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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Patrick boasts state’s competitiveness

Published: April 8, 2011
Section: Front Page

University President Frederick Lawrence introduces Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick .
Photo by Ingrid Schulte/The Hoot

Gov. Deval Patrick defended Massachusetts’ post-recession economy and promoted his plans to enhance the state’s financial competitiveness while visiting the Brandeis campus, speaking to a room of business leaders and state officials who gathered for the International Business School’s Global Trade Summit Tuesday in Levin Ballroom.

“Since the beginning of my first term we have stuck with our plan during the worst recession in living memory,” Patrick said, “and pursued a three-pronged strategy to lift up the commonwealth and compete in our global economy.”

University President Frederick Lawrence upon introducing the governor picked up on the first of Patrick’s prongs, followed by innovation and infrastructure, highlighting the primary role education plays in the state and world marketplaces.

“The most important industry in this state is the state of the mind, we are an education state,” Lawrence said, “and it is good to know: Our governor gets it.”

Patrick touted the state’s record on educating public school children, including the fact that Massachusetts children have been scored first in student achievement nationwide five years in a row, and the state is ranked top-five internationally in math and science scores. Massachusetts also placed first in President Obama’s Education Department’s Race to the Top program and secured the most in federal award grants.

“When you see a public school teacher, you thank them for our economic engine,” Patrick said.

The governor drew a direct connection between educational success and the future of the Massachusetts economy, saying that “education is our calling card around the world,” and that assembled business heads in attendance could see the innovation in the state.

“Our strategy remains one to grow jobs and to support the business community,” Patrick said.

The way to do that, he said, is to “pay particular attention to those industries that depend on brainpower… to support our preeminence and secure it for the future.”

Patrick also championed his political decisions as governor, promoting his energy policies as tantamount to a good jobs policy and beyond. The summit, held to promote investment in the state and increase international demand for Massachusetts exports, pertained to just these themes.

Infrastructure, rounding out the governor’s three-part plan, was called the “unglamorous work of government,” but Patrick defended it as necessary work only the state may provide.

“As more and more Massachusetts companies compete internationally, we in government will work harder to create more jobs in the commonwealth,” Patrick said, while stressing that the real hurdle—hiring new employees—will come from the chief executives sitting in front of him.

Lawrence’s zinger suggestion for the directors was simple, telling them that the most important thing for the summit, the governor’s visit and his presidency was only that “you all have to hire my kids.”