Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick highlighted his administration’s success over the last eight years in job growth and economic development during an address to a business group in Springfield today. The speech at a breakfast sponsored by the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield comes as voters are less than a week away from picking his successor.
In a victory lap of sorts, Gov. Patrick highlighted a series of metrics he said rank Massachusetts at or near the top nationally in areas such as job creation, the growth of advanced manufacturing, student achievement, health care, energy efficiency, veterans services and entrepreneurial activity.
"I can confidently report Massachusetts is back in the leadership business," said Patrick. " I am proud of that."
Patrick also reminded the audience of several hundred business people that his administration had streamlined permitting and taken other steps to reverse the impression that Massachusetts was not a business-friendly state.
Patrick has long touted an economic development strategy that prioritizes government spending in the areas of education, innovation, and infrastructure that are designed to spur private investment and job growth. He listed several examples in western Massachusetts including the state data center in Springfield, the high performance computing center in Holyoke, a renovation of Westfield’s downtown, the expansion of broadband through the rural Berkshires, high-speed passenger rail, and the planned reconstruction of the I-91 viaduct.
"This is what it means to govern for the next generation, not the next news cycle. And, to govern for the entire state and not pander to special interests on Beacon Hill."
With his legacy somewhat at stake in next week’s election, Patrick interjected some politics.
" I hope you will think hard before you choose a different course."
Just three weeks into office in 2007, Patrick spoke at a Springfield Chamber of Commerce lunch. He said it underscored his belief in the future of western Massachusetts.
" One of the things I learned during the course of the first campaign was out left out people in this region felt under previous administrations."
Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno said Patrick had played a pivotal role in the city’s resurgence. When Patrick took office a state finance control board was running the city. Now, Springfield has the highest bond rating in its history, the prospect for an $800 million casino, and a transit rail car factory that a Chinese company is going to build in the city next year.
Jeff Ciuffreda, president of the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield, said the business climate has improved from what it was eight years ago.
"A lot of medium size and small size businesses have weathered the storm, see brighter days on the horizon and are in expansion mode."
Patrick also cut a ribbon Wednesday to open a regional business trade show at the MassMutual Convention Center.