Deval Patrick's Western Mass Swing
I attended the Northampton event -- hopefully, Michael
will write about the ones he went to.
It was a large turnout (60+) on a rainy Saturday afternoon. Bright yellow t-shirts from the convention were worn by a few local delegates supporting Patrick. I've now seen him so many times, that you'd think I wouldn't see to much new -- there were a couple of interesting highlights.
A questioner lamented the lack of foreign language education in our public schools, pointing out the benefits in dealing with an ever more global economy -- she specifically pointed out that there is a crisis in America in that we don't have enough Arabic speakers (which we need for a variety of reasons). Deval answered with an Arabic phrase (he learned conversational Arabic while serving for the UN in the Sudan).
Totally new question -- Frances Crowe
, local activist legend, asked about peak oil
. Deval had worked at Texaco and spoke a little about their view of oil supply but ended saying that he didn't care if we were swimming in oil, we need renewable energy now. As an aside, Frances is tireless in raising the awareness of this issue, and I have attended one of her showings of the The End of Surburbia
at her house. One of the most disturbing documentaries I have seen, in that they don't try to propose a solution -- the intent is more to ready you for the inevitable.
There was an interesting question about the media at the top of the event. He spoke about what it was like to deal with the media first hand -- most interesting was the revelation that some outlets will not cover the race until later this year (I wonder if they will refrain from commenting on name recognition -- see this for the explanation of the media two-step
Also notable, no Coke question (he had to bring it up himself in Amherst, because it wanted it out of the way, and it was not one of the first two questions). Since, I know for a fact that at least half of the audience knows what the coke question is (either because I have spoken to them about it or they were at the Amherst event), then they must be satisfied with DP's answer and want to move on, which I think is a good sign. Also, single-payer healthcare was not as big an issue as it was in Amherst, but that's probably because the activists in attendance already know his answer (and there were many there) -- from what I gather, the single-payer proponents want to move things offline, and engage the campaign constructively and deeply on this issue -- also a good sign.
Not to be lost in these highlights are of course his big three priorities, Jobs, Education, and Healthcare. Please check out the videos on his site
for his direct message.
I spoke to many people afterwards and there was much excitement for DP, some local organizers wanting to get involved.