Deval Laurdine Patrick (born July 31, 1956) is an American politician, civil rights lawyer, and current Governor of Massachusetts. A member of the Democratic Party, prior to being elected Governor he served as the United States Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division under President Bill Clinton. He was first elected in 2006, succeeding Mitt Romney who chose not to run, and again in 2010. He is the first African-American Governor of Massachusetts.
Born to and raised by a single mother on the South Side of Chicago, Patrick earned a scholarship to Milton Academy in Massachusetts in the eighth grade. He went on to attend Harvard College and its Law School, where he was President of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau. After graduating he practiced law with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and later joined a Boston law firm, where he was named a partner at age 34. In 1994, President Bill Clinton appointed him as the United States Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, where he worked on issues including racial profiling and police misconduct.
Under his governorship, he has overseen the implementation of the state's 2006 health care reform program which had been enacted under Mitt Romney, increased funding to education and life sciences, won a federal Race to the Top education grant, passed an overhaul of state transportation industries to create the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, and increased the state sales tax from 5% to 6.25%. Under Patrick, Massachusetts joined the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and the planned introduction of casinos in Massachusetts. His second term began on January 6, 2011, and in an interview with The Boston Globe, Patrick declared he will not seek re-election in 2014.