“Early life and education
Patrick was born on July 31, 1956 in the South Side of Chicago, where his family resided in a two-bedroom apartment in the Robert Taylor Homes’ housing projects. Patrick was born to his mother, Emily Mae (née Wintersmith), and his father, Laurdine “Pat” Patrick, a jazz musician in Sun Ra’s band. In 1959, Patrick’s father abandoned their family in order to play music in New York City and because he had fathered a daughter, La’Shon Anthony, by another woman. Deval reportedly had a strained relationship with his father, who opposed his choice of high school, but they eventually reconciled. Patrick was raised by his mother, who traces her roots to American slaves in the American South, in the state of Kentucky. The family spent many months living on welfare.
Patrick with future Associate Justice Elena Kagan at Harvard Law School in 2008.
While Patrick was in middle school, one of his teachers referred him to A Better Chance, a national non-profit organization for identifying, recruiting and developing leaders among academically gifted minority students, which enabled him to attend Milton Academy in Milton, Massachusetts. Patrick graduated from Milton Academy in 1974 and went on to attend college, the first in his family. He graduated from Harvard College, where he was a member of the Fly Club, with a Bachelor of Arts cum laude in English and American literature in 1978. He then spent a year working with the United Nations in Africa. In 1979, Patrick returned to the United States and enrolled at Harvard Law School. While in law school, Patrick was elected president of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, where he first worked defending poor families in Middlesex County, Massachusetts. At Harvard, Patrick won “Best Oralist” in the prestigious Ames Moot Court Competition in 1981.
Patrick graduated from Harvard Law School with a Juris Doctor cum laude in 1982. He proceeded to fail the State Bar of California exam twice before passing on his third try. Patrick then served as a law clerk to Judge Stephen Reinhardt on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit for one year. In 1983, he joined the staff of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF), where he worked on death penalty and voting rights cases. While at LDF, he met Bill Clinton, the then Governor of Arkansas, when he sued Clinton in a voting case. In 1986, he joined the Boston law firm of Hill & Barlow and was named partner in 1990, at the age of 34. While at Hill & Barlow he managed high-profile engagements such as acting as Desiree Washington’s attorney in her civil lawsuit against Mike Tyson.
In 1994, President Bill Clinton nominated Patrick as the United States Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, and he was subsequently confirmed by the United States Senate. Federal affirmative action policy was under judicial and political review, and Patrick defended Clinton’s policy. Patrick also worked on issues including racial profiling, police misconduct, and the treatment of incarcerated criminals.”
Between 1995 and 1997, Patrick coordinated an investigation into a series of arsons of predominantly black churches across the South. The investigation brought together a number of state and federal agencies, and was the largest federal investigation in history until the time of 9/11. In the end, more than 100 arrests were made, but no evidence of national or regional conspiracy was found.
In 1997, Patrick returned to Boston to join the firm Day, Berry & Howard, and was appointed by the federal district court to serve as Chairman of Texaco’s Equality and Fairness Task Force to oversee implementation of the terms of a race discrimination settlement. Working with employees at all levels, Patrick and his Task Force examined and reformed Texaco’s complex corporate employment culture, and created a model for fostering an equitable workplace.
Some gay rights activists criticized him for his tenure on the United Airlines (UAL) board. During this time, the company originally fought an ordinance requiring that it offer domestic partnership benefits but Patrick successfully encouraged UAL to offer such benefits to all employees, making it the first airline to do so.
In 1999, partly because of his work on the Equality and Fairness Task Force, Patrick was offered the job as General Counsel of Texaco, responsible for all of the company’s legal affairs. While he continued his work transforming employment practices at the company, the majority of his time was devoted to exploring and working out a merger, ultimately announced in October 2000, with larger Chevron Corp.
