Governor Deval L. Patrick
Commonwealth Compact Remarks
May 23, 2008
On Friday, May 23, 2008, Governor Patrick spoke at the public launch of the Commonwealth Compact. The Compact, being convened by the McCormack Graduate School of Policy Studies at UMass Boston, seeks to increase diversity in the Bay State by encouraging people of all races, religions, nationalities, and genders to live and work in Massachusetts. Governor Patrick highlighted some of administration's diversity commitment, as evidenced by Executive Order No. 478 and yesterday's Access and Opportunities announcement.
My Grandfather swept the floors of a bank on the south side of Chicago for 55 years, and when he passed away, the chairman of the bank came to his memorial service and said that had it been a different day, my grandfather would have retired as chairman of that bank himself. I think that day is here. And it's up to us to seize it.
The Commonwealth Compact, at its most fundamental level is about dispelling the notion that we have to choose between doing well and doing good. It's about demonstrating in practical terms that diversity is not just about our idealism; it directly benefits our social and economic interests. Better access and more inclusion in healthcare, education, the job market and so many other places, help drive innovation and cut costs in things like human services.
So we put forward efforts like Commonwealth Compact. Not because we are sentimental about diversity, but because we know that the best way to a prosperous community and future is through broad opportunity, equality and fair play.
China and India and other countries continue to build their educational and economic infrastructures, and their middle classes are expanding. So it's our economic imperative as well, to make sure that all of our residents have the opportunity to play a role in our state economy and in our social opportunities. In an area of limited population growth in Massachusetts, now more than ever, we have to make sure that all of our people are engaged and ready for success. That's an economic imperative that applies to all, including woman and minorities, to individuals with disabilities, to members of the GLBT community, to the immigrant communities as well.
There is concrete evidence, as you've heard in detail from Steve, of what's happening here in Massachusetts. In the life sciences sector, one of the key drivers of our economic success, one in four New England start-ups has an immigrant founder. According to the Immigrant Learning Center, biotechnology companies in New England with at least one immigrant founder produced over 7.6 billion dollars in sales, and employed over 4,000 workers in 2006. That's very good news. And we'd be nuts not to take advantage of that.
But also, it's a telling example of how the tone we set for diversity in our community affects our communities and our economic future. Consider that Massachusetts is home to some 16,000 Hispanic-owned businesses, and is in the top 10 nationally for businesses owned by Hispanic women. As of late last year, only 1 percent of that 16,000 were certified with SOMWBA, our State Office of Minority and Women Business Assistance.
So we've put in place new leadership and staffed up at SOMWBA and have connected some businesses with some very lucrative deals. Last year, an electric company owned by a Latina went from 150,000 dollars in annual sales to a 4.4 million dollar contract with the University of Massachusetts. Opportunities like that are waiting all across the Commonwealth, and I there are a couple of you hear I know who are looking at each other and looking at me saying, "Tell me where to get that contract." We are about doing just that.
In state government we have been moving to create an atmosphere of inclusion in hiring, board appointments, and enhanced access to state services and contracts for all Massachusetts residents, and we're starting to get results. Within our first month in office, I signed executive order 478 reestablishing our commitment to promote the hiring a diverse workforce. That executive order also outlined a specific process to implement the hiring of people with disabilities, resulting in the creation of the Disability Task Force to establish and implement best practices for recruiting, hiring, and promoting persons with disabilities. 14,000 executive branch employees have been trained on the Commonwealth's diversity curriculum since we took office, doubling the last administration's results.
We've been thorough in ensuring that managerial hires reflect the diversity of the Commonwealth. So far, out of 770 managers hired or promoted one in five is a minority, over half are women. On our state boards and commissions, 9 out of 10 appointments were new to their boards rather than reappointments; and of those new appointments more than a quarter are minorities- many appointed to boards like the Mass Turnpike, the MBTA and the Board of Education. In over 80 trustee positions, 35 percent have been minorities. And on another very important note, 54 percent of appointments to boards and commissions have come, and understand the spirit in which I say this Mr. Mayor, from outside of greater Boston. We see, and it's simply because I ran to be Governor of the whole state, and it is important that we draw on that talent from beyond Boston as well.
