Deval Patrick

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Deval Patrick (1956-) is governor of the U.S. state of Massachusetts. He is a member of the U.S. Democratic Party and was elected in 2006. He carries the traditional title of "His Excellency", a carry-over from the Commonwealth's British past, despite titles being uncommon in American political traditions. Responsibilities of the governor include preparation of the annual budget, nomination of all judicial officers, the granting of pardons (with the approval of the governor's Council), appointments of the heads of most major state departments, and the acceptance or veto of each bill passed by the Legislature.

He shares a number of experiences with President Barack Obama, including African American ethnicity. The two endorsed one another in their campaigns, call each other friends, and have used very similar language in public presentations.[1] During the campaign, Obama's competitor, Hillary Clinton, accused Obama of plagiarizing Patrick. [2] In another similarity with Obama, his family recently adopted a puppy, but his promptly bit a citizen. [3]

His popularity dropped in recent opinion polls, and there have been rumors that Obama would "rescue" him with a Supreme Court or United States Attorney nomination. [4]

He is scheduled for hip replacement surgery on September 1, 2009.


Massachusetts has long been known for high taxes, but has introduced a program for near-universal health care, although the program is stressed financially. This has been complicated by the recession, since the state's unemployment insurance fund pays health insurance premiums. [5] A referendium increasing the state sales tax was approved by the voters in the last election.

Several issues involve controversies with public employee unions. Proposed legislation to give the state authority over individual schools, with poor student test results, have been opposed by teachers' unions. [6]

One of his initiatives was to replace the use of police as "flaggers" to control traffic at construction projects, but his legislation required the civilian flaggers to be unionized, with an escalating rate starting at 36.35 per hour, compared with the average state police budgeted rate of $40 an hour.[7] Police were also upset with his describing the arrest of Henry Louis Gates, Jr., a personal friend, “every black man’s nightmare,” a matter where the President also drew criticism. [8]

Private industry

After serving as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights in the Clinton Administration's Justice Department, he returned to private practice, in 1997, with the Boston firm of Day, Berry & Howard. That same year, he was appointed by a federal district court to serve as the first chairperson of Texaco's Equality and Fairness Task Force. Patrick was hired by Texaco in 1999 to serve as Vice President and General Counsel leading the company's global legal affairs. In 2001, Patrick joined The Coca-Cola Company as Executive Vice President and General Counsel. He was elected to the additional role of Corporate Secretary in 2002, and served as part of the company's senior leadership team as a member of the Executive Committee.[9]

Federal service

In 1994, President Bill Clinton appointed him Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, the nation's top civil rights post. At the Justice Department, Patrick worked on a wide range of issues, including prosecution of hate crimes and abortion clinic violence, and enforcement of employment discrimination, fair lending and disabilities rights laws. During his tenure, Patrick led the largest federal criminal investigation before September 11th, coordinating state, local and federal agencies to investigate church burnings throughout the South in the mid-1990s.


Diane and Deval Patrick have been married for over twenty-five years and have two adult daughters, Sarah and Katherine. The Patrick family has lived in Milton, in a house on Deval's high school paper route, for the last 20 years.

Early life

As opposed to Barack Obama, who stayed in Chicago, he came to Massachusetts from the South Side of Chicago in 1970 at the age of 14, and received a scholarship to Milton Academy through A Better Chance, a Boston-based organization. The first of his family to attend college, he went to Harvard University, graduating with honors in 1979, and spent a post-graduate year working on a United Nations youth training project in the Darfur region of Sudan. He returned to Cambridge to attend Harvard Law School in the fall of 1979, where he lead the Legal Aid Bureau, the nation's oldest student-run legal services organization, and won the Ames Moot Court competition.

Following law school, Patrick served as a law clerk to a federal appellate judge before joining the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Legal Defense and Education Fund. In 1986, he joined the Boston law firm of Hill & Barlow and was named partner in 1990, at the age of 34.


  1. Scott Helman (April 16, 2007), "Patrick, Obama campaigns share language of 'hope'", Boston Globe
  2. Jeff Zeleny (February 19, 2008), "Clinton Camp Says Obama Plagiarized in Speech", New York Times
  3. O’Ryan Johnson (July 24, 2009), "Gov’s puppy bit woman", Boston Herald
  4. Jim Geraghty (5 May 2009), "Deval Patrick to U.S. Attorney?", National Review
  5. "Mass. unemployed health insurance fund runs low", Associated Press, 5 August 2009
  6. "Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick's administration seeks expanded control over troubled schools", The Republican (newspaper), 2 July 2009
  7. Hillary Chabot (28 July 2009), Foes: Deval Patrick flubbed on flaggers
  8. "Patrick: Gates' Case 'Troubling, Upsetting'; Patrick Is Friends With Gates", WCBV-TV, 23 July 2009
  9. Governor Patrick's Biography, Commonwealth of Massachusetts