In 2001, Patrick left Texaco to become the Executive Vice-President, General Counsel and Secretary at the The Coca-Cola Company. Patrick pushed for a thorough review of allegations that some workers at bottlers of Coke products in Colombia had been abused or even killed by paramilitary groups as a result of union organizing activity. Patrick concluded the allegations to be unsubstantiated and untrue, but counseled that the company allow an independent inquiry to lay all questions to rest. After initially supporting Patrick’s view, then-CEO Douglas Daft changed his mind, precipitating Patrick’s decision to leave Coke.
From 2004 to 2006, he served on the board of directors of ACC Capital Holdings, the parent company of Ameriquest and Argent Mortgage. Ameriquest was the largest lender of so-called subprime mortgages and was under investigation by Attorneys General across the country. Patrick joined the board at the request of Ameriquest’s founder, Roland Arnall, who asked for his help managing the investigations and changing the company’s culture. During his tenure on the board, Ameriquest and Argent originated over $80 billion in subprime mortgages, but those conducting the investigation said that at the time Patrick left Ameriquest the company was on the road to change.
Following his career as governor, Patrick joined the private, alternative asset management firm Bain Capital in 2015, where he is currently acting as a Managing Director.
Main article: Massachusetts gubernatorial election, 2006
In 2005, Patrick announced his candidacy for Governor of Massachusetts. He was at first seen as a dark horse candidate, facing veteran politicians Thomas Reilly and Chris Gabrielli in the Democratic primary. Patrick secured the nomination in the September primary, winning 49% of the vote in the three-way race. In the general election, Patrick faced Republican Lt. Governor Kerry Healey and Independent Massachusetts Turnpike Commission member Christy Mihos.
The general election was very heated, described by former Governor Michael Dukakis as “the dirtiest gubernatorial campaign in my memory”. The majority of the negativity came from the Healey campaign and its supporters, for many reasons, including their reliance on attack ads, her supporters protesting at the homes of Patrick and campaign manager John E. Walsh, and documents leaked anonymously to the media about Patrick’s brother-in-law’s criminal history. Patrick faced criticism for having once written letters to the parole board describing correspondence from Benjamin LaGuer, a man convicted of a brutal eight-hour rape, as “thoughtful, insightful, eloquent, [and] humane”. Patrick contributed $5,000 towards the DNA testing which linked LaGuer to the crime. However, once the DNA test proved LaGuer’s guilt, Patrick withdrew his support for the inmate’s release.
Patrick won the general election with 55% of the vote, becoming the first African-American Governor of Massachusetts.
Main article: Massachusetts gubernatorial election, 2010
On April 2, 2009, Patrick announced alongside Lt. Governor Timothy Murray that they would both run for re-election. Patrick was opposed for the Democratic nomination by Grace Ross, the 2006 Green-Rainbow nominee for Governor, but she withdrew when she could not garner the amount of signatures needed to run.
In the general election Patrick faced Republican Charlie Baker and Massachusetts Treasurer Independent Tim Cahill. Patrick won the general election garnering 48% of the vote, compared to Baker and Cahill’s 42-8% respectively.
Governor of Massachusetts
Before taking office, Patrick assembled a transition team headed by lawyer Michael Angelini, bank executive Ronald Homer, and Weld administration economic affairs secretary Gloria Cordes Larson. In his first meetings with the legislative leadership, he proposed his first action would be to hire 1,000 new police officers and to expand full-day kindergarten statewide.
Breaking with the tradition of being inaugurated in the House Chamber of the Massachusetts State House, Patrick and Murray took their oaths of office, and Patrick delivered his inaugural address, outdoors on the West Portico of the State House facing Boston Common. This allowed a larger part of the public to witness the event, and was intended to signal a more open, transparent, and accessible government. In honor of his heritage, he took his oath of office on the Mendi Bible, which was given to then-Congressman John Quincy Adams by the freed American slaves from the ship La Amistad. A series of regional inaugural balls, seven in total, were held to bring the inauguration to the citizens of the Commonwealth. The celebrations took place in Cape Cod, Worcester, Dartmouth, Pittsfield, Springfield, and Boston.