We're seeing, we announced just this week our access and opportunity agenda, which builds on last year's executive order and is very much in the spirit of the Commonwealth Compact. The goal is to reexamine the way that we do business in state government in order to identify, understand, and act upon institutional obstacles that might be holding people back. We've entrusted Ron Marlow who is here, well known to many of you, to lead that effort as the new Assistant Secretary for Access and Opportunity within the Executive Office of Administration and Finance. And Ron, we look very much forward to working with you and to the results that you will help us produce.
So these are just some of the ways in which we've been working to bring about demonstrable change and access and openness to state government. The Commonwealth Compact could not come at a better time in my view.
And one of the really most touching moments of this extraordinary adventure we've been on - I remember the night of the inauguration, there was a gathering at the convention center, maybe some of you were there, and I remember Dianne and I went out on the...we went from room to room and we went into one of the larger rooms and out onto the stage and I looked out and the variety of people - folks who always go to things like that and folks who never go to things like that - the high and the mighty and the meek as well, side by side celebrating with us. And I remember observing the variety of people in that room and the diversity in that room and saying at the time, "Get used to it." Let's get used to it. That's a very good thing for all of us.
For too long, too many folks who represent the diversity of our city and our state have been left out in the cold. Now Boston, we've made some good progress. Boston's a minority-majority city. One thing I love about our city is that our diversity is not confined to one or two neighborhoods. Some of you might think so, but I'll take you on a tour of Boston. It's a different city today than it was fifteen years ago.
Every neighborhood in Boston has a piece of that diversity. That's what makes us a strong city. We encounter it in nearly every corner we go into, which like I said, strengthens our city so much. From Hyde Square to Maverick Square, from Dorchester Avenue to Hyde Park Avenue, you can hear the 140 languages, taste the ethnic foods, experience the different cultures that enliven Boston.
Yes, our city had some issues in the past, and Steve talked about some of them. But there are a couple things I just want to point out, Bill Russell who's up there, you know we had the convention in Boston four years ago, he participated in the convention; because you know what he said the minute I talked to him, Boston's a different city today, than we he played basketball. And that's why was here in Boston and that's why he comes back to Boston so often. It's not that city that he played basketball in; it's a much more welcoming city. And if anybody knows Bill Russell, he speaks his mind.
And also the other issue that I want to say is, last week the Globe published this wonderful poll, did you see that poll? I was in it. But the issue that I paid attention to the most, only 1 percent of the folks who were polled in that poll, of all 500 people, only one percent talked about the issue of race in Boston. Now ten years ago, fifteen years ago, twenty years ago...that would have been thirty-five, forty, forty-five percent; but only one percent. We are making some progress. But we do have problems.
We have made great efforts, including aggressive recruitment and campaigns and opened our new office to Bostonians in the city to enjoy, to ensure the make-up of the government reflects the diversity of our citizens. We have achieved some great results. I'm proud that people of color occupy nearly half of all my appointed board positions. But more work needs to be done; not just in Boston and not just in the public sector, but across the state and across all sectors. And the Governor has made great strides for the Commonwealth in his administration for making sure that diversity is represented in his, that diversity is part of his administration.
That's why we're here today. The Commonwealth Compact will build on previous successful strategies while bringing new ones to our table. It will hold our collective feet to the fire through benchmarks and standards we'll help drive progress across our state.
Now if you're here this morning, you've signed, and you don't want to be held to those standards, please remove your name from the Compact. Because this is what it's all about. It's not just putting your name on a piece of paper so you can get some good accolades, it's about how we're going to continue to make it happen.
I want to encourage everyone, especially our friends in the private sector to be part of this Compact. It's not just the right thing to do; it's the smart thing to do - because diversity can be one of our greatest competitive advantages. But only if we channel it into opportunity and promise. To succeed in today's global economy, we all need a diverse workforce, at every level, equipped with a broad range of experience. We compete against seas around the world. The more our workforce reflects the global population, the better prepared we'll be to succeed in today's flat world. Already, many minorities and women are fueling our city's key industries.
But Boston's diverse population is growing. We have ten thousand people that have been added to Boston's population since 2000. This creates an even greater opportunity to position Boston for future success. However, we need to make that opportunity more available to people of color at every level, from the stock room to the board room, because Boston and Massachusetts work best when we work for everyone.
