Text of Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick’s State of the Commonwealth address in Boston Wednesday night, as prepared for delivery, provided by the governor’s office:
Lieutenant Governor, fellow Constitutional Officers and members of the Governor’s Council,
Madame President and Members of the Senate,
Mr. Speaker and Members of the House,
Mr. Chief Justice and Members of the Judiciary,
Members of the Congressional Delegation,
Municipal and other Elected Officials,
Members of the Cabinet and Administration,
Reverend Clergy, and, most especially,
Fellow Citizens of Massachusetts.
Good evening and Happy New Year.
Please join me in welcoming our extraordinary First Lady, Diane Patrick. I thank you for your unsung service and for putting up with me.
Before I begin, let us pause quietly to reflect on the necessary sacrifice of our men and women in uniform here and abroad, and the unnecessary sacrifice of those poor first graders and their teachers in Newtown, Connecticut, and all those lost to gun violence in our neighborhoods here at home.
I spent some time yesterday at the Orchard Gardens School in Roxbury. I've talked about this school before. Whenever I visit Orchard Gardens or any of the many other extraordinary schools in the Commonwealth, I wonder whether people in public service should make such visits a daily requirement. The energy, the optimism, the hopefulness provide both fuel and focus for our work. Yesterday, I listened to first, third and eighth-graders read essays on ‘‘What I want to be when I grow up.’’ They want to be engineers and firefighters, to work in clean tech and go to law school. Adriana, an unimaginably poised second grader, told me her dream was to be a teacher. Every one of them is thinking about college.
I was the first person in my family to go to college. I grew up with grandparents who were educated only as far as the third grade and a mother who had dropped out of high school. My big break came through a scholarship to Milton Academy when I was 14. And while (thankfully) no one ever told me college was not for me, Milton was the first environment I was ever in where college was a normal expectation.
I applied to five colleges back then. When the letter arrived saying I was admitted to the one I really wanted, I called home with the news and my grandmother answered the phone. I'll never forget it.
‘‘Gram,’’ I said. ‘‘I'm going to college. I'm going to Harvard.’’
She started yelling and screaming, so excited and so proud. Then she paused and asked, ‘‘Now, where is that anyway?’’
I was totally deflated. But gradually I came to realize that it was not the prestige my grandmother was excited about. It was the opportunity. It was the chance. That’s what mattered.
That is always what matters—maybe especially here. For pilgrims seeking to worship freely, for slaves seeking freedom, for immigrants seeking a better way, for your mothers and fathers and grandmothers and grandfathers seeking a toehold in the middle class, Massachusetts has beckoned seekers as a land of opportunity.
Everybody in this Chamber gets that. In my many encounters with the members of the Legislature, whatever your politics, you are your most joyful when you bring a 3rd grade class or a high school championship team for a meeting or a picture. You respond to seekers, just as I do. You see their craving for opportunity, and you know that opportunity is at the core of the American Dream itself. From good jobs to good schools to good communities, creating opportunity is at the center of our best work.
Opportunity is too important to leave to chance. Opportunity requires growth. And growth requires investment. It’s just as true of government as in any business. The economy is not like the weather; it is not some natural force that is beyond our control, something where we have to wait for others to predict or explain. What we choose to do, and not to do, shapes our future. Indeed, as one friend of mine likes to say, ‘‘The future belongs to those who prepare for it.’’
That is why we invest in education, in innovation and in infrastructure.
We invest in education because well-prepared young minds and mid-career talent is our global calling card and our economic edge.
We invest in innovation because, with a workforce like ours, enabling and encouraging new ideas is the best way to take advantage of the knowledge explosion happening in the world economy today.
We invest in infrastructure because rebuilding our roads, rails, bridges, expanding broadband to every community, building new classrooms and labs and more affordable housing gives private initiative and personal ambition the platform for growth.Continued...