Candidates for Massachusetts governor Geoff Diehl and Maura Healey fought for voters' support Wednesday night, during the first televised debate between between the current attorney general and former state representative.
There was a lot of back and forth during the debate, which was held by NBC10 Boston, NECN and Telemundo Boston, on issues that have been making a lot of headlines lately, including immigration and climate change.
NBC10 Boston Political Analyst Sue O'Connell said both candidates seemed to come prepared and squared off in a "high-level" debate.
"There were a couple of jabs, a few elbows thrown, but basically they stayed on the character of how they would govern and what the issues were," O'Connell said.
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One of those issues was abortion.
"I appreciated that the Supreme Court overturning of Roe v. Wade with the Dobbs decision because I always felt, like Ruth Bader Ginsberg felt, that abortion should be a states issue," Diehl said, adding that his job as governor would be to protect women's healthcare choices.
Healey, though, criticized Diehl's position on the overturning.
"The Supreme Court overturned Roe. My opponent celebrated when the Supreme Court overturned Roe," Healey said. "He wants to defund Planned Parenthood. He wants to jail doctors who provide abortion care. That’s a real difference in this race."
Healey and Diehl also clashed when it came to education.
"My opponent’s education plan, I just want to be really clear with the voters: he wants to ban books," Healey said. "He wants to require that anytime a child wants to go into a public library, they have to get a permission slip… That’s not the direction we need to go."
Diehl argued back, saying he wanted to give more choice to parents.
"No, this is not about removing books from libraries or banning anything," Diehl responded. "This is about allowing parents to have a say for what is in the schools, whether it’s in the curriculum or what is in the school libraries."
Speaking of school, when asked about giving a letter grade for Governor Baker, Diehl gave him a "B". Healey wouldn't give him a grade, only saying he did a really good job.
Former President Donald Trump's name loomed large at the start of the debate.
"This is really clear in this election— my opponent is Donald Trump’s candidate for governor. I’d be honored to be yours," Healey said.
Diehl called mentions of Trump simply a distraction to what's important in the race. He seemed to distance himself a bit from Trump and stolen election claims, even admitting that President Biden won in 2020.
"You’re going to hear about Donald Trump because it’s Halloween time and that’s her bogeyman, that’s what the media likes to talk about, it’s Donald Trump," Diehl said.
Another big issue that was brought up was transportation in the Bay State.
"We don’t have a functioning economy in Massachusetts unless we have a functioning transportation system that works for all over the state," Healey said. "We need to make it safe, we need to make it affordable and we need to make it reliable."
Diehl wants to see less outside help when it comes to getting the MBTA up to speed.
"What we need to do, I believe, is not bring in consultants who always try the MBTA what to do," Diehl said. "I think we need to listen to the workers. The workers know exactly what needs to be fixed."