Deval L. Patrick (D)

Thursday, November 9, 2006

Former federal prosecutor Deval L. Patrick made history, becoming the first African American to be elected governor in Massachusetts. Patrick, a Democrat, beat Republican Kerry Healey by a wide margin. He was assistant attorney general in the Clinton administration, and played a key role in helping post-apartheid South Africa construct civil rights laws.

Patrick, 50, is a newcomer to the often-claustrophobic Massachusetts political scene. He signaled his intent to run for governor in 2005. He has championed wind power and state health insurance, and opposes the death penalty. He favors giving illegal immigrants access to driver's licenses, in-state college tuition rates, and other social services.

Patrick was born on the South Side of Chicago to a poor family on welfare. A studious child, Patrick enrolled in the Milton Academy in Massachusetts, through a program that sends promising minority students to top-flight prep schools. Patrick graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He is married and has two daughters.

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