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2007: It starts and ends with Deval

Howard Manly

He rode a grassroots campaign all the way to the State House, ending a 16-year Republican reign in the governor’s office.

Yes, Deval Patrick had a rocky start.

Yes, he wants to spend money on things like education and health care and roads and bridges. And yes, he has even shown a willingness, in this most puritanical of states, to consider casino gambling to help pay for it all.

But no legacy is made in a year. His proposed property tax relief was stymied by legislators who opposed business tax hikes.

But after a year in office, Patrick has shown that he is moving forward on everything from establishing Massachusetts as a mecca for the biotech industry to protecting every child with his recent appointment of a child advocate.

His biggest hurdle is not the painfully insignificant state Republicans, but his fellow Democrats, many of whom have said publicly and privately that he doesn’t seek their counsel.

Some of that, of course, is the paralyzing mix of ego and envy. Despite those sorts of parochial problems, Patrick was still able to create — by his count — 26,000 jobs and obtain passage of film tax credits.

But collaboration is needed in the days ahead. Rising home foreclosures are wreaking havoc on the international economy, as some analysts have predicted losses in the billions of dollars across the country.

And there remains the steady loss of residents throughout the state to other warmer and less expensive parts of the nation.

The good news is that Patrick not only survived his first year in office, but also established himself as an advocate for the state. Considering the absentee track record of his predecessor, Mitt Romney, that is a welcome and much needed change.

“This Commonwealth,” Patrick said during his historic inaugural address, “and the nation modeled on it, is at its best when we show that we understand a faith in what’s possible and willingness to work for it. So as an American, I am an optimist, but not a foolish one. I see clearly the challenges before us.”