Mr. Patrick Goes to Franklin Park

'Deval in the 'Hood' Dept.
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  June 24, 2010

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As Deval Patrick engaged constituents at the third annual 10,000 Strong Boston barbecue in Franklin Park on Father's Day, it was clear that his support from black voters doesn't derive solely from the luster of his climb from Chicago's hardscrabble streets to the top spot on the Beacon Hill food chain.

When Patrick ran for governor in 2006, he had never held elected office, and instead had to rely on a compelling life story to carry his campaign. But it was not long before the same black voters who had helped him win voiced discontent with his leadership. Now, it looks like Patrick is poised to once again capture minority voters' confidence — not only with his inspiring bio, but on the strength of his political actions.

Two of the governor's current legislative conquests-in-the-making directly target crime, especially in at-risk minority communities. His long-delayed Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) reform bill looks to increase employment opportunities for ex-convicts; another proposal aims to choke the black-market firearms trade by legally restricting gun buyers to one purchase a month.

From the moment Patrick arrived in Franklin Park, the crowd reached out for handshakes and photo-ops. In addition to gaining face time with Roxbury and Dorchester constituents, he was also in the company of key figures representing Boston's young black political vanguard.

Such a positive reception bodes well for Patrick — especially when he's earning kudos from the likes of 10,000 Strong organizer Jamarhl Crawford, who offered his endorsement despite his well-known skepticism of establishment leaders. "This isn't the first time I've seen Deval in the 'hood," announced Crawford. "This governor is accessible, and that's a blessing."

  Topics: News Features , Deval Patrick, Deval Patrick, Massachusetts,  More more >
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