kids encyclopedia robot

Deval Patrick facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Deval Patrick
Deval Patrick official photo (cropped).jpg
71st Governor of Massachusetts
In office
January 4, 2007 – January 8, 2015
Lieutenant Tim Murray
Preceded by Mitt Romney
Succeeded by Charlie Baker
United States Assistant Attorney General
for the Civil Rights Division
In office
April 22, 1994 – January 20, 1997
President Bill Clinton
Preceded by John R. Dunne
Succeeded by Bill Lann Lee
Personal details
Deval Laurdine Patrick

(1956-07-31) July 31, 1956 (age 66)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Political party Democratic
(m. 1984)
Children 2
Education Harvard University (AB, JD)

Deval Laurdine Patrick (born July 31, 1956) is an American politician, civil rights lawyer, author, and businessman who served as the 71st governor of Massachusetts from 2007 to 2015. He was first elected in 2006, succeeding Mitt Romney, who chose not to run for reelection to focus on his 2008 presidential campaign. He was reelected in 2010. He was the first African-American Governor of Massachusetts and the first Democratic Governor of the state in 16 years since Michael Dukakis left office in 1991. Patrick served from 1994 to 1997 as the United States Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division under President Bill Clinton. He was briefly a candidate for President of the United States in the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

Raised largely by a single mother on the South Side of Chicago, Patrick earned a scholarship to Milton Academy in Milton, Massachusetts in the eighth grade. He went on to attend Harvard College and Harvard Law School. After graduating, he practiced law with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and later joined a Boston law firm, where he was named a partner at age 34. In 1994, Bill Clinton appointed him as the United States assistant attorney general for the civil rights division of the United States Department of Justice, where he worked on issues including racial profiling and police misconduct.

During his governorship, Patrick oversaw the implementation of the state's 2006 health care reform program which had been enacted under Mitt Romney, increased funding to education and life sciences, won a federal Race to the Top education grant, passed an overhaul of governance of the state transportation function, signing a law to create the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, increased the state sales tax from 5% to 6.25%, raised the state's minimum wage from $8 per hour to $11 by 2017, and planned the introduction of casinos to the state. Under Patrick, Massachusetts joined the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Shortly after Patrick's second term began on January 6, 2011, he declared he would not seek re-election in 2014.

Patrick is a managing director at Bain Capital and serves as the chairman of the board for Our Generation Speaks, a fellowship program and startup incubator whose mission is to bring together young Israeli and Palestinian leaders through entrepreneurship. He also holds a Board of Directors position at telehealth company American Well.

Members of his own inner circle and Barack Obama's inner circle encouraged Patrick to run for president in 2020, but Patrick ruled out a 2020 presidential bid in December 2018. In November 2019, however, uneasy about the existing field of Democratic candidates, Patrick was reported to have called a few leading Democrats and allies to say that he would soon announce a 2020 presidential bid. He formally entered the race on November 14, 2019. He ended his campaign on February 12, 2020, following a very poor showing in the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary.

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 is the son of Emily Mae (née Wintersmith) and Pat Patrick, a jazz musician associated with Sun Ra. 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 Kentucky.

Deval Patrick with Elena Kagan at HLS cropped
Patrick with future Supreme Court associate justice Elena Kagan at the 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 degree, cum laude, in English and American literature, in 1978. At Harvard, Patrick won "Best Oralist" in the Ames Moot Court Competition, in 1981.

Patrick graduated from Harvard Law School with a J.D., 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 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.

Professional career

Clinton administration

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.

Law career

In 1997, Patrick returned to Boston to join the firm of Day, Berry & Howard (later called Day Pitney LLP), 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.

Business career

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 Coca-Cola Company. Patrick pushed for a thorough review of allegations that some workers at bottlers of Coke products in Colombia had been abused 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 equity firm Bain Capital in 2015, where he is currently acting as a Managing Director.

Gubernatorial campaigns

2006 election

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 Lieutenant 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".

Patrick won the general election with 55% of the vote, becoming the first Democratic governor of Massachusetts since Michael Dukakis left office in 1991, and the state's first African American governor.

2010 election

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 number of signatures needed to run.

Patrick bucked the national trend in the mid-term election, defeating Republican challenger Charlie Baker with 48.4% of the vote. Baker received 42.0% and Tim Cahill, a former Democratic state treasurer running as an independent, took 8.0%. Nationally, Republicans gained a net of 63 seats to take control of the House, but remained a minority in the Senate despite gaining 6 seats.

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.

Doing 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.

Casino gaming

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, and that 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 and revenues to be generated.

On March 20, 2008, the Massachusetts House of Representatives rejected Patrick's casino bill by a vote of 108 to 46.

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. 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 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.

Gun control

In 2010, Patrick pushed for legislation to limit the purchase of firearms.


Throughout his term in office, Patrick 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.

