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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
CNN's Town Hall with Democratic Presidential Candidate Patrick Deval. Aired 11-11:55p ET
Aired February 6, 2020 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BASH: Welcome back to CNN's town hall event. I'm Dana Bash, live from Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire, where the primary is just five days away. Four democratic candidates are making their pitch right here tonight. We've heard from Senator Bernie Sanders, former Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Senator Amy Klobuchar.
Now it's time for a candidate who entered the race just this past November. Please welcome to the stage former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick.
PATRICK: Hi, Dana. Hi, everybody.
BASH: Thank you so much.
PATRICK: Thank you for having me.
BASH: Nice to see you.
PATRICK: Thank you. Hi, good evening.
BASH: So, Governor, I want to...
PATRICK: They look sleepy.
BASH: No, they're wide awake. Trust me.
We were talking before you came on. So the president today gave a big speech, you might have seen or heard about it, about the acquittal that happened in the Senate yesterday. He said that what he's been through for the last three years was evil and corrupt, among many other things. He insulted the Democrats by name, and he said they want to destroy our country. What's your response to that?
PATRICK: Well, you know, I've been thinking a lot about this, about democracy since this president was elected. It turns out a lot of our democracy depends on unwritten rules, rules around duty and honor and integrity, restraint. And I think what happened -- forget the politics -- what happened was the checks and balances that the founders anticipated would be a part of successful self-governance.
And it would have been wrong, I think, for members of the House not to take this up, in my view. And it was right for it to be taken up in the Senate. And I commend all of the members of the House and the Senate who took this -- this whole episode with a sense of sobriety that was intended, including, by the way, if I may say, Senator Romney, who stepped up. And I tip my hat to him.
BASH: OK, I want to get to the audience, because we have a question on this issue. This question comes from Christina Damian, who is a senior here at Saint A's, currently undecided.
PATRICK: All right.
QUESTION: Hello, Governor.
PATRICK: Is it Christina?
QUESTION: Yes, hi. Good to see you again back here at Saint A's.
PATRICK: Nice to see you. Good to be back.
QUESTION: With the impeachment hearings over, our country is more divided than ever.
QUESTION: As we begin to heal from this ordeal, it's more paramount than ever to come together as a nation. Should you get the nomination, how would you plan to unify our country in the coming months and as president?
PATRICK: Thank you for the question. It's on my mind and heart, too, as I suspect it is on everybody else's. You know, I think the fact that we are divided is one thing. The fact that it's so easy to divide us is another deeply concerning thing.
It's one of the reasons why in something we call our democracy agenda we have proposed essentially universal national service, either civilian or military, as a way to bring people from different parts of the country together to work alongside each other in service of an unmet national need for a year or two or three. Indeed, for every year of service, we provide a year of college tuition and fees, as well.
But just as a step in the direction of helping us know each other again. You know, we live in times where we'd think of each other, we talk about each other as one-dimensional. I don't fit in a box. Most people I know don't fit in a box. But we do this shorthand all the time that squeezes people into the fewest and least complex dimensions as possible so that we can kind of categorize them and move on. And we're going to have to get past that. Beyond that, I would say, you know, I have spent my whole life
building bridges, being a bridge. I grew up on the south side of Chicago, a lot of that time on welfare. And we were talking about this just before coming on. And, you know, the first time -- I can't remember ever a time when I didn't love to read, but I don't remember owning a book of my own until I was 14. And I had an experience through a scholarship to come to Milton Academy outside of Boston.
Now, you have to imagine, that is about as different a place as I had come from -- for me, it was like landing on a different planet. And one of the things I saw was my new friends were interested in my life on the South Side of Chicago, but so much. My old friends were interested in my life -- my new life in Milton Academy, but so much, to the point where it felt like, you know, your admission -- the price of admission to one world was rejecting the other.
And I had to learn at 14 that if I wanted to be able to move among and between different worlds, I had to decide who I was and be that all the time, and effectively be the bridge between differences. So it's a little bit more than you asked for, Christina, but it's basically the kind of man I've tried to be, and certainly the kind of leader I've tried to be.
BASH: On that note, you mentioned Senator Romney, who was your predecessor as governor of Massachusetts. One of the things that the president said today was about Mitt Romney, and he said that he was a failed presidential candidate.
He suggested that Senator Romney used religion as a crutch when voting on impeachment. What did you think of that?
PATRICK: Well, you know, can we please not spend the whole time talking about the president?
BASH: We won't, I promise.
