After Late Campaign Start, Deval Patrick Lays Out Policy Vision

The former Massachusetts governor has offered an 11-page proposal outlining four themes under the titles opportunity, reform, democracy and leadership

Deval Patrick 12062018
NBC10 Boston, File

Democratic presidential candidate Deval Patrick has outlined a broad policy agenda for his 2020 campaign. And he's jabbing at his progressive rivals for proposals that he considers too ideologically inflexible.

The former Massachusetts governor is advocating for what he calls "leadership that builds bridges."

It's a shot at the progressive candidates in a race who've argued for a wholesale, systemic overhaul rather than incremental changes. But while Patrick lays out his position on a handful of hot-button issues, his 11-page proposal offers few specifics on policy.

It's been a little over a month since former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick announced his bid for the White House, but there hasn't been much talk about him nationally.

He says voters care less about “policy abstractions” and more about “where policy touches people.”

"My platform recognizes that real people don't live their lives in policy silos, but rather at the intersection of a number of policy and personal choices." Patrick said in a statement. "I developed these agendas based on my own lived experience as a kid on the Southside of Chicago, as a civil rights lawyer, a private citizen working in business, and as Governor driving change at the level where policy impacts people."

Under the "Opportunity Agenda," Patrick says he will grow the economy while creating better jobs. He also wants to create wealth for the country while reducing the national debt.

The "Reform Agenda" would fix major issues in the country, like health care, immigration, criminal justice and tax systems, according to Patrick's proposal.

Under Patrick's "Democracy Agenda," he wants all Americans to be served, not just the "powerful and well-connected," by expanding access to voting.

The "Leadership Agenda" aims to rebuild the country's power and influence in the world.

Patrick also expresses support for eliminating the Electoral College and backs a universal national service program — proposals that, early on, helped South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg's campaign stand out. Patrick proposes allowing individuals to receive free tuition and fees at a public college or university for every year they serve.

Former Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts has filed for the primary in New Hampshire as he seeks the Democratic presidential nomination.

On health care, Patrick express support for providing a public option within the Obama-era health law, "one that is free to some and low cost to others, and that could even be modeled on Medicare.”

His education proposals include free schooling from prekindergarten to community college, or the first two years of a four-year college, and allowing people to refinance their student loan debt.

Patrick, who was scheduled to take part in a roundtable discussion Thursday afternoon in Manchester, New Hampshire, plans to hold four events across the country beginning in January. Those four events in Iowa, South Carolina, Chicago and New York will focus on each of the four agendas mentioned in his proposal.

On some issues, such as taxes, he’s among the more conservative in the field.

Who’s Running for President in 2020?

The field of Democratic 2020 presidential candidates is packed, though some have already dropped out. Those still in the race include a former vice president, senators, businessmen, House members, a former governor and a mayor. As for the GOP, a former governor and former congressman are vying to challenge President Trump.

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Updated Nov. 20, 2019
Note: Incorrect information about Michael Bennet’s cancer diagnosis and titles for Joe Sestak and William Weld have been revised on July 29, 2019, 3:17 p.m. ET.
Credit: Jo Bruni, Emma Barnett, Asher Klein, Dan Macht, Kelly Zegers / NBC;  Photos: Getty Images

Patrick expresses support for raising the corporate tax rate to 25%, a stand that aligns him with Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar but puts him behind former Vice President Joe Biden.

On other topics, including criminal justice and gun control, Patrick aligns with party orthodoxy. He proposes ending private prisons, decriminalizing marijuana, putting in place background checks, enacting a ban on assault weapons and approving a voluntary buyback program.

On immigration, he expresses support for providing a legal pathway to citizenship for young immigrants living in the country illegally who were brought here as children and for others in the United States without legal status. He does not want to eliminate U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as some of his rivals have suggested, but would “overhaul” the agency.

One of the central issues in the campaign is climate change, but Patrick offers few details. He says only that “developing solar, wind and other generation alternatives, as well as ever better strategies for energy efficiency, is essential to moving quickly to a carbon-free future.”

Patrick entered the primary in early November, long after his opponents had released detailed policy proposals, He has spent the past month building campaign staff and raising money. With about six weeks to go until the New Hampshire primary, where Patrick hopes for a strong showing, he faces a truncated window to catch up on policy and to get his name out to voters.

Associated Press/NBC
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