By PAULA TRACY, InDepthNH.org
CONCORD – Former Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick threw a last-minute hat in the ring to run for president on Thursday saying he feels he can bring that special something that seems to be missing from the race.
“There is a once in a lifetime appetite today to bring big solutions – big enough for the challenges we face – but I think there has to be more than the big solutions,” Patrick said speaking to reporters at the Secretary of State’s Office at the State House.
“We have to use those solutions to heal us.”
Many of the candidates are his friends, Patrick said, happy to speak indoors out of the cold with his wife, Diane, at his side.
“They have made me proud to be a Democrat. But in many ways it has felt to me watching the race unfold that we are beginning to break into two camps of nostalgia on the one hand and big ideas sort of my way or no way on the other.
“I think we have to be about how we bring people in and how we bring people along and how we yield to the possibility that somebody else or even some other party may have a good idea, as good or better than our own,” Patrick said.
Patrick is the 18th Democratic candidate to enter an unusually crowded field. He explored making a run last year, but decided against it because his wife was fighting cancer, and has since fully recovered.
“The American dream has become more and more out of reach over time,” Patrick said.
And the anger and anxiety people feel as a result is not only justified. It’s familiar.
Patrick felt the same feelings when the steel mills closed in Chicago when he was growing up on the South Side and when opioids took over in the community to fill that void.
With only a day to go before the deadline closes to make it onto the New Hampshire first-in-the nation primary ballot, Patrick, a businessman, author and civil rights attorney spoke of his humble origins growing up in Chicago.
His family sometimes relied on welfare and although the public schools were underfunded, inadequate and sometimes violent, he learned a sense of community from the adults and families who watched out for each other.
Yes, he said he is coming late to the race, but is ready.
“I’m excited. I’m humbled. I’m fired up…’ Patrick said.