PATRICK: Look, I am...
BASH: Although you do want to try to be the guy who will run against him.
PATRICK: No, I get that.
BASH: So you're going to have to talk about him.
PATRICK: I know. It's important. But I don't want to be understood -- I don't want to be understood by you, Dana, or anyone else as thinking the only path to becoming president is to...
BASH: Well, let me ask you this way, then, because you mentioned Senator Romney. Did it surprise you that he voted the way he did, that he voted, you know, against the president in such a big way?
PATRICK: I don't know him well. He's always been a gentleman to me. But on the point of faith, I mean, I am a man of faith. I have made decisions on the strength of my values, and many of my values are grounded in faith. In fact, it's one of my -- it's one of my frustrations with Democrats. I'm a Democrat, by the way.
BASH: I've heard.
PATRICK: And -- but Democrats get on my last nerve because sometimes we are really squishy about the language of faith, when, in fact, so much of what we are about has its roots in the lessons of faith.
So I remember once we had a crisis at the southern border in the last year I was in office, very like this one, where all these unaccompanied children were coming across, some as young as four, five years old, fleeing violence in Central America. And the authorities were overwhelmed.
And I remember that President Obama asked a number of governors if we would shelter the children for a period of time while they were being processed as refugees. And I agreed to do so. We had the facilities. We had done it before. And I explained my reasoning to the people of Massachusetts as being based in both patriotism and faith, patriotism, because this country has given shelter to desperate children for a very long time.
One time we didn't, we turned a shipload of Jewish children back to the Holocaust. It's been a blight on our national reputation ever since, as I fear the separation of children at the southern border will be.
And I explained my other reasons having to do with faith, that we were taught -- all major religions are taught we are to -- we will be judged by how we treat the least of these. And I believe that. So the notion that faith would bear on his decision or someone else's, particularly when it inspires generosity and fealty to truth and to justice, that seems exactly right to me.
BASH: So let me ask you a question about the race that you're in, the Democratic primary race. You seemed to take a not-so-subtle swipe at Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg over their responses to the Iowa caucuses. You said, quote, "The way to beat Donald Trump isn't to act like Donald Trump." What did you mean by that?
PATRICK: Well, look, I think that the president has left us all feeling bullied, not just Democrats, all of us. And I remember -- I was bullied when I was in the seventh grade, and I remember that feeling of, you know, you sort of swing from rage to resignation and back again. We want to get them, or get even, or we want to just get over.
And I think we're going to have to just outgrow. We're going to have to be bigger than this president. There's a -- in order to win and to govern, to -- to win, and to govern, to get things done on the other side, both of which are important, will require an act of radical grace.
And it's not that I'm -- I'm not angry. I'm angry. Someone asked me the other day, you don't seem as angry as everybody else. I said, wait a second, you know, where I grew up, economic dislocation and the sense that we were invisible, and there might not be a place for us in the economy, and the way opioids came in, the way our issues became issues at election time and not between election time, I've been angry for generations.
That's not enough, because we have to be about setting these bold, progressive objectives and then bringing others in, acknowledging that others may have other ideas about how we accomplish those objectives and how we keep it -- how we keep it going.
So that's how I've won elections and that's how I've delivered on the
very kinds of progressive objectives that other candidates are just talking about.
BASH: OK, let's get back to the audience. I want to introduce you to Kristi St. Laurent.
PATRICK: Hi, Kristi.
BASH: She is a physical therapist from Windham, also a member of the State Commission on Aging and chair of her local Democratic committee. And Kristi is undecided.
PATRICK: Excellent. Hi, Kristi.
QUESTION: Good evening, Governor Patrick.
PATRICK: Good afternoon.
QUESTION: What was the tipping point for your decision to run for president at this point in time and at this point in history?
PATRICK: Wow, wonderful and important question. It was really the midterms. And I'll explain in a second why I didn't come in, in '18, versus last November. But it was the midterms.
I got thinking about it most especially after Charlottesville, which -- you know what I'm talking about, which was just -- you know, I was worried about this president from the beginning. Not surprised that he was elected. Disappointed. And I kept thinking that the gravity of the office would somehow settle on him. It seems kind of quaint to say that now, doesn't it?
And then Charlottesville happened, and I thought, we are in deep trouble. He is bringing out so much of the worst of us. And I've been worried for some time, because I think this cycle, if the character of the candidate is always an issue, this time it's the character of the country.
