Washington Week

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Fmr. Gov. Deval Patrick: 7 things you need to know

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By Roey Hadar

Production Associate

Former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick announced November 14 that he will run for president, bringing the Democratic field to 18 candidates.

The 63-year-old, who has worked in private equity since his tenure as governor ended in 2015, said he hopes to focus his candidacy on people who "feel left out."

Here are seven things you need to know about Patrick.

  • Patrick is hoping to unite liberal and moderate voters. In the weeks leading up to his announcement, Patrick told fellow Democrats he did not think any candidate has momentum in the race and that there was an opening for a candidate to bridge the gap between liberals and moderates, according to The New York Times. He has said he supports a public healthcare plan instead of Medicare for All and wants to simplify the tax system and raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans.
  • As governor, he oversaw Massachusetts’ implementation of its healthcare exchange, a predecessor to the Affordable Care Act. The reforms, signed into law shortly before Patrick came into office by his Republican predecessor Mitt Romney, set up one of the nation’s first insurance exchanges. The program had some hurdles due to rising costs, but Patrick signed legislation in his second term aimed at keeping costs in check.
  • Patrick worked as a civil rights lawyer and served in the Justice Department under President Bill Clinton. After graduating from Harvard Law School, Patrick worked at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund on civil rights cases and spent nearly three years as the Assistant Attorney General for the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division. Patrick’s team led an investigation into arson cases at predominantly black churches that at the time was the largest federal investigation in history.
  • Patrick signed legislation on several progressive issues during his time as governor. In 2014, Patrick signed bills that raised the commonwealth’s minimum wage to $11 as of 2017 and a gun reform package that strengthened background checks for gun purchases and allowed for harsher punishments for gun crimes.
  • He has been the subject of presidential, Cabinet and Supreme Court speculation. Ahead of the end of his term as governor, Patrick declined to run for president in 2016 and was floated as a candidate to succeed Attorney General Eric Holder. Before President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland to fill a Supreme Court seat after Antonin Scalia’s 2016 death, Patrick was mentioned as a potential nominee.
  • Before and after his time as governor, he worked in the private sector. Patrick has spent the last several years working as a managing director at Bain Capital, the same private equity firm where Romney worked before entering politics. After leaving the Justice Department, Patrick worked as general counsel at oil giant Texaco, helping plan their merger with Chevron.
  • He grew up in housing projects on the South Side of Chicago. He grew up going to public schools, crediting teachers and members of his family and community with helping him focus on academics and win a scholarship to a prestigious New England boarding school.