Deval Patrick biography
Deval Patrick was born on July 31, 1956, in Chicago, Illinois. He attended Harvard College and Harvard Law School, and was later appointed assistant attorney general of civil rights by President Bill Clinton. In 2006, Patrick was elected on the Democratic ticket to the Massachusetts governorship, becoming the first African American to hold the position. He was re-elected in 2010.
Early Life and Education
Deval Laurdine Patrick was born on July 31, 1956, in Chicago, Illinois. His father left the family when Patrick was a child, leaving his mother and grandmother to raise him and his sister in dire financial straits. Patrick was an excellent student and earned a scholarship to attend the prep school Milton Academy in Massachusetts. Despite cultural adjustments and facing racism, Patrick persevered and was accepted into Harvard, focusing on literature and going on to graduate cum laude in 1978.
After receiving a Rockefeller Scholarship, he traveled to Africa before returning to the states to attend Harvard Law School, graduating with honors in 1982. He married Diane Bemus two years later, and the couple would go on to have two daughters.
Asst. Attorney General
Deval Patrick earned a federal judge clerkship in California and then worked for the NAACP’s Legal Defense and Education Fund beginning in 1983. He later took on a position as partner at the firm Hill and Barlow. In the spring of 1994, Patrick was nominated by President Bill Clinton to become assistant attorney general of civil rights, thereafter receiving confirmation from the Senate.
Elected Massachusetts Governor
Though leaving his post in 1997 and re-entering the private sector, doing general counsel work for Texaco and Coca-Cola, Patrick returned to the political landscape with a 2005 announcement of his bid for Massachusetts's governorship on the Democratic ticket. He won by a landslide, breaking a Republican streak of power that had lasted for four terms. He became Massachusetts' first African-American governor and only the second in the United States.
Patrick's first term had some difficulties, with his administration facing criticism over staffing and inappropriate personal spending. And Patrick’s wife struggled with major depression, which she later spoke publicly about.
He also oversaw the health-care reforms initiated by gubernatorial predecessor Mitt Romney and supported Barack Obama in his bid for the U.S. presidency. Patrick was re-elected in 2010. The following year he released the memoir A Reason to Believe: Lessons From an Improbable Life, and in 2012 put forth the short e-book Faith in the Dream: A Call to the Nation to Reclaim American Values.
Presence After Marathon Bombing
Patrick has continued to speak of his roots and the importance of affirmative action programs and civil rights work. He has been thrust into the national spotlight due to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, and has been called out for his reassuring and resolute tone. He has announced he will not run for the governorship in 2014, with plans to return to private sector work.