And then I got involved in the midterms. And I especially paid attention and was involved in 14 races, all so-called red to blue districts or states, because I believe that one of the reasons we don't win in some places is because we don't ask. You know, we don't go. We don't make our case.
And I worked alongside some terrific candidates, all of them progressive, all of them clear about being progressive. But they were asking for people to engage as members of community, not just members of party, but as patriots. What does it take? What does it mean to turn to, rather than on each other?
Fourteen races. We won ten. We lost three by a hair. And one was a do-over in North Carolina because they cheated so badly. And I thought this is -- this is -- I like this. This is important. Because this notion that the president needs to pay attention to everyone, everywhere, I think is critical.
And so we were ready to go. We had a date, a rollout plan in November of '18. And two or three weeks before, my wife, Diane, was diagnosed with uterine cancer. And that's the sort of thing that just brings your feet back to ground, right? So we stepped back. And we celebrated 35 years of marriage in May. She is cancer-free. She's here somewhere. Where are you, Diane?
Yeah. And -- I'm looking for her, but I -- oh, there you are. OK, great.
BASH: There she is.
PATRICK: And if you meet Diane, you will see I married up.
And she, among others, but she first among others said you need to be in. And I think the point is, you know, there's a lot of conversation about late and on time and all that sort of thing. I get it. And I respect folks who have been at it for months and years and raised and spent millions of dollars.
But unlike the other candidates, you know, we all have plans. I have results. And this can't be just about, you know, late or early. It's about who's ready. Right? I have -- we delivered health care to 99 percent of the residents of Massachusetts. We have a nation-leading model for addressing climate change. We have the highest student achievement in America and have closed achievement gaps. We came out of recession with a 25-year employment high, so job creation.
I've dealt with disasters, natural and manmade, and a terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon. I've done and made the kinds of executive decisions that presidents have to make and delivered those progressive results. And that is a record of experience that no one else in this race can offer.
BASH: Governor, I'm curious. You talked about your wife's cancer diagnosis through the context of the question you were asked, which was about when you announced for the campaign trail. But I just want to ask you about it on a human level, as a husband...
BASH: ... what that moment was like.
PATRICK: You know, there's a -- we talked about this a lot. There's a weight of the word, the diagnosis itself. It just has an emotional weight.
And at the time that we got Diane's diagnosis, we didn't know what was ahead. It was dealt with -- it was discovered early, it was dealt with -- is it OK to say, surgically, and with a little bit of radiation. It was an incredible blessing to have found it as early as they did. And I won't get into all of the details, but there were other -- there was another cancer, harder to find, that was found very early and it's hard to detect.
So I just -- I feel overwhelmingly blessed. And I would not do this if we were not able to do it in partnership because it's just -- Diane was a -- can I say? I keep asking for permission.
PATRICK: This is why I've been married for 35 years because I keep asking for -- Diane was a brilliant, but reluctant first lady of Massachusetts. And, you know, this would -- running for president is hard. Whenever you get in, it's hard. It's demanding, it's draining, it's intrusive. She is a private person but an incredible, incredible leader, particularly around early childhood education, which is her first profession before becoming a lawyer around domestic abuse.
Diane is a survivor from her first marriage, and around issues of anxiety and depression, which she has managed for her whole adult life. And she has been terrific, a terrific leader in those respects as well.
BASH: Well, everybody is obviously so glad that you're doing well. And we wish you well.
BASH: Thank you.
BASH: Go back to the audience, and bring in Tara Michaud, a high school teacher from Nashua who is undecided.
QUESTION: Good evening, Governor Patrick. I'm a high school English teacher and I'm concerned about guns in our schools. My brother was also the victim of a mass shooting in New Bedford, Massachusetts, 13 years ago. What will you do to ensure that my parents will not lose two children to gun violence and that my students will not be afraid to go to school every day? PATRICK: Oh, Tara, thank you so much for your question. And thank
you for your service.
Doesn't it just blow our minds that we're -- I talked to a teacher the other day who was asking me a similar question about -- a younger classroom, but about how do you prepare a child for active shooter drills? How did we come to this? There is -- I share the consensus that I'm confident is -- exists in America around most or many gun safety measures, national registries, background checks, closing the gun show loophole.
This is one of these issues that has to be dealt with at the federal level. We have some of the best laws in America in Massachusetts. They were good before I was in office and we added to them. But it doesn't much matter if you can buy a crate of guns elsewhere and bring them into Massachusetts. We have to have -- we have to have a federal solution.
