|Deval Patrick does some baby-kissing at Friday's Democratic rally at Itam Lodge.
We didn't make Gov. Deval Patrick's meet and greet at Richmond Consolidated School on Wednesday night, but we were there for a rally at the Itam Lodge in Pittsfield on Friday night. More than 100 Democrats were at the event to cheer Patrick on to a second term.
Patrick's been keeping a slim lead in the polls against his closest opponent, Republican Charlie Baker; independent Tim Cahill and Green-Rainbow candidate Jill Stein have been trailing in the single digits.
Baker isn't likely to be much of a threat in the blue Berkshires, where many believe Patrick's kept his pledge to be "governor of the entire state." "I don't take any part of it or any voters of it for granted," said Patrick. He's held two campaign stops here in the last week.
Local Democrats running for office were on hand, although Gailanne Cariddi will have an easy victory in the 1st District on Nov. 2 (she's the only one on the ballot).
Pittsfield Mayor James Ruberto, one of Patrick's biggest cheerleaders, challenged party members to turn out 80 percent for the former Clinton administration official.
Patrick, meanwhile, pointed to pension and ethics reform he's pushed; consolidation of the state's transportation departments and investments in education, life sciences and green technology. But his administration has been overshadowed by sinking revenues as the state dealt with the global financial crisis. The recession has cost jobs and cut billions from the state budget affecting programs and departments.
Recent news on the jobs front was mixed — the state gained jobs or lost them, depending on the report — but the Democratic incumbent said the news was hopeful. "The point is we still have a lot of people who need a way forward in this economy," he said. "We're climbing out this hole faster than the rest of the country."
The way to do it isn't to create more unemployment, he said, taking a swipe at Baker's proposal to cut 5,000 state workers. Rather, he said, the best path was continued investment in innovation, education and infrastructure. "Because we've invested in growth, our revenue is returning in step."