Saturday, 2:15 PM
Gov. Patrick wants 2nd term, not a job in Obama administration
(Bill Brett for The Boston Globe)
By Matt Viser and Andrew Ryan, Globe Staff
A beaming Governor Deval Patrick met with reporters today after his return from Chicago and reiterated that he has no interest in a post in President-elect Barack Obama's administration.
After speaking about being "enormously moved and excited and proud" of Obama's electoral landslide, Patrick said definitively that he did not want to return to the White House.
"Are you asking me if I am going to Washington again?" Patrick asked, rephrasing a reporter's question. "No I am not. We have an ambitious agenda and a lot of work to do here. Frankly if the people will have me, I'd be interested in a second term."
Patrick did say, however, that he expected the ranks of his own administration to thin because of Obama appointments.
After witnessing the record turnout Tuesday morning in Massachusetts, Patrick flew to his hometown of Chicago for Obama's victory rally. In a speech to hundreds of thousands in Grant Park, Obama echoed a refrain that Patrick employed in his 2006 gubernatorial run.
"It turns out that 'Yes we can' is more than a political slogan," Patrick said today. "In fact, many of us believe that 'Yes we can' is an assertion of American character. That was affirmed yesterday."
Patrick and his wife, Diane, listened to the speech under a tent reserved for politicians and other luminaries, such as the actor Brad Pitt. "Diane kept saying, would you just go over and introduce yourself," Patrick said with a laugh about Pitt.
The governor did not say hello to the actor, however, because he "just wanted to absorb" the victory of Obama, whom he spoke with briefly. Patrick told Obama he was "proud of him as a candidate" because he "spoke without apology about hope."
When asked by a reporter, Patrick said he was "not pushing a change" in state law so he could appoint someone to fill a vacant US Senate seat instead of holding a special election. When Senator John F. Kerry was running for president in 2004, the Democratic state Legislature changed the law to require a special election rather than allow Republican Governor Mitt Romney to appoint a possible successor. Kerry's name has recently been mentioned as a candidate for Secretary of State in Obama's administration.
Patrick said he was "relieved" that voters decided overwhelmingly to reject a ballot initiative that would have repealed the state income tax. The governor also said his administration was reaching out to district attorneys and law enforcement officials about the "implementation" of a ballot initiative that decriminalized possession of an ounce or less of marijuana. Patrick's answer seemed to indicate that he did not plan to fight the measure.
The state secretary of Labor and Workforce Development will work with employees from two of the state's tracks after voters banned dog racing in Massachusetts, Patrick said.