I would also ban assault weapons. And I would do a voluntary buyback, as well. I believe there is consensus on many of those, and other, measures. I think there's a reason why we don't get action on measures -- on that measure -- these measures and others like it around which there is a large consensus and that is because we've been treating our democracy for a long time as if it would tolerate limitless abuse without breaking.
We keep engineering obstacles to get democratic outcomes out of our democracy, the gerrymandering, the vote suppression and purging, the amount of money, much of it dark, in our politics today, the influence of lobbyists. All of that is what we get at in the Democracy Agenda that I referred to earlier, which would be the very first legislative package I would send forward.
Because without that, moving so much, so many of the big ideas that I and others have, will be doubly difficult. So that's some of how I think about it, thank you.
BASH: Thank you so much. I want to go back to the audience, our next question comes from Brenda Bouchard, who is a retiree and an activist for Alzheimer's awareness. She's from Portsmouth and supports Mayor Buttigieg.
QUESTION: That's correct.
PATRICK: Hi, Brenda.
QUESTION: Hi, thank you for taking my question.
PATRICK: Of course.
QUESTION: So my husband passed away two-and-a-half years ago
after living with younger onset Alzheimer's disease for 12.5 years. My mother has Alzheimer's. And my sister was diagnosed with Alzheimer's a year-and-a-half ago. Five-point-eight million Americans are living with Alzheimer's, or related dementia, today. And it's projected by 2050 that 14 million Americans will have Alzheimer's.
BOUCHARD: So my question is, what will you do to address this national public health crisis and the impact that it's having on millions of families across the country each and every day?
PATRICK: Yes, Brenda, thank you for your question.
QUESTION: Thank you.
PATRICK: I also -- my wife and I have been touched by Alzheimer's. Diane's mom lived with it for 10 years. It's an unbelievably cruel demise. And, first of all, my heart goes out to you, I'm sorry for your own suffering and for the suffering of the many, many others you referred to.
We have a crying need for deep investment in research around Alzheimer's and other chronic and disabling diseases. We used to do this in a robust way through National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and others. We need to get back into that business.
By the way, it was the withdrawal, in part, of that kind of research that has a link to why we pay higher drug prices today, right? We used to invest in basic research through government, much further along the development chain, if you will. So that when it came to -- when it comes time to commercialize, the private investment is smaller and therefore the need to harvest a return is not as great.
This is beside your question. But there is -- first of all, let me say, I'm committed to science. Isn't it a ridiculous thing to have to say? But there you are.
PATRICK: You have to be about science. And we have to invest in basic research at the government level, excellent research at the government level, because that is one of those long-term investments that serves our long-term interests. And that kind of leadership is exactly what I think I want to be and what we have been lacking, I think, for a long time in our government. Thank you.
BASH: Thank you so much. I just want to ask you one question about President Obama.
BASH: Your friendship, your close political bond, I'm not asking you to divulge any private conversations.
PATRICK: Yes, don't, because I'm not going to.
BASH: I'm not. I'm not. But I'm just wondering if you can kind of let us in on one really important piece of advice that he has given you.
PATRICK: Well, let's see. So you know he and I have known each other for 15 years, before he ran for anything. And I remember when he first ran for state senate. He called me up and he said, Deval, he said, I'm ready, I'm running, and I said, it's about time, I can't wait to help, I want to donate at the max. And he said, well, he said, Deval, in Illinois, there is no max.
PATRICK: I said, brother, there has to be a max, I'm sorry.
I was so, so proud of his run for the United States Senate. And I went to see him when he was unpacking his boxes in the basement of the Senate office building when he just -- when he was just moving in. And I said, you know what, Senator, I'm thinking about running for governor. And he said, huh. He said, you got any money? I said, no. He said, you got any team? I said, no. He said, what's your name recognition? I said, 1 percent, 2 percent on the days when we're bragging. And he said, I'm in. And he was incredibly helpful.
You know, we have traded advice, not so much on policy, because we're aligned pretty generally on policy, but on method, really, about the importance of running and connecting at the grassroots, about the importance of inviting people from the sidelines to come in and take responsibility for their own civic and political life.
You know, he's -- he warned me, I think, just because he had -- you know, he had to about how hard, how mean and dehumanizing it can sometimes be to run for office, particularly for the presidency. But we've also talked about how many
acts of extraordinary grace and kindness that you're shown, usually in private moments when not everybody's looking and people just share these incredibly intimate insights into how they live their lives.
And if you're listening hard, as I try to, they make you better at being a candidate and, frankly, better at being a public servant.
