Governor Deval Patrick will use his final State of the Commonwealth address Tuesday night to emphasize that his priorities over the last seven years have guided the state through the worst of a troubled economy, aides said before the speech.
Patrick is not expected to unveil any major new initiatives, but will push the Legislature to adopt his plans for expanded early and higher education spending, and for a bond bill that would help fund transportation projects.
Aides said Patrick’s “governing for the long term” mantra will be in evidence, as will an emphasis on the state’s long-term unemployed and economically strapped who have not benefited from the broader recovery.
The governor will reiterate his earlier support for raising the state’s minimum wage and making changes to its unemployment insurance policy, although he will not specify a dollar amount for that increase, his aides said.
“Economic growth matters—not just because it creates wealth, though that is good; and not just because it expands a given industry or reduces unemployment rates, though that is also good,” Patrick will say, according to excerpts of his remarks. “Growth matters because it creates opportunity, and opportunity is fundamental to who we are.”
He will also tout the state as the national leader in “student achievement, in health care coverage, in economic competitiveness, in entrepreneurial activity, in venture funding, in energy efficiency and in veterans’ services,” according to excerpts.
Patrick is expected to include personal reflections on his experience as governor, including remarks about last April’s Marathon bombings, aides said.
The annual address, initially scheduled for last week but postponed by a snowstorm, comes with less than a year remaining in Patrick’s second term, and a little more than six months until the Legislature finishes formal business for the year. Patrick is not running for re-election.
The speech will take place just ahead of President Obama’s annual State of the Union address.
The forum gives Patrick an opportunity to burnish his legacy, at a time when a host of candidates are competing for his job and a range of government mismanagement problems have beset his administration.
Several hours before the speech, a shirtsleeved governor emerged from his temporary office on the State House’s second floor to head to the House chamber for speech rehearsal. The address is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m.