Grassroots Democratic candidate for Governor visits Cape Cod
Special to cctoday by Steven Leibowitz
Deval Patrick spoke before 100 enthusiastic supporters in Eastham yesterday, the second of four appearances the campaign made on Cape Cod. Emphasizing points from his recently released plans on economic growth, education and universal health care, Patrick seeks to differentiate himself from both his Democratic and Republican challengers with his message of hope and engagement with the voters.
Drawing upon his own personal story of success in escaping the poverty of the South Side of Chicago, Patrick emphasized that his service is a continuation of that journey. As people had faith in him, Patrick looks at the corner office as the means to provide hope and opportunity to the people of Massachusetts. Beyond specific programs, Patrick spoke at length about the need to turn around the cynicism people have toward government, criticizing the lack of leadership and level of discourse seen today. The victims of Katrina, Patrick said, were abandoned by their government long before the hurricane.
Massachusetts 47th in education spending
Acknowledging that while Massachusetts has made some strides in education reform, Patrick vowed to improve funding for public higher education in Massachusetts. Massachusetts is currently 47th in the nation in spending for higher education. He sees this as crucial element in growing the economy and placing Massachusetts in a leadership position for developing new technologies. He reminded the crowd that even Mississippi spends more per pupil.
Patrick has also called universal health care for Massachusetts both a basic human right and crucial to the economic health of the state. With an estimated half million residents without health insurance, and inefficiencies in how health care is administered, Patrick supports the Health Access and Affordability Act under consideration by the state legislature.
Affordable housing, jobs & the wind farm
Much of the session was spent in a lively question and answer with those in the room. Patrick discussed affordable housing at length with local activist, Gwen Pelletier. While not claiming to have a "silver bullet" on affordable housing, Patrick emphasized the need to remove some of the administrative obstacles to development. A follow up question spoke to the difficulty of finding a jobs on Cape Cod that paid enough to afford the average home here. There was little controversy behind Patrick's announced support of Cape Wind.
One questioner asked that she offer a "friendly amendment", wanting to see state and federal regulations in place before proceeding. Patrick responded that he agreed with the need, but felt that this could be done concurrently. He sees alternative energy development as one of the industries he would like to see Massachusetts take a leadership role. No one reminded the questioners that Patrick had recently got Cape Wind to agree to a freeze on rates for Cape Codders once the project goes online.
Patrick spent the entire day on Cape Cod, fundraising and meeting voters. He first appeared in Provincetown and continuing on to events in Marston Mills and Falmouth. The campaign is moving to increase visibility with the recent release of Patrick's economic, education and health care programs, in conjunction with numerous public and media appearances.