A Pathway to the American Dream

I have had the opportunity to personally live the American Dream, and I am running for president to ensure the path to that dream is open to everyone, everywhere.


I grew up in poverty on the South Side of Chicago, in my grandparents’ crowded two-bedroom tenement. I went to big, broken, overcrowded, under-resourced, sometimes violent public schools, schools with beleaguered yet often inspiring teachers. My early lessons were never about blind optimism. “Hope for the best,” my grandmother would tell us, “and work for it.” Optimism and effort — and an unspoken trust that America would provide a fair chance.


But over the years, we’ve seen the American Dream grow further and further out of reach for more and more Americans in more and more places. We’ve seen the steady retreat from public schools, the persistent unwillingness to rebuild broken things and neighborhoods and people. We’ve seen attention paid to certain fortunate corners of the country while smaller cities and towns and rural communities — and even poor neighborhoods in those otherwise flourishing big cities — see mostly neglect.


It doesn’t have to be this way. There is a way forward that’s not about holding others back, without blaming the unknown or fearing the future. There is a way to build together.


I know because that’s what we did in Massachusetts, where I served as governor for two terms. We faced the worst economic crisis in a generation but, because we stuck together, made shared sacrifices to enable shared prosperity, we emerged stronger on the other side. After eight years of hard work and focus, Massachusetts ranked first in the nation in student achievement, health care coverage, energy efficiency, veterans’ services, and entrepreneurial activity, to name just a few.


We need leadership that’s about bringing us together, not tearing us apart. We need leadership that’s about leaving things better for those who come behind us. We need leadership that understands that unity makes us not only stronger but successful. That’s the kind of leadership that produced results in Massachusetts, and I will take that same approach to the presidency.


Renewing the American Dream requires we deliver on our bold campaign proposals: an Opportunity Agenda to grow our economy, create better jobs, create wealth for more people in more places; a Reform Agenda to fix those big systems — including health care, immigration, criminal justice, and taxes — so that they align with our values and enable, instead of impair, the American Dream; a Democracy Agenda to enable our democracy to serve all people, not just the powerful and the well-connected; and a Leadership Agenda to rebuild our power and influence in the world on the strength of our military, our economy, and our values.


We will prioritize investments in early education and the clean energy economy, reform our criminal justice system, and institute a universal national service program. As we did in Massachusetts, we will make sure that everyone has access to health care, and work to bring the cost of that care down.


Changes that meet the scale of our national and global challenges. Changes that last, will require more than indignation, however righteous it may be. Changes that last require leadership that can build bridges. Because more than the character of the candidates is at stake this time. This time it’s about the character of the country. This time it’s about renewing the American Dream so it works for everyone everywhere. This time it’s about whether we are prepared to do the work of rebuilding our national community, for today and for tomorrow. That is the work I will do as president.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Born on the South Side of Chicago, Deval Patrick was raised by a single mother and spent much of his childhood on welfare. Deval became the first in his family to attend college and law school at Harvard College and Harvard Law School, and after graduation, joined the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and led the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, where he worked on issues like racial profiling, police misconduct, and the mistreatment of incarcerated individuals. He was appointed as the Assistant Attorney General by President Bill Clinton, coordinating the investigation of arson at black churches across the South.


After spending time in the private sector, where he fought to make the workplace more equal and inclusive, he launched a campaign for Governor of Massachusetts. Despite starting with 0% name recognition and running against a sitting Attorney General and Lieutenant Governor, his grassroots campaign built an unprecedented movement. He won a landslide victory in the general election and became the state’s first black governor. By the end of his second term, Massachusetts ranked first in the nation in energy efficiency, first in health care coverage, and first in student achievement. After ranking 47th in the nation for job creation under his predecessor, Governor Patrick’s leadership brought Massachusetts to a 25-year employment high and established the state as a global center for life sciences, biotech, clean tech, and advanced manufacturing.


After he left office, Deval joined Bain Capital to launch an impact investing fund. This new fund, Bain Capital Double Impact, has invested hundreds of millions of dollars into mission-driven companies that target both social and environmental good.


Deval and his wife of 35 years, Diane, have two daughters, Sarah and Katherine. He and Diane have dedicated their lives to lifting the voices of others and will bring their commitment to public service to the White House. After having the opportunity to personally live the American Dream, as President of the United States, Deval will fight to ensure the path to that Dream is open to everyone, everywhere.

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04 Jan 2020

By Deval Patrick