Governor Deval Patrick & Lt. Governor Tim Murray
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Governor Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Murray sign the last beam to be placed before the “Topping Off” Ceremony at the Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital. (Photo credit: Matt Bennett/Governor’s Office)
Summer is a time when we try to slow down and enjoy the good things in life: barbeques, concerts, baseball games and perhaps a vacation with family or friends. As summer comes to an end, we want you to know that we’ve been busy at work for Massachusetts.
We were proud to be re-elected as your governor and lieutenant governor in 2010, and we continue to move forward on an ambitious agenda that builds on the work of the first four years. We are focused on job creation, closing the achievement gap in our schools, reducing health care costs and preventing youth violence. We are also increasing resources to end family homelessness, support our veterans and revitalize our Gateway Cities.
We set those goals because achieving them will expand opportunity in every corner of the Commonwealth, from Pittsfield to Provincetown.
We are proud to report what we’ve accomplished:
We called for the means to contain the rising cost of health care. In August, we celebrated the passage and signing of landmark health care cost containment legislation that is estimated to save Massachusetts businesses and families nearly $200 billion over the next 15 years. With over 98% of our residents insured today, we’ve shown the nation how to extend coverage to everyone. Now we are poised to do the same on controlling costs.
We called for unifying our community colleges so they could be more responsive to employer needs for skilled workers and help get people back to work. Earlier this summer, we enacted legislation that better positions our community colleges to train workers to fill the over 140,000 open jobs in Massachusetts.
We called for investments of money and ideas in our public schools, especially in our Gateway Cities where we are leaving too many kids behind. This year’s budget makes record investments in Chapter 70 and other funding for public education.
We called for a balanced crime bill with both habitual offender and mandatory minimum sentencing reforms. Now we are set to protect the public from the worst offenders and initiate commonsense sentencing laws for non-violent drug offenders.
We’ve invested a total of $200 million in communities across the state through a transportation bond bill to put people back to work and repair our broken roads, rails and bridges. We’ve delivered on municipal health care reform, saving communities well over $100 million already while respecting the role and voice of labor. We passed an expanded gaming act to create jobs and economic development in every corner of the Commonwealth.
Funding and services for our veterans and military families are stronger than ever before. Increases for housing and financial assistance, a partnership with business associations and companies to promote the hiring and training of skilled veterans and a new web portal – MassVetsAdvisor.org – to make accessing state and federal benefits easier is making life better for our heroes and their families.
We are combatting family homelessness by staying true to our housing first strategy and moving forward on reforms and investments that help families stabilize and avoid shelter in the first place.
None of this has been easy or quick. Progress takes time and persistence. But it has been worth it – because through partnership with you, the Legislature, municipal, community and business leaders, we are making the Commonwealth stronger.
And it shows. Massachusetts leads the nation in economic competitiveness. Unemployment is well below the national average, and our economy is growing faster than the nation’s growth rate. Our students lead the nation in student achievement, year after year. We are first in the nation in veterans’ services. We are home to a booming start-up economy, the number-one life sciences super cluster in the world, and a clean tech sector that grew jobs at a rate of over 11% this year. We are shaping our own future, and it is a promising one.
Our work is not complete. We still need a long-term solution to our transportation financing challenges. We still need a wholesale fix for our system of mandatory minimum sentencing early in the next session. We still need to drive down health care costs and invest in education, innovation and infrastructure. This is a strategy that works and that helps keep the American dream within reach for all.
We look forward to working with our partners across the state over the next two years to fulfill our generational responsibility and leave a better, stronger Commonwealth than we found.