How cool is it to have the Governor of Massachusetts stop by the small offices of WBCR-LP, Berkshire Community Radio in Great Barrington to give a one-on-two interview with local amateur radio show hosts Graham and Barbara Dean?
It was citizen journalism at its finest. Barbara, having met Governor Deval Patrick at another event, simply asked him if he would be a guest on her radio show.
He said sure, she followed up with his staff, and the rest is history!
The half-hour interview will be rebroadcast and streamed on July 11 on the Deans’ show, Common Sense Songs, between 8 and 10 p.m.
The Governor had a lot to say about the hot topics of health care affordability, education, and labor relations.
Calling himself a “labor man,” because of his childhood experience of how his mother’s life improved dramatically when she got a job at the U.S. Postal Service and joined the union, the Governor was also positive about teachers and their union, saying that the secret to an effective partnership with teachers is “respect.”
Lots of politicians talk about respecting teachers, but their actions say otherwise.
Governor Patrick seems to be different.
Under his leadership, new emphasis has been put on “bringing a culture of innovation into every school” by empowering and supporting teachers who have new ideas about how best to meet the needs of their students.
“The question is, how do we tailor education to meet kids where they are,” the Governor said, recalling his own “great public education on the South Side of Chicago. I had inspiring teachers, who loved me and loved teaching and were thinking about educating the whole child.”
He also talked about the importance of focusing on the “whole person” when it comes to health care, and he was justifiably proud of his record in making Massachusetts one of the most progressive states in the country in terms of health care reform.
“Rather than limiting ourselves to the usual choice between doing nothing and going all the way to a single payer system, we made a decision here in Massachusetts to pick a third option, a hybrid, private, market-focused solution in which we require everyone to buy insurance, but we subsidize them if they can’t afford it,” he said.
Under the Governor’s leadership, premium growth in the state has gone from 16% per year to less than 1% increase in the past year.
It made me proud to be a citizen of Massachusetts to watch Governor Deval Patrick taking the time to give a serious, thoughtful interview on our hometown low-power radio station.
As Barbara Dean reminded the Governor at the outset of the interview, he is only the fourth African American to be elected Governor of an American state.
I am glad to be among the many who gave him my vote, and I rest easier knowing he is on the job in Boston, working for ordinary people like me.
Deval Patrick just published a memoir, Reason to Believe: Lessons from an Improbable Life, and an e-book, Faith in the Dream: A Call to the Nation to Reclaim American Values. Youthful politicians who publish memoirs often have their eye on moving up the political ladder.
I hope that Patrick has the stamina and courage to keep moving on and up in American politics. We need more strong men like him to come forward and stand for integrity and social justice in American politics.