When Massachusetts voters go to the polls on Tuesday, November 2, we urge them to cast their votes for the re-election of Governor Deval Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray.
Four years ago, the Phoenix enthusiastically endorsed Patrick. And, like many Patrick supporters, we were disappointed by his first two years in office.
It was not a question of his policies. More often than not, when it comes to doing right by the citizens and taxpayers, Patrick has his head screwed on straight.
Politics were the problem. Beacon Hill's learning curve proved to be trickier than Patrick and his team had imagined it would be.
But Patrick learned.
In the midst of the worst financial catastrophe in memory, Patrick managed to help the local economy rebound at twice the national rate, adding 60,000 jobs.
And, with its sights clearly focused on environmental impact, the Patrick administration can rightly boast of being in the forefront of the green revolution, promoting policies that save dearly needed consumer dollars while simultaneously laying a foundation upon which green jobs can be developed.
Massachusetts has long enjoyed a national reputation for high-quality public schools. As a result of Patrick's leadership, the state received $250 million in federal "Race to the Top" funds to create more charter schools and help turn around underperforming districts throughout the state — especially in deprived urban areas. Not that Republicans acknowledged this feat. Instead, the GOP howled in protest: screw the kids, save the cash.
Patrick, in addition, is the first governor in 16 years to give the state system of colleges and universities something approaching the attention it deserves. While Republicans sat in the governor's seat, public higher education was shortchanged.
Throughout this year's gubernatorial campaign, more hot air — and Republican disinformation — has been spent on the fiscal health of the commonwealth than on any other issue. Despite punishing economic conditions, Massachusetts has maintained its AA bond rating. That is an accomplishment of which Patrick can be proud and for which taxpayers should be grateful.
Not to be forgotten is Patrick's vigorous support for marriage equality and his successful uphill battle for CORI reform, which promises to help curb alarmingly high rates of recidivism by giving deserving ex-offenders an easier time finding jobs.
On the issue of cleaning up state government — a herculean task here in get-along-to-along Massachusetts — Patrick's record is mixed. But it is not for lack of effort. During his four years in office, Patrick has acquired some back-room chops to complement the hard-won wisdom that was the painful fruit of his early troubles.
Patrick managed to wrangle about as much as could be hoped from a self-obsessed and notoriously uncooperative legislature. As a result, Beacon Hill now operates under tighter ethical guidelines; some of the worst pension and lobbying practices have been curtailed; and the first steps have been taken to reform our sprawling transportation system. These are concrete and undeniable advances.
More, of course, remains to be done. In our view, Patrick is the one to keep the ball rolling. Let's hope that, early in his next term, he can get the casino-gambling bill passed.