Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick delivered his final State of the Commonwealth speech Tuesday night, focusing on his legacy and some work to come.
Patrick said the state of the commonwealth is strong.
“I know there is unfinished business,” he said. “But I also know that we are a more prosperous, more promising more just commonwealth for more people today.”
Patrick spent much of his speech listing his accomplishments, saying he has helped municipal leaders, organized labor and business.
“We have eliminated or simplified over 210 outdated regulations, reduced the permitting time for state approvals from 2 years to less than 60 days,” he said.
Patrick said his policies over the past seven years have lead the state through a global economic collapse to recovery.
“Today, Massachusetts is first in the nation in student achievement, in health care coverage, in economic competitiveness,” he said.
But Patrick said that some things have not changed enough.
“Our economy is growing, booming in some quarters,” the governor said. “But we are leaving some of our neighbors behind.”
He repeated his calls to reform the unemployment insurance system and to raise the minimum wage.
“To those who are reluctant to raise the minimum wage, I ask only that, before you resolve to oppose it, consider whether you could live on it,” he said.
Patrick also promised to fix the Health Connector website and to strengthen the Department of Children and Families.
“Time after time, when problems arise, we have kept our wits about us, gathered the facts soberly and thoughtfully and stepped up to find solutions, not just fault,” he said.
The governor concluded the speech by reflecting on the sense of community in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings.
“The way we turned to each other, not on each other,” Patrick said. “I still believe all this and more reflects the best of who we are.”
After the speech, the Massachusetts Republican Party released a statement, saying Patrick’s speech “glossed over the tough realities that the unemployment rate is above the national average and our health care is the most expensive in the nation.”