The town of Milton, Mass., is very affluent, very suburban, and very, very blue.

How blue? Milton backed Joe Biden over Donald Trump in 2020 by a 73 to 25 percent margin. It’s the home of former progressive Gov. Deval Patrick and of tony Milton Academy.

What it’s not home to is new multifamily housing developments mandated by a 2021 state law passed by Democratic legislators to address the commonwealth’s housing shortage. And if the town’s voters have anything to say about it, they won’t be anytime soon, either.

Milton, with a population of around 28,000, is technically connected to the state’s commuter rail system by the MBTA’s Mattapan Trolley, a spur of the region’s Red Line connection to Boston featuring several stops along the northern edge of the town. As a result, it must comply with the new law designed to increase the supply of affordable housing.

Milton did precisely that when a town meeting vote approved putting a housing development zoning plan in motion. But when local residents found out what the town had agreed to, they held a town-wide referendum and rejected the plan with a solid 54 percent majority.

Now, the town is facing condemnation from Democratic Gov. Maura Healey and a lawsuit filed Tuesday by Democratic Attorney General Andrea Campbell. Healy carried Milton by a 44-point margin in 2022, and Campbell got more than 70 percent of the vote in her attorney general race.

“The MBTA Communities Law was enacted to address our region-wide need for housing, and compliance with it is mandatory,” Campbell said in a statement.

“This is not just about one community—it is about the future of our workforce, our economy, and our entire state,” added Healey.

But even these hardcore Democrats won’t back the liberal politics of extending affordable housing into their upscale community.

The woman who led the charge against the new zoning mandate is Denise “Denny” Swenson, an activist who once served on the town’s planning board.

Campbell’s personal Twitter page includes a photo of her with a smiling Swenson, seen holding one of Campbell’s green campaign signs. A glance at Swenson’s record of political donations shows she’s exclusively given money to Democrats.

“The idea of big government telling municipal government what to do, I think that was a big driver to the polls,” Swenson told The Boston Globe after leading the successful referendum.

Swenson told NHJournal it is “a shame that it may take defending this lawsuit for the citizens of Milton to finally get heard.”

“It is a great disappointment for the citizens of Milton that the attorney general has led with all sticks and no carrots,” she added. “This has been very hard for the citizens of Milton seeking a positive bylaw that would create solutions and strides on the legislative goals of climate sustainability, traffic impact mitigation, and 15 percent or more affordable units.”

Paul Craney, executive director of the pro-limited government nonprofit Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, told NHJournal the irony of the situation is “rather delicious.”

“It’s fascinating watching this whole thing play out down there,” he said. “When you get people together a lot of times on these issues, they come to the right conclusions.”

Milton is already being penalized ahead of Campbell’s lawsuit.

Less than a week after the town’s referendum vote, the Healey administration announced Milton would be punished by “losing out on state grant funding.”

The first domino to fall was the cancellation of a $140,000 grant toward a town seawall and improved water access.

“The law is clear – compliance with the MBTA Communities Law is mandatory,” wrote state Housing and Livable Communities Secretary Ed Augustus in a letter announcing the grant’s revocation. “At this time, Milton is the only rapid transit community in Massachusetts that is not in compliance.

“If we do not all come together to build more housing, we will not be able to overcome our affordability crisis. We need every community to do their part.”

Town officials are also disputing whether “rapid transit” is an accurate description of the trolley that connects Milton to the MBTA.

“Equating the Mattapan trolley line with the Blue, Orange, Red, and Green Lines is like saying that the trolley in Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood is the same as Bullet Train,” Selectboard Chairman Michael Zullas wrote in a letter sent last summer to the MBTA Board of Directors.

Milton Neighbors for Responsible Zoning, the group behind the referendum efforts, has pointed out that “the Mattapan line remains a detached suburban trolley system essentially untouched from when it opened in the 1920s.”

“It is truly a heritage railway and a vestige of the gentle suburban trolley network that connected communities across suburban Boston in centuries past—a far cry from the speedy modern rapid transit networks operating in the state today,” the group argued.

Craney said other towns that may be opposed to the new MBTA zoning law are likely keeping a close eye on what will happen next.

“If enough people have the chance to vote in their towns I feel like they’ll be like Milton, which says more about the appeal of the policy than the people voting,” Craney said.

But the bigger message may be that progressives are willing to vote for programs to help lower-income families with housing — as long as they’re willing to be housed somewhere else.