Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Gov. Patrick makes appeal to students in visit to UMass

By Sam Butterfield

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Governor Deval Patrick, locked in a tight race for reelection, visited the University of Massachusetts yesterday, speaking for about 15 minutes to a relatively small crowd of supporters, UMass Democrats, professors and locals.

The event began slightly late at about 11:20 a.m., as Gov. Patrick walked in to a standing ovation flanked by District 1 Congressman John Olver, State Sen. Stan Rosenberg, State Rep. Ellen Story and Chancellor Robert Holub.

 “So formal, “ joked the Governor, as he waved and shook hands with young admirers.

First to speak was Emily Jacobs, president of the UMass Democrats, who hosted the appearance.

Jacobs, who also serves as Western Massachusetts regional director for the College Democrats of Massachusetts, told the crowd that, while some political strategists have spoken of a lack of enthusiasm among young people this electoral cycle, she believes the youth vote will be a recognizable force this year.

“We’re here today because we’ve all heard the pundits, “ she said,  “they say young people aren’t going to vote this year and that we don’t care, that we’ve abandoned the party, and I don’t see that.”

“We’re here today because we see the importance of getting out the vote, and I hope every one of you will vote, “ she concluded, before introducing Olver, the nine-term Democrat from Amherst currently seeking reelection in the First District against Republican challenger Bill Gunn and Independent Michael Engel.

Olver then gave something of a stump speech, telling what he called “a student audience“ about student-oriented legislation the current Congress has enacted recently.

Olver then touched on what he feels have been the Patrick administration’s greatest accomplishments.

“Four years ago, Deval Patrick put an end to the aimless drift of 16 years of short-term Republican governors here in Massachusetts, “ he said.  “Governors who would rather have been in Mexico or Canada or, “ he paused,  “Washington, than solving Massachusetts’ problems. “

“So, “ he continued,  “Deval Patrick has proven his commitment to Massachusetts and moved us out of the recession…and the choices that Gov. Patrick, with the help he’s needed from the legislature, made to invest in our economy has enabled that growth. “

Echoing the event’s theme, Olver signed off with a plea to the crowd to organize in the campaign’s final days.

“Now I urge you to join the volunteers, seniors, workers, students all over the Commonwealth, here in the last five days to join those whom are working in their neighborhoods, or by phone, or foot work in the neighborhoods, to help coordinate this campaign. We need to make the right choice for Massachusetts, we need to elect Deval Patrick, [and] so he can finish what he started.”

With that, Olver turned the floor over to the Governor, who, receiving another standing ovation, first asked to speak without the use of a microphone, but due to audio-video requirements was asked by staffers to continue speaking through it.

After thanking the crowd and Olver, Patrick first touched on the partnership he and Olver have forged, describing various transportation and railway projects he and the Congressman have pushed for, and then later paid homage to Story and Rosenberg, telling the crowd that  “you have no greater champions for UMass Amherst than these two back on Beacon Hill.”

Patrick then thanked Chancellor Holub and the UMass faculty, before making his case for what he sees as the commonwealth’s greatest challenges and how he hopes to surmount them, focusing heavily on what he calls  “generational responsibility, “or one generation’s obligation to leave the world better than they found it.

“It’s not about me, it’s not about the other candidates, it’s about you, it’s about our future, and it’s about generational responsibility, “ he said, sounding off on a motif of shared responsibility and an appeal to think about the future he would return to throughout the discussion.

“This whole idea of generational responsibility,” he explained, “we’re supposed to leave [the world] better than how we found it, that’s something that every one of us learn from our grandparents, but it’s leaked from our government, and we need to put it back.”

“And because we have been making those adjustments,” he said, referencing budget revisions and job growth measures,  “we’re number one in student achievement, health care, in veterans’ services, and number four in job creation, and none of that is by accident,” he continued.

The Governor then spoke to what he sees as an ambiance of negativity running throughout this electoral cycle.

“Sometimes if you listen to all the ads and all the rhetoric from the other campaigns, it makes it sound like everything wrong in your lives including a rainy day or a flat tire is my fault,” he joked,  “and everything right we just kind of stumbled on.”

“No,” he emphasized, “that’s because we’ve been making tough choices that would be tough under the best circumstances, and they’re especially tough in these difficult times.”

Before making his get out the vote pitch, Patrick detailed what he sees as a difference in political philosophy between himself and his primary opponent, Republican Charlie Baker.

“Charlie’s answer is to put 5,000 more folks out of work and 12,000 out of health care; his answer to health care is to drive up health insurance costs 150 percent in premiums over the last ten years and stand on the sidelines while rates go up, we try to cap them and drive them down.”

“Now you can make that choice, “ he continued.  “It’s a different view about the role of government, it’s not evil, it’s just a different view. Some folks see numbers, I think he’s one of them, I see neighbors, that’s what this election is about, it’s a choice among choices, among values.”

After laying out he sees as the choices in the race, Patrick made his pitch to students and citizens to mobilize before Tuesday.

 “When I ask you to come out on Tuesday, take some time off, help people get to the polls, it’s not about me, it’s about them, “he said, referencing a group of unemployed people in Quincy who he had recently met with.  “See, I think that the American dream is something worth fighting for, I think it is worth fighting for that government has a role to play in helping people help themselves.”

 “I appreciate that you’re here, and it’s great,” he continued,  “but where we need you is out on the street, knocking on doors, calling people on your cell phone list, sending emails to the people on your email list, talking to your friends, and your classmates, and to your schoolmates; and here’s a radical idea, to the people who don’t believe in the same ideas as us, engage them, and if we do that, and do it together, and do it in the spirit of generational responsibility, that we can and should do what we can to leave a better Commonwealth, I’m confident that we’ll win, we’ll all of us win,” he concluded, thanking the crowd.

After his speech concluded, the Governor shook hands with students and supporters for about 15 minutes, trading pleasantries and smiles and given the relatively small crowd, introducing himself to a majority of those present.

Patrick then took a few questions from local media, explaining that the get out the vote effort is his campaign’s top priority from here until Tuesday.

The goal is “to be in as many places and shake as many hands as is possible up until then, and to get people to come out and vote,” he explained.  “Not just to vote for me, but to vote in general, because we believe people get the government they deserve, and Tim Murray and I believe Massachusetts shares these values and will get the government it deserves.”

On the subject of the day – catalyzing students to help win the election –  Patrick said he feels the student vote will be important, but cautioned that every vote counts.

 “I think students are going to be key,” he said,  “not just because I value students, but because every vote is important, and people ask why I’m out in Western Massachusetts in towns with small populations, and it’s because I think every vote is important across every corner of the Commonwealth,” he said.

Patrick’s appearance was not the only political event to bring a crowd to campus Thursday. The Massachusetts Society of Professors was staging a  “No on 3” rally against the sales tax reduction ballot question yesterday afternoon, and Green-Rainbow gubernatorial candidate Jill Stein appeared later in the day.

Sam Butterfield can be reached at [email protected]

1 Comment

One Response to “Gov. Patrick makes appeal to students in visit to UMass”

  1. Davey_Krocket on October 29th, 2010 9:53 pm

    LOL…the real kiss of death would have been if Obama paid western Mass a visit. Does the Olver campaign really think having Deval Patrick around will help boost his failing support? I heard Olver got flustered, forgot his place and dropped the F-bomb during a televised debate last week. I wonder how his voting record and a promise of more of the same will work for him.

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