Deval Patrick for Governor

Who am I?

From the South Side of Chicago to the highest levels of government to the boardrooms of two Fortune 500 companies, Deval Patrick has lived the American dream. Through almost four decades of that journey, the values, institutions, and people of the Bay State have been fundamental to his success.

Born in 1956, Deval grew up in one of Chicago's toughest neighborhoods, living on welfare and sharing a single bedroom with his mother and sister. Public leadership and the power of possibility captured Deval's imagination early on when his mother brought him to hear Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speak in a South Side Chicago park. "I remember feeling connected to all these people who were like me - of limited means, but limitless hope. People build whole lives on hope."

First in his class in middle school, Deval's potential was recognized by a teacher who recommended him to A Better Chance, a Boston-based organization that awarded him a scholarship to Milton Academy in Milton, Massachusetts. "Coming here [to Massachusetts] was like coming to a different planet," Deval explained years later. "Other kids were complaining about how small and spare their dorm rooms wereAnd here I had my own bed and desk. I thought, 'this is pretty nice.'" Deval thrived in his new surroundings. He excelled in the classroom, served as editor of the school paper, and delivered newspapers on campus and in surrounding neighborhoods, including the one his family now calls home. While he was at Milton, Deval returned to Chicago on school breaks and worked in a small factory, as a janitor with his grandfather, and bussing tables in a downtown restaurant.

After graduating from Milton in 1974, Deval attended Harvard College, the first in his family to be formally educated beyond high school. When he called home to tell his family he had been admitted, his grandmother paused in her excitement and asked, "Where is that anyway?" Of that comment, Deval says, "it was the opportunity, not the prestige that mattered."

Graduating from Harvard with honors in 1978, Deval then lived and worked in Africa for a year, most of that time on a United Nations youth training project in the Darfur region of Sudan. While abroad, he applied and was admitted to law school and returned to Cambridge to attend Harvard. There, he was elected president of the Legal Aid Bureau and gained his first trial experience defending poor families in the Middlesex County Courts. He also won the prestigious Ames Moot Court Competition and was named best oral advocate in his class.

Serving the public interest:
A distinguished record of service and advocacy.
After serving as a law clerk for a year to a federal appellate judge, Deval joined the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF) in 1983 where he devoted most of his time to death penalty and voting rights cases. It was at LDF that Deval first met then-Governor Bill Clinton whom he sued in a voting rights case in Arkansas. Clinton worked with Deval to settle the case and the two began a relationship of strong mutual respect and admiration that continues today.

During this time, Deval married Diane Bemus, an attorney specializing in labor and employment law whom he met after friends set them up on a blind date. "It was supposed to be a costume party, but I was the only one there in costume," recalls Deval.

Deval left LDF in 1986 to join the Boston law firm of Hill & Barlow, where he became a partner in 1990. In addition to his private practice, he spent much of his time on pro-bono work, including a landmark lending scam case on behalf of Massachusetts' senior citizens. He also served as volunteer Chairman of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund's New England Committee and as a member of its National Board of Directors.

In 1994, President Clinton appointed Deval Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, the nation's top civil rights post. Deval worked on a wide range of issues at the Justice Department including the investigation of church burnings throughout the South in the mid-1990s, prosecution of hate crimes and abortion clinic violence, cases of employment discrimination, and enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Raising the bar:
Bold, decisive leadership determined to make a difference.
Deval 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, following the settlement of a significant race discrimination case at the company. He and his Task Force carefully reexamined and rebuilt the company's entire system of employment practices in a successful effort to create a more equitable workplace for everyone. Recognizing his unique ability to bring people together to get things done, Texaco hired Deval as Vice President and General Counsel in 1999, placing him in charge of its global legal affairs.

Next, Deval joined The Coca-Cola Company as Executive Vice President and General Counsel. He was elected to the additional position of Corporate Secretary in 2002. In these roles he was responsible for the company's worldwide legal affairs. He also served on the Company's Executive Committee - its senior leadership team. After nearly six years of commuting to Atlanta and New York, Deval resigned his post at Coca-Cola last year.

Restoring Faith:
A commitment to the principles and ideals that work to benefit all of the citizens of the Commonwealth.
Deval has served on several charitable and corporate boards, as well as the Federal Election Reform Commission under Presidents Carter and Ford, and as Vice Chair of the Massachusetts Judicial Nominating Council by appointment of Governor Weld. He is the recipient of seven honorary degrees, including from Clark University in Worcester, Suffolk Law School in Boston, Northeastern University School of Law in Boston, and Curry College in Milton.

Deval and Diane have two daughters, Sarah, 19, and Katherine, 15. They have lived in Milton, in that house on Deval's old paper route, for 16 years. His sister and her family are also residents of Milton, as were his late mother and grandmother.

Why am I running?

