Attorney General Maura Healey told more than 800 business leaders at the AIM Annual Meeting Friday that she looks forward to collaborating with employers on key issues such as education, substance abuse, health care and clean energy.
Noting that she and previous attorneys general have worked closely with AIM on everything from health-care reform to implementation of paid sick days, Healey said the association has always based its advocacy on facts and knowledge.
“We look forward to building on Rick (Lord’s) legacy,” Healey said.
“I am firmly of the view that the problems we face today are not going to be solved by government. They will be solved by all of us working together.”
Healey made her remarks shortly after Lord symbolically handed over the job of president and CEO of AIM to John Regan, who has directed AIM’s government affairs advocacy for the past 12 years.
The attorney general said Lord was one of the first business leaders to whom she spoke when she became a candidate for the office. The two met during a driving snowstorm and spent an extended time discussing the burden that health-care costs placed on employers and the challenges of moderating energy prices.
“Under Rick’s leadership this organization has grown in amazing ways,” she said.
Healey’s collaborative agenda remains ambitious now that Regan is taking the reins at AIM.
She told the audience that the key to maintaining stability in the health-care market is to preserve the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA). Some 2.5 million Massachusetts residents have a pre-existing medical condition and 400,000 gained health-insurance coverage through the Medicaid expansion made possible by ACA, according to Healey.
The attorney general also noted the support of the Massachusetts business community for civil rights, stretching from the Goodridge decision establishing marriage equality to opposing a question on the 2018 statewide ballot that would have rolled back protections for transgender individuals.
She decried the new Alabama law restricting access to abortion by making an economic argument. Women are more than half the population and half of the work force, so anything that prevents women from full participation in the employment market will impede economic growth.
Healey concluded by saying that the commonwealth’s formula for funding education must change.
“Your zip code should never determine the quality of education you receive,” she said.