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Healey tries to buck up disappointed Democrats

Attorney General Maura Healey spoke to a large crowd at the First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church in Arlington. Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe

ARLINGTON – Buck up the troops. Assuage some fears. Address a group of politics activists who are, for the time being, without a candidate to support.

Hundreds of dispirited supporters of Hillary Clinton gathered Tuesday night in a Unitarian Universalist church hall to hear from one of the Democratic nominee’s top local supporters, Attorney General Maura Healey, who did all of the above – or sought to.

“A lot of hurtful, terrible things were said and a lot of people were left feeling marginalized, disempowered, and disillusioned in its wake,” Healey said of the campaign, adding that after the election, “I didn’t read the paper for a couple of weeks.”

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She said she had been alarmed in the days since by some of President-elect Donald Trump’s personnel appointments. Healey won some of her loudest applause when she touted her work advocating gun control and promising to continue it. Talking to a crowd that could loosely be described as her political base, Healey pushed them to organize, volunteer, and stay committed to the issues that motivated them.

“I know there’s a great deal of uncertainty right now and concern about where we’re at and where we’re going,” Healey said.

After Healey opened the floor to questions, many of the audience members who spoke did so emotionally, voicing fears about what the country might look like under Trump.

“These conversations are a kind of cathartic necessity at this point in time and I think myself and a lot of people in my life are still feeling shell-shocked,” said one man who identified himself as Bob from Lincoln.

Jenny Magdison of Arlington said, “I have lost count of how many times I say myself during the day, ‘I can’t believe this is happening, I can’t believe he won’.”

Some in the crowd were audibly displeased when she waffled in an answer about whether the Electoral College could be used to block Trump from taking office.

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The session took place in one of the state’s most Democratic enclaves, a natural gathering spot for Clinton backers.

Arlington gave the Democratic nominee 78 percent of its vote, her 19th best showing of the state’s 351 cities and towns, while 67 percent of Middlesex County overall broke her way. In neighboring Cambridge, more than 89 percent backed Clinton.

Healey is holding a second, similar event in Framingham later this month, and advisers said additional sessions may be scheduled.

The genesis, they said, was the flood of anxiety Healey heard after the election about what a Trump presidency could mean. The planning started focused on a sort of group therapy session, but developed into an emphasis on organizing.

“This was put together as much as anything to come together and hear people’s concerns,” Healey said.

The crowd cheered as Maura Healey spoke at a post-election event in Arlington. Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe