Deval Patrick on Principles & Values



Joined Bain Capital, lecture tour "Reinvesting in America"

The former governor of Massachusetts who has largely shunned politics since leaving office and joining Bain Capital in 2015, is using some of his most direct language to date to acknowledge his interest in a presidential run in 2020.

"It's on my radar screen," Patrick told KCUR, a public radio station in Kansas City, where he was traveling last week for a civic event called "An Evening with Deval Patrick: Reinvesting in America."

Source: M. Levenson in Boston Globe on 2020 presidential hopefuls , Jul 17, 2017

Learned Arabic while crossing the Sudanese desert

Our destination [on UN Development Programme in Sudan in 1978] was El Fasher, but getting there was not simple. Each lorry [cargo truck crossing the desert] sold passage on top of its cargo.

Outside Khartoum, a freak rainstorm hit. Everything turned to mud. We went into a skid, and the top-heavy vehicle rolled over with a thud. Everybody was shaken up. A few passengers had broken bones. We were alone in the desert with our calamity. And we would remain so (mostly) for three days.

Source: A Reason to Believe, by Gov. Deval Patrick, p. 74-82 , Apr 12, 2011

My life is often described as "improbable"

My life is often described as "improbable." Because I grew up in a broken home and in poverty, my academic career at Harvard College and Harvard Law School is sometimes called "improbable." My legal career, which included winning an argument before the US Supreme Court and suing an Arkansas governor named Bill Clinton, who later appointed me assistant attorney general for civil rights, is called "improbable." My corporate career, which included service as a senior executive at two of the most highly recognized companies in America, Texaco and Coca-Cola, is called "improbable." My political career is described variously as "improbable" or "impossible": In my first race for elective office, lacking name recognition, connections, and money, I became the first African-American governor in the history of MA.

Of course, I acknowledge the unlikelihood of my good fortune. I also recognize the hard work and discipline that have made it possible.

Source: A Reason to Believe, by Gov. Deval Patrick, p. 3 , Apr 12, 2011

Father left family when Deval was age four

My father, Pat, was a jazz musician, and he seemed to have a take-it-or-leave-it attitude about their relationship. It would be on his terms, period. His greatest and first love was music. My mother, Emily, appears to have felt chronically misunderstood and responded favorably to his insights about her. An ardent romance it wasn't.

But they tied the knot, and soon afterward, in August 1955, my sister, Rhonda, was born. I followed a short 11 months later, in July 1956.

Any sense I had of contented family life came to a jarring end when my father decided to leave and move to NY when I was 4. My mother, who had dropped out of high school to pursue him, hoped he would return, a hope she nourished by sending him letters regularly.

My father sent some money once or twice a year.

Source: A Reason to Believe, by Gov. Deval Patrick, p. 9-10 , Apr 12, 2011

Born in grandmother's bed, with no doctor

I was born in my grandmother's bed. There was no doctor. According to family legend, after Uncle Sonny cut and tied off the umbilical cord, Grandma wrapped me in a blanket and placed me in the warm oven with the door open until the doctor arrived.

My mother and sister and I occupied a smaller bedroom across from the one bathroom. It was furnished with bunk beds that took up most of the space. For a time we could double up, but eventually we had to rotate so that one of us would sleep on the floor. Whoever's turn it was for "floor night" followed a ritual: you would lay down newspapers, then a thin blanket, then a sheet, then a threadbare cover. The room's one window opened onto an air shaft and the neighbors' window 15 feet across.

We didn't know to complain. We were better off than many.

Source: A Reason to Believe, by Gov. Deval Patrick, p. 12-13 , Apr 12, 2011

Bullied at school as "high yellow": not black enough

The gangs made those walks to school treacherous. I was routinely "jumped," my lunch money or school supplies stolen, mostly because I was a "good" kid. I was also at risk for not being black enough, a mark of authenticity conferred on those with the darkest skin.

Color consciousness among black people is an ancient issue, but after Dr. King's death, the militancy in some black circles only intensified the intolerance toward African Americans who were comparatively fair. I was meek, bookish, bashful, and, in some people's view, "high yellow"--thus an easy mark. It only added to the uncomfortable self-consciousness that I carried around anyway. I just wanted to be in step and left alone. Surely there was some place where skin color was not the center of everything.