On August 7, 2008, Patrick signed a $2.2 billion higher education bond bill with $1 billion directed towards the University of Massachusetts system and $1.2 billion to the state universities and community colleges. $100 million was directed towards the construction of the integrated sciences complex at the University of Massachusetts Boston and a second $100 million directed towards constructing a general academic building. On October 23, 2014, Patrick spoke at the university in celebration of the science complex that would be completed the following January. On June 4, 2015, the university honored Patrick at the university's Golden Gala at the Boston Seaport World Trade Center and Patrick would return to the campus out of office on May 4, 2016 to meet with students from the university's new School for Global Inclusion and Social Development.

Same-sex marriage

As of 2005, Patrick favored the legalization of same-sex marriage because of the fundamental principle that "citizens come before their government as equals". He worked with the state legislature to prevent a ballot measure eliminating same-sex marriage in Massachusetts, which protected the state's first-in-the-nation same-sex marriage allowance.

Energy policy

Patrick proposed a bill that would streamline Massachusetts' permit appeals process for wind energy projects. The Wind Energy Siting Reform bill would reduce the permitting process to nine to 19 months.

Patrick made expanding renewable energy a focus of his second term, but faced a setback when lawmakers failed to raise caps on solar generation in Massachusetts and to expand the amount of hydropower purchased by utility companies from Canada.


The legislatively chartered Transportation Finance Commission (TFC) reported in 2007 that over the next 20 years there would be $15–$19 billion gap between revenues and necessary expenditures, just to maintain the existing transportation system in Massachusetts. The Commission identified several reforms and revenue options to close the gap. The Patrick administration lobbied for and passed a major transportation reform bill, which incorporated many of the TFC-recommended reforms, and which created the Massachusetts Department of Transportation by merging smaller transportation agencies.

Patrick proposed raising the state gas tax by 19¢ per gallon to forestall Massachusetts Turnpike toll and MBTA fare increases, fully fund Regional Transit Authority and Turnpike operations, and address part of the capital shortfall identified by the TFC, but this was defeated in the state legislature. Instead, a sales tax increase of 1.25% was passed, with part of that dedicated to transportation. This was enough to prevent the short-term toll and fare increases, but did not address the long-term funding gap. Patrick has been a supporter of the South Coast Rail Link project.


In response to the influx of children from Central America crossing the US border in the summer of 2014, Patrick proposed taking 1,000 migrants to be housed at various sites in Massachusetts, until they can be processed at immigration centers.

Senate appointments

Top: Paul G. Kirk (D), Patrick's first Senate appointment.
Bottom: Mo Cowan (D), Patrick's second Senate appointment.

On September 24, 2009, Patrick appointed Paul G. Kirk as the interim U.S. senator in the wake of Ted Kennedy's death.

On January 30, 2013, Patrick chose his former chief-of-staff Mo Cowan to serve as interim U.S. senator until a special election to fill the seat left vacant by Secretary of State designate John Kerry.


On August 4, 2010, Patrick signed into law a bill adjoining Massachusetts to the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.


The Patrick Cabinet
Office Name Term
Governor Deval Patrick 2007–2015
Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray 2007–2013
Secretaries of Executive Departments
Health and Human Services JudyAnn Bigby 2007–2013
  John Polanowicz 2013–2015
Energy and Environmental Affairs Ian Bowles 2007–2011
  Rick Sullivan 2011–2014
  Maeve Bartlett 2014–2015
Public Safety Kevin M. Burke 2007–2010
  Mary Elizabeth Heffernan 2010–2013
  Andrea Cabral 2013–2015
Labor and Workforce Development Suzanne Bump 2007–2010
  Joanne F. Goldstein 2010–2014
  Rachel Kaprielian 2014–2015
Transportation and Public Works (until 2009) Bernard Cohen 2007–2009
  Jim Aloisi 2009
Department of Transportation (from 2009) Jeffrey B. Mullan 2009–2011
  Richard A. Davey 2011–2015
Administration and Finance Leslie Kirwan 2007–2009
  Jay Gonzalez 2009–2012
  Glen Shor 2013–2015
Education (created in 2008) Paul Reville 2008–2013
  Matthew Malone 2013–2015
Housing and Economic Development Dan O'Connell 2007–2009
  Greg Bialecki 2009–2015
Elder Affairs Jennifer Davis Carey 2007
  Michael E. Festa 2007–2009
  Ann L. Hartstein 2009–2015
Veterans' Services Thomas G. Kelley 2007–2011
  Coleman Nee 2011–2015
Special Advisors
Education Dana Mohler-Faria 2007–2008

Post-gubernatorial political activity

Chicago Police Accountability Task Force Meeting -3 (24616328174)
Patrick at a public meeting for the Chicago Police Accountability Task Force on February 23, 2016

Patrick joined the board of Our Generation Speaks.

He served as senior advisor to the Chicago Police Accountability Task Force.

Patrick was involved in the Boston 2024 organization, which was in charge of Boston's bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics.

