Governor Deval Patrick was elected in November of 2006, bringing a broad range of leadership experience at the top levels of business, government, and non-profits. Hoping for the best and working for it, as his grandmother used to counsel him, his life has traced a trajectory from the South Side of Chicago to the U.S. Justice Department, Fortune 500 boardrooms, and then the Massachusetts State House.
Over the course of his first term, Governor Patrick worked with the Legislature to preserve marriage equality, position Massachusetts as a global leader in clean energy, and pass a 10-year, $1 billion package to promote the state's life sciences industry. He took on reforms that have been talked about for decades, such as replacing costly police details with civilian flaggers at state construction sites, introducing competition to the state’s auto insurance market, and eliminating the Turnpike Authority.
Governor Patrick also signed into law four major reform bills, including education reform to improve public schools and close the achievement gap, pension reform that eliminates the most egregious abuses and special perks from the state’s pension system, transportation reform to streamline our transportation bureaucracy and save millions, and the most sweeping ethics, lobbying, and campaign finance reforms in years.
These reforms will help change the status quo and restore the public’s trust in government. Additionally, the former Governor worked to address an unprecedented global economic collapse through responsible management of the state budget, difficult choices, and a continued commitment to investing in key areas that will create jobs, improve infrastructure and strengthen the Commonwealth for the long term.
Patrick came to Massachusetts in 1970 at the age of 14. An excellent student despite the difficult circumstances of poor and sometimes violent Chicago schools, he was awarded a scholarship to Milton Academy through A Better Chance, a Boston-based organization.
After graduating from Milton, Patrick went on to Harvard, the first in his family to attend college. He received his degree, with honors, in 1978 and spent a post-graduate year working on a United Nations youth training project in the Darfur region of Sudan. He returned to Cambridge to attend Harvard Law School in the fall of 1979, where he led the Legal Aid Bureau, the nation's oldest student-run legal services organization, and won the Ames Moot Court competition.
Following law school, Patrick served as a law clerk to a federal appellate judge before joining the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. In 1986, he joined the Boston law firm of Hill & Barlow and was named partner in 1990, at the age of 34.
In 1994, President Clinton appointed Patrick Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, the nation's top civil rights post. At the Justice Department, Patrick worked on a wide range of issues, including prosecution of hate crimes and abortion clinic violence, and enforcement of employment discrimination, fair lending and disabilities rights laws. During his tenure, Patrick led the largest federal criminal investigation before September 11th, coordinating state, local and federal agencies to investigate church burnings throughout the South in the mid-1990s.
Patrick returned to private practice in 1997 with the Boston firm of Day, Berry & Howard. That same year, he was appointed by a federal district court to serve as the first chairperson of Texaco's Equality and Fairness Task Force. 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. Patrick was hired by Texaco in 1999 to serve as Vice President and General Counsel leading the company's global legal affairs.
In 2001, Patrick joined The Coca-Cola Company as Executive Vice President and General Counsel. He was elected to the additional role of Corporate Secretary in 2002, and served as part of the company's senior leadership team as a member of the Executive Committee.
Patrick has served on numerous charitable and corporate boards, as well as the Federal Election Reform Commission under Presidents Carter and Ford, and as Vice Chair of the Massachusetts Judicial Nominating Council by appointment of Governor Weld. He is the recipient of numerous awards and honorary degrees, and is a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute.
Diane and Deval Patrick have been married for more than twenty-five years and have two adult daughters, Sarah and Katherine. The Patrick family has lived in Milton, in a house on Deval's high school paper route, for the last 20 years.