Patrick rallies Democrats

 

Berkshire Eagle 09/28/2014, Page B01

By Adam Shanks

Berkshire Eagle Staff

PITTSFIELD — Gov. Deval Patrick joined local, state, and federal politicians to fire up supporters at Berkshire Democratic campaign headquarters on South Street Saturday.

In the wake of the recent primary elections, the Democrats rallied to unify the party and kick- off the final five weeks of campaigning before the November Elections, specifically in support of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley. Joining Patrick were U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, D-Springfield; Rep. Paul Mark, D-Peru; Sen. Benjamin Downing, D-Pittsfield; Sheriff Thomas Bowler, Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier, D-Pittsfield; and Berkshire District Attorney David Capeless at the headquarters.

Though serving his final weeks in office after eight years as governor, this November’s election will not be about Patrick’s legacy in office, he said.

“It’s about whether we are in fact going to have the kind of leadership that’s about the next generation instead of the next election cycle,” Patrick said. “Are we going to make the kind of decisions that are about our common destiny? Are we going to lift everybody?”

Patrick spoke of the state’s progress in eight years under Democratic leadership.

“[With] all of the stuff we have done trying to make our communities safer, and to raise our quality of living, don’t lose sight of the fact that we have also lifted this economy,” Patrick said of Democratic leadership. “Out of the worst recession in two generations, we have a 25-year high in employment in Massachusetts.”

Patrick told the audience of several dozen supporters that Democrats should not cede economic development arguments to Republicans.

“This is the party of opportunity, don’t forget it,” Patrick said.

Patrick, Neal and Downing urged party supporters to speak to friends, knock on doors and make phone calls to encourage a strong Democratic turnout in the November elections. Democrat Martha Coakley has been neck and neck with Republican challenger Charles Baker in early gubernatorial polls.

“We all know what’s at stake in this election,” Downing said.

Coakley lost a special Senate election to Republican Scott Brown in 2010, but Downing said the defeat could be attributed to low party turnout. “He did nothing fancy” to win the election, Downing said, but won votes from Republicans who had turned out to vote.

“ Our friends, our family members, our neighbors, our coworkers too often only come out in those presidential election cycles, too often only come out in the highest profile elections,” Downing said. “Come out and vote Democratic this Fall.”

Fundraising will be another key to the race, Neal argued.

“Why is Barack Obama president and Bill Clinton the last Democratic president before him? Because they were both great fundraisers,” Neal said. “We need to keep that in perspective all of the time.”

Patrick said he will play an active role in the campaign, including two events for Coakley.

“I’m going to do as much as the campaign wants me to,” he said.

But, he added, he still has a day job, and listed improvements to the state’s Health Connector website and finalizing contracts for several infrastructure projects as some of his top priorities during his final weeks in office.

And despite the whirlwind of rumors, Patrick still hasn’t announced any plans after his term expires.

“I’ve got to find a job,” he joked.