Passing it On
It was Massachusetts people, programs and institutions that prepared me for and exposed me to those opportunities. But the bigger lesson for me here in Massachusetts was about how to reach beyond my grasp, how to believe in what's possible. It was here that I learned to believe in the American Dream. That's what I want to pass on.

Jobs and Our Economy
In Massachusetts today, we need leadership in the governor's office that works to expand our economy and create good jobs for everyone. A credible governor can partner with business leaders to be a powerful salesman for economic growth in this State. But he has to believe in Massachusetts and her people. I do.

I have been a leader in two of the largest corporations in the world. I have served as counsel for small and medium-sized businesses, too. I understand the importance of ready access to capital, to willing markets and to well-prepared talent. I want a business-friendly Massachusetts, so that we can have jobs and economic vitality that we can count on.

Public Education

In Massachusetts today, we need more than education reform. We need an education renaissance. We deserve a comprehensive public education agenda that begins with early childhood education and continues through public colleges and universities. A credible governor, willing to work side-by-side with mayors and other local authorities, can lead us to a public education system second to none in the Nation. But he has to believe in Massachusetts and her people. I do.

Health Care

In Massachusetts today, we need health care for everyone at reasonable cost. No one accepts that the system we have works well enough. And the public health system has been so devastated that we are treating serious illnesses now at high cost that could have been prevented altogether if addressed early on. Even those of us who have health insurance can find it frustrating to access it. For those suffering from Alzheimer's, diabetes or other genetic illnesses, stem cell research must be supported and encouraged, not politicized. A credible governor, willing to work alongside the legislature and with the medical, biotech and business communities, can build a better system. But he has to believe in Massachusetts and her people. I do.

Leadership Matters

Addressing these needs and many others demands strong, creative leadership. But that is not the kind of leadership we have today. Today, our governor ridicules the office he holds and the people he serves. Today, our governor governs by press conference and photo op, not by results. The current administration confers primarily with itself, not with the people they have a duty to serve. Meanwhile, with the departure of companies like Gillette, John Hancock and Fleet Bank, we are on our way to becoming America's back office.

Old politics is getting us nowhere. Old politics is about partisan blood sport and "gotcha" games. Old politics is about electing governors who show no serious interest in serving the common good. Old politics is an insider's game where a few set the rules, decide whose turn it is to run, and then focus on how to win elections, rather than why we should.

The Politics of Hope
I believe that an enlightened government has a role to play in helping to make all of our lives better. I believe that each of us has a stake in our neighbor's dreams and struggles as well as our own. I believe in the American Dream, and want to work to put it within reach of more people here in Massachusetts.

That's the politics of hope. That's what I bring to this campaign and what I will bring to the office of Governor of Massachusetts.

I welcome your support and your participation. To learn more, please tour the website and check back for news and updates.

My Goals

I believe that (1) strengthening and expanding the economy so that it works for everyone, (2) assuring consistent excellence in the public schools, including in public higher education, and (3) fixing the broken health care system are the three top challenges facing us in Massachusetts today. Of course, while candidates are always asked to separate and prioritize issues, in real life these issues are connected to each other and to others such as affordable housing, energy and environmental stewardship, and transportation.

My DFA Values

This legacy campaign is missing this information

My Campaign is People Powered!

Ours is a grassroots campaign. It is designed to encourage average people, from all communities, to get involved and stay involved in their civic life.

I spend as much time as I can with people all over Massachusetts, asking them to reconnect to each other and to the basic understanding that this is our government and our community, for which we share responsibility. That also translates into fundraising, where over 10,000 people have contibuted to my campaign so far (more than any other candidate) with 60%contibuting less than $100.

This campaign and my candidacy are driven by the desire to invite people throughout the state to check back into civic life and political engagement.

Voice support


  • Lisa Bolduc, MA
  • Ian Brumberger, MA
  • Jennifer Mcgoldrick, MA
  • Ari Fertig, MA
  • Dorothy Keville, MA
  • Katherine Wallace, MA
  • Hugh Fortmiller, MA
  • Jenna Wilson, MA
  • Alexander Williamson, MA
  • Aslam Karachiwala, MA
...and 19 more.

About the Endorsement Process

The driving force behind all DFA endorsements is our members. We recognize that all politics is local and that what is considered progressive in Los Angeles may be very different from what's considered progressive in Louisville. For this reason, DFA does not have a litmus test of specific progressive positions for which a candidate must stand. Our endorsement is heavily weighted based on these questions:

• Will the candidate move the progressive movement forward in their community?
• Does the candidate have substantial support from our local members?
• Do the candidate's positions and policies fit into the broader progressive movement?
• Is the campaign people-powered and the candidate working to win?

If you have questions, or want to let us know about a candidate in your neighborhood, please call us at (802) 651-3200 or email us at [email protected] .

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