A Conversation with Governor Deval Patrick
November 14, 2014
November 14, 2014
On November 18, 2014 Massachusetts Governor Deval L. Patrick joined Solomon McCown CEO Helene Solomon for a wide-ranging conversation as he prepared to leave office after an eight-year, two-term tenure as chief executive of the Commonwealth.
Industry leaders from real estate, healthcare, corporate, finance and the non-profit sectors were in the audience as Patrick reflected on his governorship, people over policy, the influence of dark money, race, and transitioning the governorship to Governor-Elect Charlie Baker with his trademark empathy and humor.
He reflected on his accomplishments, many of which he achieved by flying in the face of conventional political wisdom. He recounted his negotiations with the state Legislature during the economic collapse, during which he advocated for three substantive legislative items that met resistance. In response to the legislature pushing a sales tax increase—and against the advice of his advisors—Patrick said he’d work with the legislature on the sales tax if it would work with him around the transportation and other investments he sought. “You’re done,” Patrick recounted his aides telling him about the increase. But by explaining the tough choice to voters, in his style, suggesting that second graders shouldn’t have to wait for the economy to improve to get a good education, Patrick was elected to his second term in 2010.
Solomon asked Patrick what was the most surprising part of the governorship. “The intimacy of it,” Patrick replied. When citizens meet the Governor, he said, they struggle to find the right question to ask or statement to make while they have his attention. Often times, these relate to the most personal parts of their lives. A person who couldn’t get a lump checked out until they found health insurance on the Connector. An executive chef who got his start in the hospitality industry thanks to CORI reform signed by Patrick.
To close the conversation, Governor Patrick remarked that we, as a culture, have learned to “shout anger and whisper justice.” “It has to be the other way around,” Patrick said to nods of agreement from those in the room. For the past eight years, Massachusetts has been fortunate to have a Governor so committed to shouting justice from the corner office.
Thank you to Governor Patrick and all of those who joined us at The Boston Harbor Hotel.