SUBMITTED RESOLUTIONS -- (Senate - February 28, 2007)
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Mr. KERRY. Mr. President, I would like to take a moment to honor an extraordinary man, a dedicated public servant, and, now, the Governor of my home State, Massachusetts: Deval Patrick. It is particularly fitting that we honor Deval today--during Black History Month--because not only is Deval an outstanding choice to lead our State, but he is only the second African American to be elected governor in American History.
Think about that: the second African American to be elected governor in any of the 50 States of our great Nation. That is pretty amazing. But what is more amazing is that the people of Massachusetts did not elect him because they wanted to make history, they elected him because they knew he was the best man for the job. They recognized that ``Together We Can' was more than just a catchy campaign slogan--it's a philosophy about how to treat people and how to lead them. And it embodies the kind of leadership our State and our Nation are crying out for at this time.
Throughout his entire life, Deval Patrick has been pushing the envelope, striving to achieve what many thought was impossible, overcoming obstacles that might have made others of lesser conviction or determination turn back. After all, this is a man who went from the South Side of Chicago to the Harvard Law Review.
This is a man who was elected President of the Legal Aid Bureau while attending Harvard Law School and who defended poor families in Middlesex County, MA prior to graduation. Let me tell you something, I attended law school, and I worked in the DA's office prior to my graduation. It is no easy task to balance these competing demands, to work with families day in and day out on issues that their lives depend on. It is a truly remarkable achievement.
Yet, Deval's commitment to public service did not end there. In fact, it was just beginning. Deval went on to spend many successful years at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, devoting his efforts to discrimination and voting rights cases. Then, after serving as a Partner at the Boston law firm of Hill & Barlow, he was appointed Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights by President Bill Clinton.
At the Justice Department, Deval served with distinction in this--the Nation's top civil rights post--investigating church burnings, prosecuting hate crimes and abortion clinic violence; holding public employers accountable for job discrimination; ensuring access to housing free of discrimination; protecting the right to vote; and enforcing the Americans with Disabilities Act, and other important civil rights laws.
During his time at Justice, Deval proved that he would fight for justice, that he would fight for individual rights, and that he was not afraid to hold people accountable, even if others found it politically difficult or distasteful.
These are just a few of Deval Patrick's tremendous career accomplishments that lead him to this point in time as my state's newest Governor.
For generations, too many young Americans have grown up with a gnawing sense of doubt: that maybe the best that America has to offer doesn't really apply to them. That's why I am so happy that a generation of children will see men like Deval Patrick in great positions of leadership. And it is my great hope that positive examples like his will lead a new generation of people of color to push this country to ever greater heights.
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