Patrick for governor

Tuesday, October 31
It would seem self-evident that political campaigns should be run on the issues, but even when they are not, as has essentially been the case with the state's gubernatorial campaign, voters can still learn a lot about the candidates. Republican Kerry Healey has run the vilest smear campaign in recent memory in Massachusetts, and it tells us much about the kind of governor she would be. Democrat Deval Patrick has withstood savage attacks upon his integrity without responding in kind, which speaks volumes about the kind of strong, positive governor we believe he will be. The Eagle is pleased to endorse Deval Patrick for governor of Massachusetts.

In endorsing Mr. Patrick in the Democratic primary, we expressed our happiness with a candidate who spoke to the better instincts of people, casting aside the usual politics of divisiveness and negativity in favor of hope and optimism. After watching the classy manner in which he handled himself in the face of the outrageous attack ads of the Healey campaign, we are even more convinced that Mr. Patrick's hopeful, positive nature is deep-rooted, and not the product of a campaign strategy session.

In endorsing Mr. Patrick, we also expressed hope that some of his positions would be more fully fleshed out, and we are only partially satisfied. When Ms. Healey chose to base her campaign on Mr. Patrick's character, in particular his supposed affinity for cop-killers and rapists, she made her own character the issue, and the campaign rarely progressed past that point. Still, we believe Berkshires voters know enough to conclude that Mr. Patrick will do far better by the towns and cities of the Berkshires than has Governor Romney or will Lieutenant Governor Healey.

Mr. Patrick has emphasized education, and we believe he will be the advocate for funding for state and community colleges that Mr. Romney has not been. We support his plan to reassess the Chapter 70 funding formula to assure public schools have adequate resources. While Mr. Romney reneged on joining the effort of New England states to reduce industrial pollution when he decided to run for governor, we are sure Mr. Patrick will re-enlist Massachusetts in that effort.

Mr. Patrick is supposedly soft on crime, but we like his proposals to encourage better cooperation between state enforcement agencies and local district attorneys and police departments. It is significant that the state police, after first declaring they would be neutral, endorsed Mr. Patrick after meeting him. That speaks not only to the candidate's ideas but his willingness to listen to others.

Because Mr. Patrick is neither a Beacon Hill insider, nor a traditional politician, we do not fear that Boston will become the sewer of selfishness and polarization that is Washington under one-party leadership. We believe he will challenge the Legislature when necessary and work with it when called upon, ending the political gamesmanship of the past 16 years.

Mr. Patrick brings to the job valuable experience in the public sector as chief of the civil rights division in the U.S. Justice Department and in the private sector as a lawyer for Texaco and Coca-Cola. He grew up poor in Chicago, which enables him to sympathize with those living in poverty, and has encouraged him to become an advocate for the educational programs that helped him escape poverty and build a successful career.

From the Berkshires' perspective, it is significant that Mr. Patrick is building a home in Richmond. Even as a part-time resident he will see the Berkshires' unique strengths and weaknesses up close and we hope will be an advocate for the region on Beacon Hill.

The politics of fear and smear have worked in many states, but we believe Massachusetts will be wise enough to reject that strategy, and its practitioner, Kerry Healey, on November 7. Mr. Patrick, in contrast, will respect those whose opinions are different than his and seek to find consensus, thereby building a better Massachusetts for all of its residents. Massachusetts has rarely been offered such a stark choice in its candidates for governor. The obvious choice is Deval Patrick.


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