Some support from the Berkshires as Deval Patrick considers presidential run
Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, a Democrat, is weighing a jump into the 2020 presidential election ring, he told a Kansas City, Mo., public radio station last week.
"It's on my radar screen," Patrick told KCUR, while there for his event titled "An Evening with Deval Patrick: Reinvesting in America."
Patrick's adviser, Doug Rubin, told The Eagle that Patrick isn't commenting any further on the possibility.
But his remarks last week stirred interest.
"I am trying to think through 2020," Patrick told KCUR. "And that's a decision I'm trying to think through from a personal and family point of view, and also whether what I believe is going to be on offer by somebody. And if it's on offer by somebody, then maybe what I can do is help that person. But we'll see."
Patrick, 61, served two terms as governor from 2007 to 2015, and was the first African-American to hold that office. Afterward, he went to work at Bain Capital, where he is managing director of a fund that invests in companies with a social mission.
In the Berkshires, he's right at home, with his love of the arts, farm-to-table food, beekeeping, cider doughnuts from Bartlett's Orchards, and padding around the house in jeans and bare feet.
"He put the Berkshires on the map," said Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli, D-Lenox.
Pignatelli said Patrick in the White House would be a good thing, based on his experience working with the governor for eight years.
"He brings a level of positive energy into the conversation, and that has not been found in Washington in the last year-and-a-half — he's someone who will bring us together, rather than divide us."
Pignatelli said he joked with Patrick last week when he saw him.
"I told him I was flattered to be asked to be his running mate, but I didn't think it would play well. As my constituent, he's been a joy to represent."
Great Barrington Select Board member Sean Stanton has met Patrick on many occasions, either at Town Hall, or when Stanton, a farmer, went to Boston to lobby about agricultural issues.
"He's a wonderful human being," Stanton said. "And I think if it's something he wants to do, I would support that. I think it would be great to have the integrity and honesty and positive outlook that he brings."
Patrick is being encouraged to run by political insiders like David Axelrod, strategist to former President Barack Obama.
In his most recent comments, Patrick told The Kansas City Star that Democratic voters hadn't been engaged properly in the last presidential election.
When asked about firearms, he said the survivors of the Parkland, Fla., school shootings are courageous and "inspiring," and yet he understands both sides of the gun control debate.
He said the Second Amendment is worth respecting, but that he had a hard time seeing why regular citizens should have military-style weapons.
He called out the quick leaps into rhetoric.
"Both sides are cartoons, in ways — they go right to their arguments."
Of this sort of entrenchment in a climate of incivility in the political sphere, or even among friends and family, Patrick said it was important to "model an alternative."
But he also said a heated atmosphere amid critical issues shouldn't necessarily be cooled.
"I think we need a good fight."
Heather Bellow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @BE_hbellow and 413-329-6871.
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