Saturday, 2:15 PM
Patrick touts biotech bill before national audience
By Globe Staff
Governor Deval Patrick touted his $1 billion biotech initiative today before a national audience, appearing on MSNBC hours before signing a bill that he said will build on the Commonwealth's "tradition of innovation that goes back centuries."
"This really is about what we do in Massachusetts," Patrick said, appearing on the show "Morning Joe" in a video feed from Boston. "We discovered this."
The governor signed the legislation this morning at the Joslin Diabetes Center, where he was joined by House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi, Nobel Prize winner Craig Mello, and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who has funded medical research. Patrick used the opportunity to shower praise on DiMasi and other legislative leaders.
"Sometimes in this business of ours, people keep score in purely political terms," Patrick said. "And there's no denying the fact that signing this bill today makes a clear and important political point: that the Legislature and the administration can work together on big and complex initiatives when we set our mind to it."
In his remarks, DiMasi returned the compliment, saying: "Believe me, Governor Patrick deserves full credit for what he has done on this area, and it will be an unbelievable legacy for you, governor. I swear that this will be remembered and you will be remembered for all the good things that will come to this every single day after the signing of this bill."
The bill includes $250 million in tax incentives for companies, $250 million in grants, and $500 million for infrastructure, much of which is earmarked for the state university system. Patrick said he was traveling this afternoon to the world's biggest biotechnology trade show in San Diego to "sell it."
Roughly four dozen state and local officials are accompanying Patrick to California for the annual BIO show, including DiMasi and Senate President Therese Murray. Patrick and other Massachusetts leaders have planned meetings and receptions with business executives, including a party at Petco Park, the baseball stadium where the San Diego Padres play. Patrick and former Florida governor Jeb Bush are also headlining a keynote discussion on government's role in fostering biotech research.
On Tuesday, BIO will honor Patrick as its "Governor of the Year."
At least five other state lawmakers are expected to attend BIO, in addition to Murray and DiMasi. Representative Michael Rodrigues, Democrat of Westport, said he was excited about meeting with biotech executives to pitch the state.
Material from the Associated Press is included in this report.
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