Governor Patrick hosts Ethnic Media Roundtable

by James Ostis

Governor Deval Patrick (D)-MA

Governor Deval Patrick (D)-MA

On February 20th, for the first time, KhmerPostUSA was in attendance at Governor Deval Patrick’s Ethnic Media Roundtable discussion at the Massachusetts State House.  Since first taking office in 2007, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has pledged his commitment to reaching out to all the residents of the Commonwealth. One of the ways in which he reaches out to specific audiences in the state is through engaging directly with the ethnic media outlets multiple times per year.

The governor, who had earlier in the day presented his reform package to reduce prison recidivism, met for an hour with representatives from several local and regional papers from throughout the state, discussing both his reform package and the topics important to the communities represented. Asked about following the REAL ID model of New York State for undocumented immigrants, Patrick offered the pros and cons of a dual identification system.  The governor also offered his advice for whomever follows him in the office next year (After serving two terms as governor, Patrick is not running for reelection in the fall).

Answering a question from KhmerPost’s Soben Pin, Governor Patrick also addressed the language and cultural barriers for immigrant business owners in communities such as Lowell. In discussing existing small business support programs, Patrick noted “I want to acknowledge the practical barrier that language has for programs that are otherwise good.”

Governor Patrick also recalled his “fabulous” visit to the Merrimack Valley Sandbox, expressing what a great time he had talking with the entrepreneurs and mentors of the Accelerator Program after an invitation from Sandbox founder Desh Deshpande.

Ethnic Media RoundtableAs he prepares to leave office next January, Governor Patrick was asked about his legacy concerning immigrants in the Commonwealth.  Citing his support for policies such as the DREAM Act and in-state tuition benefits, “I think all of you are going to probably write my legacy. I’ve tried my best to make this a welcoming environment for people who are not originally from here.”

In reflecting on Patrick’s term in office, Josiane Martinez, Executive Director of the Office for Immigrants and Refugees said, “The Commonwealth right now is more inclusive, more accessible, and more sensitive of the immigrants and the refugee community.”

This article appears in the March 7th, 2014 Edition of KhmerPostUSA

Previously: Governor Patrick touts entrepreneurship, Sandbox, in visit to Lowell


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