Marty Walsh and Maura Healey Sing Hillary Clinton’s Praises In Dorchester

The two strongly agree with the Democratic front-runner on addiction and recovery.

Attorney General Maura Healey, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Mayor Marty Walsh. Photo by Sarah Fisher

Attorney General Maura Healey, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Mayor Marty Walsh. Photo by Sarah Fisher/Boston Magazine

Two local elected officials lavished praise on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a Dorchester union hall on Thursday but only one of them has formally endorsed her for president.

Speaking at a forum on addiction and recovery, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Attorney General Maura Healey sang Clinton’s praises for raising the profile of the issue during her campaign.

Walsh and Healey both sounded like they were backing Clinton for her stance on the issue, but only Healey has formally endorsed her.

Walsh said he became of aware of Clinton’s interest in the issue when he saw her talking about it at a campaign event on television.

“In the last 20 years, we’ve gone from having a problem we kept in the closet to talking about it on a presidential stage, and she was the first candidate to talk about it,” said Walsh.

Walsh said the two spoke backstage about what has and has not worked in terms of drug prevention and treatment. Prior to the event, Walsh staffers said the mayor was at the event in his official capacity and not campaigning for Clinton. Walsh arrived at the event alone, long before Clinton did.

He has declined opportunities to endorse in the Democratic primary and much of his political operation has officially stayed out of the race.

A national reporter covering the event was perplexed when told Walsh had not endorsed Clinton.

“Wow, I thought by the way he was speaking that he was definitely backing her,” said the reporter.

Healey, who met Clinton at Logan Airport upon her arrival, said the former secretary of state would be a fighter for people struggling with addiction and recovery.

“We need a partner on the federal level, and there is no one now running for president who knows more on this issue and has a smarter and more effective plan than Hillary Clinton,” said Healey.

In an odd declaration that seems to run counter to Healey and Walsh’s assertions, Clinton said she only became acutely aware of the opioid crisis when she started running for president.

“When I started running for president, I didn’t know this would become an issue I’d put at the top of my priority list. I spent a lot of months listening to people and I am glad I did,” said Clinton.

Of course, Clinton returned their praise.

“Your mayor has been so forthcoming, so candid, so open. I don’t know if there’s any way to tell, just because of your example, how many people have got themselves into treatment. Your attorney general talked about the same thing, removing the stigma,” said Clinton.

Clinton dominated the vast majority of the speaking time at the event that felt part-campaign round table, part-think tank talk. Walsh and Healey, the people who will actually deal with addiction and recovery in the most direct front-line way possible, were relegated to the sidelines as Clinton stole the show.

After the event, Clinton took one question from a reporter on the Oregon shooting while working the rope line near the stage.