Source: A Reason to Believe, by Gov. Deval Patrick, p. 29 , Apr 12, 2011

Circumstances, however difficult, need not be permanent

I am hardly the only product of Chicago's South Side to have gone on to better things or the only kid from a hardscrabble background to have had a measure of success. That "rags to riches" story is distinctly American, and though it is not told often enough, it is still told more often in this country than anywhere else on earth. In my own case, I knew that my circumstances, however difficult, need not be permanent; I could shape my own destiny. That was the true gift of my childhood. The POWER of that gift is that I was surrounded by adults who had every reason to curb my dreams.

My grandparents had grown up with Jim Crow. My mother knew all too well the humiliation of poverty and betrayal. Yet in different ways, they taught me to reject the cycle of despair that had trapped so many others and to pursue opportunities that I could barely imagine.

Source: A Reason to Believe, by Gov. Deval Patrick, p. 32-33 , Apr 12, 2011

Met wife, at Halloween party, while dressed as Masai warrior

A delightful old soul named Robert Hubbell invited me to a Halloween party and insisted that I dress in costume. I reluctantly agreed.

I wore a full-length caftan from Nigeria and no shoes, smeared war paint across my face, and carried a Masai spear. I thought I looked pretty good until I walked into the party and realized that I was the only one in costume. The joke was on me. Little did I know that the surprises were just beginning.

The entire party was an elaborate scheme for me to meet Diane--to engineer a chance encounter--and I was the only one out of the loop. Diane knew why she was there and had been told all about me. I, on the other hand, dressed as a mock African warrior, was blissfully ignorant.

The light finally dawned during the pumpkin carving contest, when Diane and I were paired. The prize was a single bottle of champagne. We won, of course, but the contest was shamelessly rigged. [We got engaged after dating a while.]

Source: A Reason to Believe, by Gov. Deval Patrick, p. 89-90 , Apr 12, 2011

Father & grandfather were accomplished jazz musicians

My father--Laurdine Kenneth Patrick--had an unusual first name. He passed "Laurdine" on to me as my middle name.

My father inherited more than his first name from his father. Both were accomplished professional musicians. Grandpa Pat was a superb professional trumpeter who performed with and was close to Art Tatum, the great jazz pianist. Even so, my father had the real gift.

As a student at DuSable High School in Chicago in the 1940s, he studied saxophone and other reeds with the legendary instructor Walter Dyett. He was best known for baritone saxophone, for which he was routinely ranked in "Downbeat Magazine." Over the years, I saw him perform every other saxophone and reed instrument, most wind instruments, the keyboard, and the bass as well--all with ease and confidence. An intense man with great powers of concentration, he was his most engaged, his most emotionally present, when riffing a jazz set.

Source: A Reason to Believe, by Gov. Deval Patrick, p.116-118 , Apr 12, 2011

Faith is less about what you say & more about how you live

My mother did not care much for church. But my grandmother was a child of the South, and for her church on Sunday was a must. The Cosmopolitan Community Church was just a block away.

I have so many blessings in my own life, so many improbable gifts, that I am long past questioning whether there is an invisible hand at work in my life. To me, God is real, but my years at Cosmopolitan, and the experience of those old ladies in hats, emphasized that faith is less about what you say you believe and more about how you live. I came to see those old ladies as embodiments of the faith we were taught. They showed me how to welcome and embrace all the people who walked into our church and into our lives, from whatever station. They meant "embrace" literally--a hug, a tactile expression of oneness and support.

Source: A Reason to Believe, by Gov. Deval Patrick, p.144-147 , Apr 12, 2011

American idealism: believe we can perfect our country

I was 6 or 7 years old the first time I heard Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speak on the South Side of Chicago. Long before I knew the clarity of King's vision or the power of his imagery, I understood that hope is a tangible thing. I could feel it. He was the consummate idealist who made us believe that we could perfect our community and our country.

Idealism is vital. It sustains the human soul. The ability to imagine a better place, a better way of doing things, a better way of being in the world is far more than wishful thinking. It is the essential ingredient in human progress.

Idealism built America. The persecuted religious refugees who set out over a vast ocean in small wooden boats with barely a notion of what awaited them in the New World were fortified mainly by an ideal of the community they wished to create. That idealism has always been at the core of our national character.

Source: A Reason to Believe, by Gov. Deval Patrick, p.195-196 , Apr 12, 2011

2007: Just words? No, rhetoric can be inspirational vision

I told Barack I would endorse him later in the fall in Boston.

