Is Governor Deval Patrick considering the possibility of running for president? "The short answer is: kind of, but not very seriously," Patrick told Jim Braude and Margery Eagan on Boston Public Radio's monthly feature “Ask the Gov."
He continued: "Frankly, it still blows my mind, because I'm a kid from the South Side of Chicago. I have the one political job I've ever had. I'm focused on that 120%. When I'm done, like I've been saying, I intend to go back into the private sector. I owe my wife and my family that. What the future holds, the future holds. But I'm not organizing or planning for a future political campaign."
Other highlights from the interview include:
On $110 million being cut from convention center expansion funding:
Patrick responded to news that $110 million from convention center expansion funding was jettisoned over concerns it was originally included as a hidden hotel subsidy. "Consciousness has been raised on Beacon Hill, let me put it that way, about that side deal," he said. "I think there’s some explanation that’s due all of us before that part becomes approved.”
Overall, however, the Governor stood by plans for the convention center's $1 billion expansion. "There aren't many other venues of this scale, of what this would be, where large conventions can go. Those are money-makers. That has a big economic impact on the city and the commonwealth."
On allegations of nepotism at the Probation Department:
Patrick expressed dismay at allegations that the hiring process at the Probation Department was altered to favor weak but well-connected candidates, but withheld any further, more specific judgment, citing the fact that the trial was ongoing. "If the allegations are true, it's outrageous whether it's unlawful or not. I'm saying they haven't been proven yet," he said.
On the opioid epidemic in Massachusetts:
Patrick described what he called an "extraordinary spike" in addiction and overdose deaths from prescription painkillers in Massachusetts -- a spike he attributed, in part, to the overly liberal prescription of these drugs by doctors. "Don’t get me wrong, pain management is tough. It's art, its not a science," he said. "But you may have a couple of days of pain following a procedure, but you get a vial of 30-60 pills."
"The prescribing of these very dangerous and highly addictive narcotic painkillers has been a problem,” Patrick continued. The Governor recently announced a $20 million initiative to combat the opioid epidemic, and vowed to continue his efforts to limit the sale and distribution of the controversial new prescription pain medication Zohydro, despite his emergency ban on the drug being overturned in April.
In response to a call from a listener who asked if he has considered running for president in 2020:
Hear the full hour of "Ask the Gov" with Governor Deval Patrick below.