Patrick crafted and signed a bill that allows for the construction and operation of three resort-style casinos in the state. He argued that these casinos would generate over $2 billion for the state economy. He also touted that the casinos would create 30,000 construction jobs and 20,000 permanent jobs. Patrick proposed that the revenue generated would be spent to beef up local law enforcement, create a state gambling regulatory agency, repair roads and bridges, gambling addiction treatment and the remainder would go towards property tax relief.
Patrick’s casino plan had faced strong opposition from Salvatore DiMasi, the former Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives. DiMasi questioned Patrick’s projections of new jobs, revenues to be generated and he was opposed to what he referred to as a casino culture, saying: “Do we want to usher in a casino culture– with rampant bankruptcies, crime and social ills– or do we want to create a better Massachusetts for all sectors of the society?” Casino gaming lobbying in Massachusetts has also received scrutiny for associations with the Jack Abramoff Indian lobbying scandal and efforts by the Mashpee Wampanoag people to secure rights to a casino outside of the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. In 2009, Governor Deval Patrick was among the top campaign contribution recipients from casino lobbying interests, and from financiers backing the Wampanoag casino interests.
On March 20, 2008, the Massachusetts House of Representatives rejected Patrick’s casino bill by a vote of 108 to 46. Despite the overwhelming vote, questions were raised by critics of DiMasi as to the tactics he used to win. These included allegations that he promised a subsequent vote on a bill that would allow slot machines at the state’s four racetracks and the pre-vote promotions of six lawmakers who had been thought to support the bill, but either abstained or voted against the bill. DiMasi denied that any promise had been made on the race track bill and denied that the promotions were connected to the casino bill vote.
Patrick’s conduct was also criticized and his commitment to the bill questioned when it was revealed that he was not in the state on the day the bill was voted on in the legislature. As the bill was being voted down, Patrick was in New York City on personal business, finalizing a $1.35 million deal with Broadway Books, an imprint of Random House, to publish his autobiography.
By mid-2010, the house and senate passed a bill with plans for three resort-style casinos and two slot parlors. However, Patrick vetoed it as he previously stated that he would only accept one slot parlor. When the 2011 casino legislation was still in debate, an investigative report in The Boston Globe revealed the governor violated his self-imposed policy of not accepting money from or meeting with lobbyists for the gambling industry by accepting more than $6,000 in campaign contributions and meeting with and attending fundraisers hosted by gaming lobbyists.
Patrick signed the legislation into law in December 2011. Its implementation, however, has seen hurdles and delays. The Governor’s point man on crafting gaming legislation and negotiating a state compact with the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, Assistant Secretary for Policy & Economic Development Carl Stanley McGee, was forced to resign from his appointment to direct the newly formed Massachusetts Gaming Commission following reports of 2007 charges that he molested a child in Florida. Stan McGee was forced to return to his economic development post where he still oversees casino policies for the Governor. The scandal resulted in the Massachusetts legislature passing a bill and overriding a veto by Governor Patrick requiring background checks on casino regulators.
In June 2014, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled that a referendum to repeal legislation permitting casino gambling could appear on the November ballot, throwing the prospects of the casino legislation into question.
In 2010, Patrick pushed for legislation to limit the purchase of firearms, citing a series of gun violence incidents and violent crime in Boston. In 2011, Patrick proposed new legislation that would require more stringent regulations on firearms. During an event surrounding the announcement, Patrick said one of his main goals was to “stop children from killing children.” Patrick also reported that he would ask for $10 million in private and public funding to help “fill the gaps.” Reacting to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, in 2013 Patrick proposed stricter gun control laws, including a limit of one firearm purchase a month and closing the gun show loophole.
Throughout his term in office, Patrick has made achieving “world-class public education” a main priority of his administration. Patrick also committed a historic amount of public funds to Massachusetts schools, introduced legislation to tackle a persistent education gap among minority students, and won the national Race to the Top competition. Patrick now supports a doubling of the number of charter schools in Massachusetts. In his first year in office, Patrick proposed making community college free to all Massachusetts high school graduates.