‘My personal life is my personal life’: Healey defends privacy on out-of-state travel

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Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey doubled down Monday on maintaining privacy for her and her family, after her administration reportedly refused to disclose where she went when she left the state for four days last month.

The Boston Globe reported last week that Healey’s office would not disclose where the governor went during a four-day trip out of state last month, even when asked. The governor’s office announced last fall that it would stop informing the press and public ahead of time about Healey’s travels out of Massachusetts, though officials would share her monthly calendars after the fact.

“I continue to provide details about all of my work-related travel. I’ve also said that my personal life is my personal life and I’m going to work to make sure that privacy is maintained for my family,” Healey said to reporters Monday.

Until November, Healey’s office regularly informed the press before the governor or lieutenant governor was leaving Massachusetts. Her spokesperson’s announcement last fall that the governor would not make her travel plans public in advance anymore was a departure from what’s been typical practice of the last few gubernatorial administrations.

“Due to security concerns, we will not be advising the Governor’s travel in advance,” spokeswoman Karissa Hand said at the time. “The Governor is engaged in her work at all times and keeps in constant communication with her team no matter where she is.”

Other governors have also emphasized that they are connected while out of state, while also disclosing the purposes and destinations of out-of-state travel.

Healey’s office did not elaborate on the security concerns. But prior to the change in her policy, there was a demonstration of local neo-Nazis outside of the Arlington house that Healey — the first woman and first openly gay governor elected in Massachusetts — shares with her partner and her partner’s children.

Whenever the governor leaves Massachusetts, the executive powers are passed on to the lieutenant governor. If the lieutenant governor is also away (or if the office is vacant), the powers go to the secretary of state.

Press were notified when Healey left for her four-day trip in mid-February not by the governor’s office, but by Secretary of State William Galvin. A spokesperson for Galvin said at the time that he would serve as acting governor from Feb. 9 until Feb. 11, as both Healey and Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll were out of the state. Driscoll later shared that she was with her family during that time, after her father died. Healey’s February calendar lists the governor as out of state — “OOS” — on Feb. 8-11 but provided no other information about her travel.

Healey traveled to North Carolina in October for a Democratic Governors Association meeting without disclosing her trip and it was questions about that undisclosed travel that led her office to announce its new policy. When the governor’s office released Healey’s monthly calendar for October, it included the times of her flights, the airports she was flying into and out of, and the airlines that she was flying on.

While Healey was gone in mid-February, NSC-131 demonstrators — self-described as seeking to create a white-only ethnostate in New England — returned to her Arlington house to protest the governor, according to Rolling Stone. It had been widely reported that Healey was out of the state.

Asked if it was important for people to know where she has been, given her responsibilities to the state, Healey replied Monday, “I’m constantly working.”

“Again, we’ll continue to provide our calendar as we’ve promised to do and I’ll continue to provide information about all of my work-related travel and events,” she said.

Healey’s campaign claims of increased transparency in public records access have been tempered by her administration claiming several exemptions when some documents have been requested by reporters.

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