Potential 2016 presidential candidacy

Following Patrick's speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, a reporter asked if Patrick was interested in a 2016 presidential bid. He responded that he intended to return to the private sector after completing his second term as governor. In July 2013, Patrick unequivocally ruled out a 2016 presidential bid.

2020 presidential campaign

On February 28, 2018, in response to reports that David Axelrod and Valerie Jarrett wanted him to run for president, Patrick stated on public radio that it was "on my radar screen". On December 6, 2018, Patrick formally stated via Facebook that he would not be running for president in 2020, writing, "I’ve been overwhelmed by advice and encouragement from people from all over the country, known and unknown. Humbled, in fact. But knowing that the cruelty of our elections process would ultimately splash back on people whom Diane and I love, but who hadn’t signed up for the journey, was more than I could ask."

On November 11, 2019, however, The New York Times reported that Patrick was considering making a late entry into the presidential race. Two days later, it was reported that Patrick would file to run, beginning with New Hampshire. The next day, on November 14, Patrick officially announced that he would enter the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries. His campaign manager was Abe Rakov.

Patrick's second scheduled public event since announcing his candidacy, a speech at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia on November 20, 2019, was cancelled when only two people showed up. The event, however, was scheduled with only twenty-four hours notice, and preceded the Democratic presidential primary debate that same night and only a few miles away.

Deval Patrick's first campaign ads started January 8 in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina. He spent $100,000 in ads in New Hampshire and $60,000 in South Carolina. Despite a 29% approval rating in New Hampshire, he enjoyed support from only 1% of voters, according to a WBUR-FM poll; a November Quinnipiac poll in South Carolina produced similar results. Morning Consult reported that 46% of Democratic primary voters have never heard of him.

Following a poor showing in the New Hampshire primary on February 12, 2020, Patrick suspended his campaign.

Future of Tech Commission

Patrick launched the Future of Tech Commission with Common Sense Media founder Jim Steyer and former Education Secretary Margaret Spellings in April 2021. As co-chairs, this commission will compile solutions for a comprehensive tech policy agenda under President Biden and Congress on topics as privacy, antitrust, digital dequity, and content moderation/platform accountability.

Obama association

Deval Patrick DNC 2008
Patrick speaking at the 2008 Democratic National Convention

During the 2008 Democratic primaries, Patrick came to the defense of presidential candidate Barack Obama following plagiarism allegations that key phrases from an Obama stump speech were very similar to words used during Patrick's own 2006 gubernatorial run. The claims were largely dismissed after Patrick explained that he had encouraged their use.

After Obama's 2008 election as president, speculation arose that Patrick would be chosen by Obama to serve as United States Attorney General, but the post ultimately went to Eric Holder.

During the 2012 presidential election, Patrick served as a surrogate for the Obama campaign. Patrick generated controversy when he took a position that directly opposed that of the campaign, defending the business practices of the Boston-based private equity firm Bain Capital, which was founded by Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee.

Following the 2012 presidential election, Patrick was considered to be a potential successor to Holder, although Patrick had said he would not consider any other position as long as he remained governor. Speculation grew once again in September 2014, when Holder announced his intention to step down. The position was subsequently given to Loretta Lynch.

In March 2016, Patrick was named by USA Today as a possible Obama nominee to fill the U.S. Supreme Court associate justice seat, vacated by the February 2016 death of Antonin Scalia.

Electoral history

Democratic gubernatorial primary 2006
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Deval Patrick 452,229 49.57%
Democratic Chris Gabrieli 248,301 27.22%
Democratic Tom Reilly 211,031 23.13%
Massachusetts Gubernatorial Election 2006
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Deval Patrick 1,234,984 55.6 +10.66
Republican Kerry Healey 784,342 35.3 -14.47
Independent Christy Mihos 154,628 6.9 +6.2
Massachusetts Gubernatorial Election 2010
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Deval Patrick 1,112,283 48.42 –7.21
Republican Charlie Baker 964,866 42.00 +6.67
Independent Tim Cahill 184,395 8.03 +1.06

Personal life

Patrick and his wife, Diane Patrick, a lawyer specializing in labor and employment law, married in 1984. They have lived in Milton, Massachusetts since 1989 and have two daughters, Sarah and Katherine. In September 2011, his daughter Sarah married Marco Morgese, a former Italian soldier. On May 20, 2013, Patrick became a grandfather when Sarah gave birth to a son, Gianluca Noah Patrick Morgese.

In addition to his Milton home, Patrick and his family own a home in Richmond, Massachusetts. In 2013, Illinois governor Pat Quinn renamed a part of Wabash Avenue in Chicago, where Patrick grew up, "Deval Patrick Way" in Patrick's honor. On May 28, 2015, Patrick was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws by Harvard University.

See also

  • Barack Obama Supreme Court candidates
Women's History Month on Kiddle
Women Scientists of Antiquity
Mary the Jewess
kids search engine
Deval Patrick Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.