Deval Patrick

Deval Patrick

Former governor, Massachusetts

Deval Patrick served two terms as governor of Massachusetts from 2007 to 2015, where he focused largely on economic development, clean energy, and education. A lawyer by trade, he worked in the private sector before and after his time in public office, including stints at Texaco, Coca-Cola, and, most recently, the private equity firm Bain Capital. He also previously worked for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and as an assistant attorney general in President Bill Clinton’s administration. 

Born and raised in Chicago, he earned a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University in 1978 and graduated from Harvard Law School in 1982.


Patrick has issued no policy proposals relating to China or the ongoing trade war, though as governor of Massachusetts he advocated for deeper trade ties between the two countries.

  • As governor, he made his first foreign trade mission to Beijing in 2007, where he spoke of Massachusetts’s historic trade ties to China.
  • During his tenure, he worked to arrange direct Boston-Beijing flights, deepen U.S.-China research cooperation, and increase U.S. companies’ investment in China.

Climate and Energy

Patrick has been vocal about the need to fight climate change and cut greenhouse gas emissions, and as governor he sought to move Massachusetts toward renewable energy. Before seeking public office, he worked in the oil industry. 

  • Patrick says that a cap-and-trade program, which would create a market to put a price on greenhouse gas emissions, is not good enough and calls for a “multi-pronged” approach to climate change. He promises investments in clean technology, “green construction,” and biotech.
  • As governor, he pursued a number of green energy initiatives, including new regulations on energy efficiency, requirements for biofuel use, and expansion of solar and wind power. In 2014 he called for an end to all fossil fuel use and touted his administration’s closing of coal-fired power plants.
  • During his tenure, he signed the Green Communities Act, legislation that sought to cut greenhouse gas emissions, expand renewable energy, and approve Massachusetts’s entry into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a nine-state program to cap emissions. 
  • He previously served as the top legal counsel for Texaco and helped complete the company’s 2001 merger with Chevron, which created the world’s fourth largest public oil company. 


Patrick has released no policy proposals on his counterterrorism approach, but he points to his experience responding to the 2013 terror attack in Boston.

  • In the wake of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, Patrick warned against anti-terror efforts that cast suspicion on any particular group of people.
  • Patrick, who weathered criticism over his decision to shut down Boston’s public services and bring in National Guard troops during the attacks, also argued that law enforcement must use their surveillance power prudently and that a mentality of “permanent lockdown” must be avoided to preserve American liberties.

Cybersecurity and Digital Policy

Patrick has long been a proponent of using government leverage to boost technology research and innovation, both domestically and internationally, and he promises additional spending on cybersecurity. 

  • Patrick’s campaign website promises increased investment in cybersecurity, expanded broadband internet, and emerging technology sectors such as robotics.
  • As governor, he expanded funding for technology research, especially biotech and information technologies. He also sought to create global partnerships between the Boston tech community and tech firms in France, Singapore, and elsewhere.


Patrick has issued no policy proposals on military spending or other defense issues.

Diplomacy and Foreign Aid

Patrick has issued no policy proposals regarding his views on diplomacy or foreign aid.

Economic Policy

Patrick’s economic vision centers on his “opportunity agenda,” which he says is about “growing the economy out to working people and the marginalized.” He says the current economic moment requires “revolutionary change.”

  • Patrick’s campaign website lists three major areas in need of greater investment: education and workforce training, innovation and technology, and infrastructure.
  • He says he supports higher taxes on the wealthy, but does not support a wealth tax along the lines of some other candidates’ proposals. 
  • He points to a $13 billion transportation overhaul he passed as governor as a signature economic achievement. 
  • As governor, he quadrupled state spending on education and expanded access to early education and kindergarten.
  • In 2014, he signed legislation to raise Massachusetts’s minimum wage to $11 per hour.


Patrick says that accepting immigrants and refugees is central to American identity, and he advocates for more welcoming policies.

  • Patrick’s website calls for an immigration system that “provides for both border integrity and human dignity.”
  • As governor, he supported comprehensive immigration reform and offered to provide shelter for some of the unaccompanied migrant children arriving at the U.S. southern border, which he called a humanitarian crisis. 
  • He also allowed undocumented residents of Massachusetts to pay in-state tuition rates at state colleges.

Middle East

Patrick has issued no policy proposals regarding the Middle East, though as governor he pushed for closer relations between Massachusetts and Israel.

  • As governor, Patrick visited Israel twice on trade delegations, meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, other Israeli leaders, and founders of Israeli tech firms.
  • He successfully implemented the first direct flights between Tel Aviv and Boston and signed a $1 billion law to support joint U.S.-Israel research exchanges. 
  • He is the founding chairman of Our Generation Speaks, a program that brings together Israelis and Palestinians in joint entrepreneurship projects.

North Korea

Patrick has issued no policy proposals regarding U.S. relations with North Korea.


Patrick has issued no policy proposals regarding U.S. policy toward Russia, though he criticizes Trump for his willingness to solicit foreign interference in U.S. elections.

  • He says that Trump’s request that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky investigate fellow presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden is “a crime in and of itself” and calls for Trump’s impeachment.


Patrick has been a proponent of expanded trade, touting his experience growing his state’s trading relationships and making it more competitive in the global economy.

  • As governor, he led trade delegations to a number of countries in the Middle East and Latin America, as well as China, which he says helped make Massachusetts a leader in technology industries and convinced more international firms to headquarter in the state. 
  • He focused specifically on expanding international direct flights to and from Boston’s Logan airport to better position the city in global trade.

Venezuela and Latin America

Patrick has issued no policy proposals on the ongoing crisis in Venezuela or other Latin American conflicts, but he has consistently sought deeper trade and investment ties with countries in the region.

  • As governor, he led trade delegations to many Latin American countries, including Mexico and Panama, to deepen investment ties with Massachusetts.

This project was made possible in part by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York.