February 12, 2009

Governor Deval Patrick: Committed to Civic Engagement

YOU MIGHT have heard of Deval Patrick? He is currently the Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the second ever African American elected governor in the history of the United States. Prior to being elected Governor, Mr. Patrick was a United States Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division under President Bill Clinton, and before that he was an attorney and businessman.

The other day I had the distinct pleasure of meeting the Governor. We had an opportunity to talk for a few minutes and since I knew the Governor had done a great deal of work in the area of "civic engagement" that is topic we discussed.

On the Governor's official website in a section entitled "Civic Engagement and Strong Communities," it says in part, 'They are waiting and watching us, you, anxiously to see whether we're going to start acting as if we understand that the chance we have, not just in leadership but as citizens, to act as if we understand that the stake that we have in each other is something we are going to seize.' -- Governor Patrick, Amherst College, 9/8/07.

Keeping our communities safe and fostering creative new ways to involve citizens in their government."

And there are ways to interact and engage listed on that same page. They include Citizen Involvement, Governor's Task Force on Public Integrity, Civic Engagement Times, Town Hall Tour and Staying Informed and Involved Online.

The Civic Engagement Times page says, "Our vision of a civically-engaged Commonwealth is moving forward, and the goal of this newsletter is to increase awareness of the many opportunities to serve, from the Commonwealth Corps to state boards and commissions. We hope you enjoy it, and encourage you to take part in this vital conversation."

Prior to meeting the Governor, I had read each of the five issues of Civic Engagement Times. Therefore I had a pretty good idea of the perspective and ideas that had been shared with the readers - when I asked the Governor about the newsletter he said it was a "powerful" tool to help explain governance and engagement opportunities with the people. (Take a look for yourself by going here).

DP as he is known, has 3,000 contacts stored in his BlackBerry and more than 9,000 Facebook "friends" - and about 750 subscribers to his Twitter feed - including Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Keep up the good work Governor Patrick.

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