In a wide ranging interview Gubernatorial candidate Deval Patrick demonstrated the affability, approachability, and results-oriented focus that propelled him to senior positions at the Justice Department, Coke and Texaco, and leading Boston law firms.
Whether he will triumph in the clannish, some say thuggish, world of Massachusetts politics remains to be seen.
"This is on purpose a different kind of campaign. One of the things I observe is that a lot of good people are giving up on politics. They are checking out. This has made the space that cynics have occupied. I am trying to invite people back in to give them the sense that this is their government," Patrick said.
The candidate, unique among his rivals, is making respectable use of the internet: he has reached out to the blogosphere, and built a decent website that includes Meetups and an on-line donation form. He promises his own blog in the fall. Reilly’s site, by contrast, is a frame-filled hack that flashes a security warning to would-be contributors and offers nothing more than an email form to potential volunteers.
Patrick touched on the importance of access to capital for small businesses in creating jobs and generating economic growth; elements for a solution to the health care nightmare; and the importance of accountability in large construction projects.
On the economy: "The question of access to capital is extremely important for folks of low or moderate income. Most jobs are created by small and medium sized businesses. The SBIC program is a combination of federal money and private money. That program is expiring on the federal level and I’d like to see an analog created on the state level. Particularly in places like Springield and Holyoke. If we had a Governor who was more serious about job creation we’d see some programs like that."
The state, Patrick said, has to acknowledge that it is not keeping pace in the nation’s economic race. "Our economy has been backsliding. We’re losing population. I think Mississippi spends moreon higher education. We’re the second largest source of venture capitaland very little of that is invested back within the state."
On health care: "I don’t meet anybody who thinks the system we have is working well enough. Those 15-20% annual increases are breaking everybody. There are at least three aspects that need to be addressed. Access. Even people who have health insurance feel they have difficulty. Quality. People feel we are paying more and getting less. Finally, single payer."
Please click to the coverage, to follow shortly, of our resident health care expert Charley who actually understands terms like "Mass Health" and "employer mandates," for full details about Patrick’s health care proposals.
On the Big Dig: "I think frankly the fact that we have just started to look at this is absurd. A more active government and frankly a more involved AG were needed. When I was at Coke a large construction project we had came in over budget, something like 70%. We asked the contractor ‘what happened.’ Their answer was effectively ‘stuff happens.’ Well, we sued them. There have to be consequences."