelosi. Moulton has said that it will be more politically viable for speaker candidates to emerge if and when Pelosi concedes that she can’t muster the votes to prevail herself.
Healey got pulled into the debate during her radio appearance on WGBH after co-host Margery Eagan asked the attorney general about former advisor to the Clintons Mark Penn writing in the Wall Street Journal that Hillary Clinton would seek the presidency again in 2020.
“People can speculate and write. I can’t for the life of me imagine Hillary Clinton running for president, nor would I think it would be a good idea,” Healey said.