Part 3: Mayor Menino and Governor Patrick
I was surprised when I got to the event and saw both Mayor Menino and Deval Patrick sitting in the front row. It made me feel good that people who have the power to institute change think that the topic of this event was important enough for them to attend. Both Mayor Menino and Governor Patrick spoke at the event and each had great things to say. Menino’s speech was shorter and less interactive than Deval’s but it had some great points nonetheless. The main theme of his speech was collaboration. Collaboration was a main theme of the night and it seemed to be the consensus that to make Boston a better place to live and work we need companies, industries, and people of different kinds to come together and come up with and execute new ideas. This is similar to the idea behind Boston’s new Innovation District, which is a project that Mayor Menino is involved in. He spent the majority of his speech talking about the new district on the waterfront and the potential for collaboration in Boston. I was impressed that Mayor Menino used the word collaboration as much as he did and that it seemed to be so important to him. He also said that he wanted to “have a conversation” with the city. Hearing him say that he wanted to get feedback and respond seemed to be a big development in his leadership style.
Mayor Menino did a good job speaking but Deval Patrick was fantastic! He was funny, passionate and charismatic. He began by throwing out the speech he had written to “have a conversation” with the audience in attendance. Governor Patrick continued the mantra of collaboration by emphasizing that everyone needs to do what we can for a better commonwealth. One thing that resonated with me that Patrick said was “our natural resource in Massachusetts is talent.” I never thought about it that way but it is very true. When you think about all of the talented people that have come out of Boston it really starts to add up; even the ideas for two of the most successful companies in the world, Facebook and Microsoft, were conceived in Massachusetts.
Patrick talked about how when you’re new in any other place your neighbors will bring over a pie to welcome you to the neighborhood. But in Boston you’re the one that is expected to bring the pie. This is a true New England mentality that people who have lived in Boston all their lives have grown up with. However, not everyone in Massachusetts and the rest of the northeast is like this. The Governor said, “We need to be about looking out and showing people that we’re open to talent.” Also mentioned was the idea that perception has become the new reality. For example, I grew up in Seattle and no, it doesn’t rain all day everyday. If it is perceived that Boston has terrible weather year round then that is a lot of people’s reality of Boston.
Governor Patrick said that we need to create a new perception of Boston, one where the sun is shining, the nightlife is great and the people are friendly. Obviously some of these things do actually have to change for Boston to be an even greater place to live. We can’t control the weather but we can try to do something about what time the bars close and having the T run later. These were two things that Deval Patrick touched on in his speech and he seemed hopeful that someday, sooner rather than later, these changes may be a reality. Governor Patrick ended his speech with saying that it is all of our responsibilities as workers and residents to pay attention to these kinds of conversations because only through everyone one listening and contributing to the conversation will there ever be any change.
Written by Alex Corrado