Governor Deval Patrick gave his final State of the Commonwealth speech on Tuesday, January 29, 2014 at the Massachusetts State House. Below are excerpts from the speech.
Today, Massachusetts is first in the nation in student achievement, in health care coverage, in economic competitiveness, in entrepreneurial activity, in venture funding, in energy efficiency and in veterans’ services.
Today, our biotech sector is one of the fastest growing in the world, our clean tech sector is seeing double-digit job growth, and we have trained over 100,000 people for jobs with these and other innovators.
Today, manufacturing in our state is growing more than 50 percent faster than in the nation as a whole, and seven times the rate it did during the previous administration.
Today, we are rebuilding our infrastructure throughout the Commonwealth. Multi-family housing starts have tripled and commercial development is on the rebound.
Today, a new 1,200 mile fiber-optic network serves to connect every community to high-speed Internet.
Today, over 110,000 acres have been added to our conservation lands, and over two million of our residents will by this year be able to walk to a local park.
Today, instead of leaving in droves, young people and families are moving into Massachusetts. Our population is growing again — faster than the rest of the region. We’ve reversed the long decline of past years.
Today, our doors are open to new markets around the world through direct flights to Dublin, Madrid, Toronto, the Dominican Republic, Tokyo, Panama City, Istanbul, Dubai and Beijing; Logan saw record numbers of travelers in the last two years; and Worcester Airport is open for business.
Massachusetts is back in the leadership business, and the state of our Commonwealth is strong.
Our strategy for growth is sound. It’s all about investing time, ideas and money in education, innovation and infrastructure. We invest in education because that’s the single best way to prepare our people for work and for life. We invest in innovation because focusing on industries that depend on our kind of concentration of brainpower is the best way to play to our strengths. And we invest in infrastructure because these are the things the public builds as a platform for private investment and personal ambition.
Our strategy is a proven path to job growth, to helping people help themselves. So, tonight, I am asking you to recommit to that strategy and to working together to meet our citizens’ unmet needs.
First and foremost, let’s keep leading in education. Let’s make quality early education and all-day kindergarten available to more young children. Let’s keep lifting higher our strong public schools and keep strengthening our weaker ones. And let’s give our public colleges and universities the resources they need to freeze tuition and fees once again. Let’s keep going.
Let’s keep playing to our strengths by supporting the life sciences and advanced manufacturing, by expanding our clean tech initiatives, including in the burgeoning water technology cluster, by encouraging technology clusters of every kind. Each of these sectors has seen very strong job growth and very strong investment, in both small companies and large ones, well outpacing the average. This is where our present and our future lie.
Working together we can double the size of our innovation economy in the next decade. Let’s keep going.
And let’s keep rebuilding our infrastructure. This year, we will open the Assembly Square station in Somerville and the Yawkey station in Boston; increase commuter rail service to Worcester; resume seasonal service to the Cape; and launch automated tolling. With your help, Mr. Speaker and Madame President, we can begin construction on the Silver Line to Chelsea, the I-91 viaduct in Springfield, and the last mile of broadband in underserved communities. We can hire the builder for new Red line and Orange line trains, and start building them right here in Massachusetts. And yes, in this year, we can accelerate construction on South Coast Rail.
Why Growth Matters
With all of us doing what we can, with effective implementation of our strategy and our eye on the common good, we can be confident of sustained economic growth. 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. Growth matters because it creates opportunity, and opportunity is fundamental to who we are.
Every one of us has a stake in that.
Creating opportunity, keeping the Dream within reach, is the agenda now, just as it has been for the past seven years. Frankly, it is the only agenda I have ever had in this job and the only one worth having.