“When I came to work here in 2007, I expected to face economic challenges, but not a global economic collapse,” Patrick said. “I expected to face public safety challenges, but not the failure of a key water supply, a tornado, or a terrorist attack.”
Patrick called the April 15, 2013, bombings at the Boston Marathon the most trying moment of his tenure, adding: “But I could not have been prouder of the grace and kindness on display in the wake of the Marathon bombing.”
Patrick ended his speech pledging a strong finish to his second and last term in office.
“Now is no time for valedictories,” he said. “We have work to do. Let’s get to it.”
Rep. Brad Jones, the House Republican leader, called the speech “underwhelming.” Referring to a request by the governor that cities and towns hold the line on property tax increases, Jones noted that property tax relief had been among Patrick’s original campaign promises and he’d done little on the issue during his administration.
“It’s easy to talk about the greatness of the commonwealth,” said Sen. Bruce Tarr, the GOP leader in the Senate. “The governor does it very well. He’s a very charismatic, inspirational speaker, but the fact of the matter is there are real issues that have to be addressed underneath those points.”
Democratic House Speaker Robert DeLeo, who planned to outline his legislative priorities in a speech today, said it was time for Massachusetts to show it was serious about attracting new business to the state. He predicted that the House would tackle both unemployment insurance reform and the minimum wage in the coming months.
Patrick made only a brief reference in his speech to the Department of Families and Children, under intense scrutiny after social workers lost track of 5-year-old Jeremiah Oliver.
“It’s inexcusable to lose any child we are charged with protecting,” he said. Patrick earlier asked the Child Welfare League of America to conduct an independent review of the agency and included more than $9 million in his state budget proposal to bolster staff and reduce caseload at DCF.