When we work to create more opportunities for hardworking and talented people of color and women, let's also tell our success stories too. Boston and Massachusetts have changed. It's our job to tell the story of our world. When people ask about us, tell them about some of the success stories we have right here in this room this morning; the many men and women of color who are shaping the future of our city and the Commonwealth. If I could have all my women stand up...I have more women in my administration than men. I have a caucus of men because they figure they're getting short changed.
Much work remains. But let's also recognize the progress we've made. We've made progress. Working together, we can cement our reputation as a welcoming place of opportunity and achievement for all people.
And I just want to finish up and say that, two things: not just to have people on our boards, not just to have people in the workplace, but also purchase products from minority owned businesses, women owned businesses...that goes a long way. Lisa Williams down there in the technology business she has on Washington St. just last week she was honored to be one of the most hundred most progressive businesses in the country. Trish, where's Trish from Dancing Deer she was honored. You know, we've got to support these folks, folks.
And the final commercial I'm going to have is I need summer jobs. And I've got all these people who aren't going to let it go.
This morning I'm most excited about the possibilities that are being created right here, right now as we launch the Commonwealth Compact. The Commonwealth Compact is a unique and innovative opportunity to harness the power of our diverse communities, recognizing that that power increases our competitive advantage in every aspect of our civic life. I see the Commonwealth Compact as a catalyst for creating a space for respect and tolerance, for creating a space for recognizing and understanding difference, and for creating a safe space to step out of our comfort zones and really embrace, sincerely and honestly, diversity.
I see our spaces transformed in spaces that reflect the color of our communities. Now, these are honorable but lofty goals, and it would be naive of anyone in this room to think that we just found the solution to our branding and image problem in Boston and Massachusetts; clearly this is just the beginning. This initiative will require a great deal of effort from all of us, especially in engaging everyone - not just everyone in this room as we try to preach to the choir. This initiative will require an honest, introspective reflection of our belief systems and biases. The key for the success of the Commonwealth Compact with be determined by a concerted effort in not only serving the members that we might call today "Compacters" once a year to see how they're progressing in the benchmarks, but also supporting their efforts on a regular basis so they enthusiastically, sincerely, and wholeheartedly, adopt and commit to the principles of the Commonwealth Compact.
As you know every year the Boston Magazine puts together the power issue and this year, the cover has a close-up photo of our mayor, Mayor Menino. And I think it's a good step, the Commonwealth Compact, to really create, to really embrace the difference of our city and our state and start showcasing that not only in the power issue of the Boston Magazine but in every board room, in every corner office, in every hallway, and in every community of our wonderful Commonwealth.
I am a native Puerto Rican. I was born and raised in Puerto Rice. I moved to Massachusetts to come here to UMass Boston so I'm back into my home. I'm back into my alma mater. And I should only hope that I'll be back someday again in a different capacity walking these halls. But as I came here, I came with the idea that I was going back to my native San Juan to work. However sixteen years later I'm still here - in Boston, in Massachusetts and I'm proud to be here. And I want people from all walks of life throughout the country and the world to understand the advantages of living in this great state of Massachusetts. And the Commonwealth Compact, I hope, will help us achieve that.
So I want to close my remarks by telling you about two little people that I'm the most proud of: my two sons Carlos and Antonio who are nine and six respectively. They, well what can I say as a mother right first of all, but putting that aside. I have honestly tell you-very honestly, that they are bright, they are caring, they are great students, they are wonderful athletes, they have a precious and artistic sensibility, and a contagious and wonderful sense of humor. I see beauty in them, and I see a beautiful future for them. One that is filled with unlimited potential to reach any and all the goal that they set for themselves. And just like my sons, and like the Mayor mentioned, there are millions of children and youth all across the Commonwealth and specifically children and youth of color that are deserving to get into those board rooms and those corner offices and today there is hope for them. And I thank you to all of the organizations who already have signed up for the Commonwealth Compact and encourage those who haven't to do the same.
So just like many of you who have helped pave the way as I said earlier, for me to be on this stage today representing the new generation of leadership, I hope that the Commonwealth Compact continues to pave the way for Carlos, for Antonio, and for all the children and youth of color in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts so they can become the leaders of the next generation.
Thank you very much and have a great day.