One of the nation’s first African-American governors, Deval Patrick, of Massachusetts, is considering a run for president.
“It’s on my radar screen,” he told KCUR, a public-radio station there. “But it’s a huge decision, and it’s a huge consideration, particularly when I think that I’m still a kid from the south side of Chicago.”
Patrick, a former civil-rights lawyer and U.S. assistant attorney general under President Bill Clinton, served two terms as Massachusetts governor. He now manages Bain Capital’s social-impact fund, after senior executive positions at Texaco and Coca-Cola.
A friend of former president Barack Obama, Patrick was co-chair of both of Obama’s presidential campaigns. He said he was assessing his role in the next presidential election.
“My current focus is how I can help candidates in 2018,” he said on KCUR’s “Up to Date.”
Obama and former aides David Axelrod and Valerie Jarrett are also encouraging Patrick to run.
So how would a Patrick candidacy mean for LGBTQ voters? Patrick’s personal background and his public background both indicate potential support.
Patrick’s two terms as Massachusetts governor also show a track record for LGBTQ issues. As governor, he stumbled on management problems before finding success in working to overhaul transportation, healthcare and international trade. He helped raise the state’s minimum wage in 2017. He supported an expansion of charter schools in exchange for millions in federal funding.
But one of his biggest achievements on equality was in the state’s battle over same-sex marriage. Just before Patrick’s first inauguration, his predecessor, Gov. Mitt Romney, wanted a legislative vote on a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.
Patrick opposed the effort. He reached out to activists supporting same-sex marriage. He then worked with legislators before the proposed amendment was defeated in the legislature.
On the day the amendment was defeated, Patrick spoke to gay-rights advocates.
“The fact that someone disagrees with you doesn’t mean they are the devil,” Patrick said.
He said Donald Trump wasn’t his candidate, “but he is my president. I am old fashioned in the sense that nobody should cheer for failure. We need our presidents to succeed.”
Yet Patrick challenged Trump’s approach. “I’m concerned about the tone he sets,” Patrick said. “I’m concerned about the lack of clarity in terms of policy direction, the belittling of different or opposing points of view, or individuals who hold them.
“I don’t think that bodes well for the democracy.”