I told Obama about the importance of keeping his rhetoric positive and high-minded, that it not only set him apart from other candidates, but expressed the kind of visionary leadership the country needed. I warned him of the obvious: Detractors will dismiss what you say as empty rhetoric just because it's inspirational. I shared with him the riff I had developed in my own campaign--"just words"--and invited him to use it if he ever found it helpful. (He did later in the campaign, which produced a minor uproar in the media.)

Source: A Reason to Believe, by Gov. Deval Patrick, p.212-213 , Apr 12, 2011

Learned "WASP Code" at Milton Academy

The more time I spent at Milton--at tea parties after football games, at alumni council gatherings--the more comfortable I became. I was never popular or much of an athlete. I was just a good citizen, a patient listener, and a sharp observer. I figured out the blue blazer & the rep tie, the difference between the old money destinations & the new. Though I had never actually been to most of these places or even owned a rep tie, I had broken the code. I could out-WASP the WASPs. I could even use "summer" as a verb.

As I learned the code, people grew more comfortable with me. They opened up and allowed me to see how universal the human condition really is. Despite their venerable names and magnificent homes, the men and women of privilege bore struggles hardly different from those I had seen at home.

Though I was largely accepted at Milton, true assimilation was not possible. It was as if I was encouraged to forget my past and embrace a community that would not actually let me surrender that past.

Source: A Reason to Believe, by Gov. Deval Patrick, p. 52-53 , Apr 12, 2011

Grace and generosity feel contrarian in today's culture

Even before my fellowship year in West Africa was over, I knew I had received what I had come for: a deeper understanding of how broken or impoverished surroundings could not defeat the resourcefulness and generosity of people. I also received a daily lesson in compassion, a reminder of the transformative power of grace across all cultures, a template for how to treat those who speak, dress, or pray differently than I.

Those lessons have served me well in the increasingly rich gumbo that is America. In the years since, I have tried to bring those lessons into my practical life, rather than keeping them as just travel souvenirs. It is surprising how contrarian they feel in today's culture. In our age of high-decibel hate-mongering and attack ads gone viral, grace and generosity are sometimes viewed as quaint relics from a lost era. But that special giving of the spirit, which I first witnessed growing up and which was then so vividly reinforced in remote villages in Africa, sustains us all.

Source: A Reason to Believe, by Gov. Deval Patrick, p. 84-85 , Apr 12, 2011

Running to reach out to all & create a stake in the future

Q: What do you hope to accomplish in this campaign?

ROSS: Deval keeps talking about bringing in voters who have given up. When people ask me, ĎHow do you get people involved?í one of the things is that we need to talk to real people about real issues. Iím accomplishing something different. Itís called trying to rebuild democracy. And if we canít have a democracy for & by the people, if all we can have is a democracy for rich folks, then we donít have a government anymore.

PATRICK: If you think that our campaign has been just about millionaires talking to millionaires, youíve been missing something. This whole campaign has been about reaching out to everybody and not drawing divisions and separations, but asking people to see their stake in an intact community- poor, middle income, and wealthy as well- because everybody has a stake in our future, everybody.

ROSS: Iím not saying that youíve run a divisive campaign. Iím saying we need policies that are going to reach the most people.

Source: 2006 MA Gubernatorial debate on Fox News with Chris Wallace , Sep 25, 2006

Do we stay on this path, or do we make a change?

Every election is about choice. And this time around itís a choice between whether we stay on the path we have been on or we make a change. The path we have been on has been about the politics of fear, about the politics and the leadership of inaction and neglect. I want us to be about the politics of hope, about action and collaboration. Every single candidate up here has a few good ideas, I have some of my own, but those ideas are going nowhere without leadership and Iíve had leadership in government at the highest levels. I understand how to get agencies to work together. Iíve led as an executive, in two of the largest and most complicated companies in the world. Iíve led in non-profits and in community groups as well. No one else in this race has that range of leadership experience. Iím not asking anyone to take a chance on me, Iím asking you to take a chance on your own aspirations.
Source: 2006 MA Gubernatorial debate on Fox News with Chris Wallace , Sep 25, 2006

Outsider governor balances entrenched establishment

HEALEY: I think itís very important to have balance in politics. Right now 87% of the legislature are Democrats.

PATRICK: I actually donít think thatís the balance people are looking for. Most people donít buy 100% of what either party is selling. I donít. I think the balance people want is between a fairly entrenched inward-looking establishment and an outsider in the corner office- someone whose experience is broader, who didnít grow up in the Beacon Hill culture.

