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Democrat Maura Healey was sworn in Wednesday as Massachusetts' 55th attorney general and pledged afterward to focus on protecting young people and battle heroin and prescription drug abuse.
Healey took the oath of office, administered by Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph Gants, during a ceremony at Boston's historic Faneuil Hall. The 43-year-old Healey is the first openly gay person elected to the office.
In a speech following the ceremony, Healey said she would create within the attorney general's office a "first-of-its-kind division."
"The division will fight to keep our children safe and healthy, in their schools and in their homes, on the streets and online," Healey said. "Together with our partners, we will take on teen addiction, dating violence, and child abuse, and find ways to reduce the number of young people in our juvenile justice system."
She also pledged to combat "the culture of sexual assault" on college campuses.
"I will help our colleges and universities keep students safe and hold perpetrators accountable," she said.
Healey won election last year to fill the office vacated by Martha Coakley, who ran unsuccessfully for governor. She vowed Wednesday to use regular public meetings, online forums and social media to keep an open door with the public.
In the battle against heroin and prescription drug abuse, she said she'll push to expand the state's prescription monitoring program - which allows doctors and pharmacists to view a patient's recent prescription history - and is considering legal action against pharmaceutical companies to help curb prescription drug abuse.
She also wants to strengthen the state's pharmacy lock-in programs that limit to a single pharmacy those individuals suspected of doctor-shopping for prescription drugs or abusing their prescriptions, she said.
Healey has pointed to a number of other key issues - including foreclosures, student loan debt, for-profit schools, human trafficking and what she portrayed as the corrosive influence of money in politics following the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision that lifted restrictions on independent spending by corporations and labor unions.
As a former civil rights attorney, she said, the questions raised by the deaths of unarmed black men during confrontations with police in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York have been close to her heart.
Also Wednesday, Democrat Deborah Goldberg was sworn in as state treasurer by newly elected Republican Gov. Charlie Baker. She succeeds Steve Grossman.
Goldberg said she shared Baker's commitment to fiscal responsibility and would work with him to resolve the state's budget deficit. On Tuesday, he projected a $765 million shortfall in the budget for the fiscal year ending June 30.
"Now is not the time to raid the rainy day fund," Goldberg warned, noting that bond rating agencies pay close attention to how the state manages its reserves.
State Auditor Suzanne Bump was sworn in for a second term by Baker in a separate Statehouse ceremony. The state's longest service constitutional officer - state Secretary William Galvin - was to be sworn in by Baker during a private ceremony.
For the first time in Massachusetts history, the majority of the state's six constitutional offices, including Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, are held by women.
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