AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY:
Governor Deval L. Patrick
CAPATEC Remarks
Sheraton Hotel, Panama City
Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Members of the delegation, honored guests, Buenos Dias y gracias for joining us to discuss ways to collaborate in today's innovation economy. Thank you to CAPATEC for hosting us, and thank you to Dr. Berracol for your overview of the innovation activity here in Panama.

The most productive opportunity we have this morning is to hear from our panel and from you, so I will keep my remarks to a minimum. But I wanted to start by setting the stage for who we are and why we are in Panama.

In Massachusetts, we govern for the long term. That means we try to make decisions and policy choices -- from reforms to new initiatives -- by focusing on the next generation, instead of the next election or news cycle.

We bring that same approach to economic growth. Our strategy is to invest time, ideas and money in education, innovation and infrastructure. We don't presume to substitute for the private sector, but rather to partner with them by playing to our strengths. And with the world in the midst of a knowledge explosion and capital more globalized than ever, we believe it is important not to try to go it alone, but rather to collaborate with innovators, inventors and investors beyond Massachusetts.

So, we have traveled all over the world, renewing relationships and building new ones with business, education and government leaders who are also inventing the future. This week, I am joined by members of my Administration and some of our state’s innovation leaders here in Panama to engage with our counterparts on ways to fuel our respective growth.

Like Panama, Massachusetts has the talent, the know-how, the skilled workforce, and the entrepreneurial spirit to compete in the global economy.  

We both are relying on strong public-private partnerships to create long lasting economic growth. In Massachusetts, we do that by using a disciplined strategy for growth that focuses on education, innovation and infrastructure.

We invest in education because brainpower is our most abundant resource. There are over 300 universities, research institutions and teaching hospitals within a 90-minute drive of downtown Boston, one of the most unusual concentrations of knowledge in the world. Brainpower is as important a natural resource to us as corn is for the State of Iowa or oil is for Texas.

We invest in innovation because enabling and encouraging industries that depend on brainpower is the best way for Massachusetts to take advantage of the knowledge explosion

happening in the world economy today. So, we have successful initiatives to grow the life sciences and biotech, clean and alternative energy, the whole range of digital technologies (from robotics to Big Data and cyber security), and advanced manufacturing.

This includes supporting our entrepreneurship “ecosystem” through technology transfer, proof of concept support, accelerator loans, and grants for early stage companies. You will hear more about those programs during the panel discussion.

And we invest in infrastructure -- the unglamorous work of government -- because rebuilding roads, rails, bridges, expanding broadband to every community, building new classrooms and labs and more affordable housing not only creates jobs right now, but gives private initiative and personal ambition the platform for growth.

Our strategy is working. Massachusetts climbed out of recession faster than most other American states and is growing nearly twice as fast as our national growth rate. We re-gained all the jobs lost in the Great Recession early last year, one of the first states in America to have achieved this milestone, and added more jobs in 2013 than in any single year in the almost 15 years before.

We are first in the United States in student achievement, economic competitiveness, entrepreneurial activity, health care coverage, venture funding, and energy efficiency.

Massachusetts has emerged as the top international supercluster in the life sciences and biotech, and as a national leader in clean and alternative energy, with double-digit year-over-year job growth in the latter sector in each of the last few years.

Advanced or precision manufacturing is a making a strong comeback as well, growing 50 percent faster than the national growth rate. Overall, we are adding high tech jobs faster than all but one other state.

We are here in Panama because we know that if we want to sharpen our edge in the innovation economy, and help to shape the future, we need to partner with other competitive economies and other innovative people around the world.  Panama is too important, too close a commercial and cultural partner to ignore. And with the direct COPA flight now flying daily between Boston and Panama City, collaboration is even easier.

So, we see lots of opportunity here for mutual advantage, and I do want to emphasize the mutuality. I hope we make the most of this time together, and we look forward to the good things that will come to us both as a result.

Thank you again.

To view the related press release, click here.