Source: 2006 MA Gubernatorial debate on Fox News with Chris Wallace , Sep 25, 2006

Brings leadership and grassroots power to Beacon Hill

Q: What makes you more electable in November than your two opponents?

PATRICK: I think first of all, the point about the clarity of ideas, and the depth of them. I want to point out that weíve put out ideas over the last year, very specific plans for how to move Massachusetts forward. But the edge I think that I bring is leadership that includes government, but also business also non-profits, and also community groups. Iíve gotten results in every one of those contexts and no one else in this race has this range of leadership experience. Thatís one difference. Another difference is that I run a campaign that is about inviting people who have checked out to check back in, whatever their political philosophy and wherever they are in the commonwealth. And I think that brings a different kind of power, a people power, a grassroots power to Beacon Hill. Unless we change that culture with that kind of power, all bets are off.

Source: MA gubernatorial debate on CBS4 news, moderator: Jon Keller , Sep 13, 2006

Patrick wins first test at caucuses, by 2-1 margin

Patrick won big among delegates at caucuses [and in the statewide delegate count] leads Reilly almost 2-1. Patrick said his showing at the caucuses was ďa victory for the grass roots.Ē But he downplayed expectations that the results would give him a majority at the convention. He needs 15% of convention delegates to be placed on the Sept. primary ballot. ďThe whole system favors insiders,Ē said Patrick when asked if this ensured a convention endorsement. ďI just feel good we got ballot access.Ē
Source: By Frank Phillips and Scott Greenberger, Boston Globe , Feb 5, 2006

Galvin withdraws; itís head-to-head against Tom Reilly

Secretary of State William F. Galvin said yesterday he will not run for governor and instead will seek reelection to a fourth term, setting up a two-person battle for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination between Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly and former federal civil rights enforcer Deval Patrick.

Barring an unexpected entry in the race, Galvinís decision means that Democrats will have a choice in next Septemberís party primary between Reilly, who is aiming his candidacy at moderates and

Source: Frank Phillips, Boston Globe , Dec 13, 2005

Other governors on Principles & Values: Deval Patrick on other issues:
MA Gubernatorial:
Bill Weld
Bob Massie
Charlie Baker
Dan Wolf
Don Berwick
Jay Gonzalez
Jesse Gordon
Karyn Polito
Lawrence Lessig
Martha Coakley
Marty Walsh
Richard Tisei
Seth Moulton
Setti Warren
Steve Grossman
Tom Menino
Warren Tolman
MA Senatorial:
Allen Waters
Beth Lindstrom
Elizabeth Warren
Geoff Diehl
Heidi Wellman
Joe Kennedy III
John Kingston
Shannon Liss-Riordan
Shiva Ayyadurai

Gubernatorial Debates 2019:
Bevin(R) vs.Goforth(R,lost primary) vs.Adkins(D,lost primary) vs.Beshear(D) vs.Edelen(D,lost primary)
Edwards(D) vs.Rispone(R) vs.Abraham(R) vs.Kennedy(R,declined)
Bryant(R,retiring) vs.Foster(R) vs.Hood(D) vs.Reeves(R) vs.Waller(R)

Gubernatorial Debates 2021:
Murphy(D) vs.Ciattarelli(R)
Northam(D,term-limited) vs.Herring(D)

Gubernatorial Debates 2020:
DE: vs.Carney(incumbent) - no challengers yet
IN: vs.Holcomb(incumbent) vs.Melton(D) vs.Woody Myers(D)
MO: Parson(incumbent) vs.Nicole Galloway(D) vs.Jim Neely(R)
MT: Bullock(retiring) vs.Fox(R) vs.Perry(R) vs.Gianforte(R) vs.Stapleton(R) vs.Olszewski(R) vs.Neill(D) vs.Schreiner(D)
NC: Cooper(incumbent) vs.Forest(R) vs.Holly Grange(R)
ND: Burgum(incumbent) vs.Michael Coachman(R)
NH: Sununu(incumbent) vs.Volinksy(D) vs.Dan Feltes(D)
PR: Rossello(D) vs.Wanda Vazquez Garced(D)
UT: Herbert(retiring) vs.Huntsman(R) vs.Cox(R) vs.Jeff Burningham(R)
VT: Scott(incumbent) vs.Rebecca Holcombe(D)
WA: Inslee(incumbent) - no challengers yet
WV: Justice(incumbent) vs.Folk(R) vs.Thrasher(R) vs.Vanover(D) vs.Smith(D) vs.Ron Stollings(D)
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