When you elected me as your Governor, I promised to be the governor of the whole Commonwealth. That means getting out of the State House and its sometimes inward-looking focus, and staying connected to you in your own neighborhood. It means hearing directly from you.
Thatâ€™s why this summer I am once again traveling to communities across the state to hold a series of informal town hall meetings. And on Thursday, July 23, I will be in Roxbury at the field behind Shelburne Community Center, 2730 Washington Street at 6:30 p.m.
You can learn more about the town hall meetings and find a full schedule at mass.gov/governor/townhall .
Last summer we held 14 of these meetings across the Commonwealth. Over 1,000 residents turned out to raise hundreds of challenging, interesting concerns: from a dairy farmer in Rehoboth who asked about farm subsidies to a woman in Great Barrington who opposed the Iraq war; from an Amesbury resident who suggested an alternate pension funding system to a nurse in Hull worried about staff ratios. I donâ€™t pretend to have all the answers. But in every conversation I learn things that help us make better policy.
On July 23rd, I hope you and your neighbors will come out and talk with me and each other about the challenges and possibilities facing our communities and our Commonwealth. I want to talk about the tough economic circumstances we are all facing, the work we are doing to create jobs and improve education, and the reform agenda we have been pursuing on Beacon Hill. And I want to hear what ideas you have for how we can better serve you and your families.
Iâ€™ve learned in my job that, no matter how certain I am about the right thing to do, there is always another side to the story.Â Usually, thereâ€™s more than one other side.Â Thatâ€™s what makes our work and our approach to governing so exhilarating: the opportunity to consider all the different viewpoints, to debate publicly the multiple ideas and passions that people bring to the table, and then to follow a path forward the serves the common good.Â
Meeting our challenges and working together to strengthen our communities must begin with civic conversation. We canâ€™t work with each other if we donâ€™t talk with each other.
Despite the unprecedented economic challenges before us, I have confidence in the Commonwealth and her people. I know that if we see the stake that each of us has in our neighborsâ€™ dreams and struggles, as well as our own â€“ and act on that â€“ our better tomorrows will come.
I hope to see you on July 23rd.
Deval L. Patrick is the Governor of Massachusetts.