A Look Back at Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s Time in Office

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick's final full day in office is Wednesday, and as his administration and elected officials bid him farewell, it's time to take a look back at his time in office.

NECN did the first interview with Deval Patrick as he was considering a run for Governor nine years ago. Patrick was unknown on the political scene, so he was nervous on that day back in 2005 as I asked him why he was waiting to make his candidacy official.

"I'm asking myself the question, not the question whether we need change, of that I'm sure. I'm asking whether I can be that agent of change," he said.

A quick study, Patrick worked through the nerves, and proved to be a gifted speaker as he went on to win the 2006 election in a landslide pushing a progressive, grassroots agenda. But the learning curve was tougher for Patrick when it came to mastering the art of politics on Beacon Hill.

Patrick's first 100 days in office are often remembered for two words: the curtains and the Cadillac.

Patrick was harshly criticized when he replaced the old Crown Victoria Governor Romney used with a Cadillac, and for purchasing $10,000 worth in curtains for his office. I asked the Governor how he looks back on that.

"I get teased about it," he said. "The idea of getting a car that most other governor's drive is not inappropriate. But it takes some explaining, not be defensive about it. It wasn't like that then."

Traveling around the state with Patrick those first 100 days, the subject of a 2006 NECN documentary, Patrick didn't hide his discomfort with talking to the media pack.

"I don't like just standing in front of cameras talking to people. I just don't like it. I just don't feel like I'm actually communicating with people," Patrick said.

Eight years later, he says it still hasn't become old hat, adding, "I still stink at sound bites. I don't mind the tough questions. I wish there was a way to engage within the bounds of some basic manners. I mean, I've done a lot of cross examinations in my career. I don't remember having to treat anyone rudely in order to get to my point."

Supporters say it is vintage Patrick - unfailingly polite and respectful, the kind of leader they feel is desperately needed on the national stage these days as they hope to support Patrick for public office again some day.  

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