BOSTON (AP) — Democrat Andrea Campbell has become the first Black woman in Massachusetts history to be elected attorney general.
The former Boston city councilor, who ran unsuccessfully for mayor last year, defeated Republican candidate and trial attorney Jay McMahon. Campbell becomes the third woman to hold the seat in Massachusetts.
Campbell had won the endorsement of Attorney General Maura Healey, the Democratic candidate for governor, as well as four prior state attorneys general, U.S. Sen. Edward Markey and U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley.
During her victory speech, Campbell cited her faith and her family history including her twin brother Andre who died in state custody.
“He and so many of you have given me the courage to keep pressing forward to turn pain into purpose and my god has given me the power to make it happen,” she told supporters who gathered at a downtown Boston hotel.
Campbell also ticked off a series of issues she said she plans to tackle including from targeting wage theft and defending seniors to protecting tenants and homeowners, pushing for what she called commonsense gun laws, and supporting anti-violence organizations.
“For those who have felt unseen this victory is for you. For those who have felt marginalized, this victory is for you. For those who have felt left out, left behind, and undervalued, this victory is for you,” she said.
Campbell has spoken openly about her father’s and brothers’ involvement in the criminal justice system.
The 40-year-old has credited a public education system in Boston with helping put her in schools that opened doors to success while her brother’s schools had few resources. She also said that as a girl she was less likely to be racially profiled by the criminal justice system.
Campbell grew up in Boston and attended Princeton University and UCLA Law School and served as deputy legal counsel to former Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick.
During the campaign, Campbell said she would “look at every issue through an equity lens.” She said Massachusetts residents don’t all have the same access to affordable health care or housing and aren’t all affected equally by the criminal justice system, crime or the climate crisis.
She added that communities of color are “disproportionately policed and incarcerated,” and the contrast in funding and quality of schools – when broken down by income, race, and region – is stark.
McMahon, who said during the campaign that Campbell would be soft on crime, had also pointed to a personal tragedy as motivation for running for attorney general. McMahon, 68, said his son Joel, an Army veteran, died in 2008 due to an opioid overdose.
He said that loss is the reason he pursued the office.