BASH: Thank you for that. We're going to take a quick break. When we come back we're going to have a lot more questions for the governor.
PATRICK: Thank you.
BASH: Don't go away.
BASH: Welcome back to a live CNN DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL TOWN HALL with former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick.
Governor, you mentioned before that you grew up on the South Side of Chicago.
BASH: You were raised largely by a single mother. And in your book you describe how your family relied on welfare and that there were some nights where, because there weren't enough beds, you slept on the floor.
PATRICK: Not some nights.
BASH: A lot of nights.
PATRICK: Yes, so they...
BASH: What did that teach you?
PATRICK: Well, listen, so we lived there on the South Side in our grandparents' two-bedroom tenement. My grandparents, my mother, my sister, and, as is true in a lot of multi-generational households, you know, other members of the family came and went. And my mother and sister and I shared a set of bunk beds in one of those rooms. So you go from the top bunk to the bottom bunk to the floor, every third night on -- on the floor.
You know, there were a lot of things we didn't have. You know, we had big and broken and under-resourced, sometimes violent public schools. But we had terrific teachers. We had broken sidewalks and broken families, but we had a strong community. Because that was a time when every child was under the jurisdiction of every single adult on the block, right?
You know what I'm talking about? You messed up down the street in front of Ms. Jones, she'd go upside your head as if you were hers.
And then she'd call home, so you got it two times.
And I think what those adults were trying to teach us is that membership in community is understanding you have a stake in your neighbors' dreams and struggles, as well as your own, that we belong to each other and that we're supposed to do what we can to leave things better for those who come behind us.
And I'm glad you asked me about growing up on the South Side of Chicago. Because it gives me a chance to talk about that, for me, formative principle about building community. And -- and it's the -- it is a -- it's a guidepost for -- for my leadership and my life.
BASH: OK. Let's get to the audience. I want to bring in Sam Hammond (ph), who works for a local nonprofit in Nashua...
PATRICK: Hi, Sam.
BASH: ... and is leaning towards supporting Senator Warren.
PATRICK: All right. It's not too late, man. Come on.
QUESTION: After serving as governor of Massachusetts, you joined the private equity Bain Capital, as a directing manager.
PATRICK: I did.
QUESTION: Many Americans are already skeptical of large corporations' influence over policy decisions. If you are elected president, how can we trust your ability to regulate an industry you so recently worked in?
PATRICK: Thank you for the question, Sam. I'm glad I have a chance to talk about my work. I founded a fund at Bain Capital to invest in companies for social and environmental good. Because I wanted to prove what I believe to be true, which is that this notion of having to trade financial return for -- for social good was a false trade all along, that you don't have to.
So, for example, we invested in a company that diverts green waste from landfills, where it would otherwise break down and turn into methane, and instead recycles it and sells it back as composted soil or ground cover; or a company that delivers quality health -- quality dental health services for poor kids, a big, big gap in our -- in lots of states' health care systems; or another company that was creating tech hubs, outsourcing hubs, in smaller-size towns, the downtowns had been hollowed out, as a way to catalyze economic activity in places that had been left behind by the economy we have -- we are becoming.
And we proved, at scale -- I'm very proud of this -- that we could get a competitive return and have measurable, meaningful social and environmental good. And that is good because capitalism has a lot to answer for, and we have -- we've been practicing a kind of capitalism, I think, in this country for a long time that was all about short-term gains, next quarter's results, sometimes, I think, you know, without due regard for the long-term interests in the enterprise, of the people in the community and the planet.
And it explains why -- not all -- but why a lot of what has happened around us in our economy has happened. And we've got to get back to a different -- or get to a different definition of long-term value. And that is what I set out to do. And I think it's an incredibly important proof point for business generally and for investment in particular.
BASH: OK. Let's get back to the audience, to Catherine Corkery, who's chapter director for the New Hampshire Sierra Club, from Concord. She is undecided. PATRICK: OK. Hi, Catherine.
QUESTION: Good to see you again.
PATRICK: Nice so see you.
QUESTION: Thank you. And this, kind of, gets at what you were talking about, leaving what we have better for the next generation.
QUESTION: And I'm really concerned about climate change...
QUESTION: ... and the climate crisis that we are in. And I know you have a plan. And many of the hopefuls in the field have a plan to address climate, and I really appreciate that, and your record.
PATRICK: I feel a "but" coming.
... but I want to know, what is it about
your plan that is the best to deal with the climate crisis, the emergency...
QUESTION: ... that we're facing. And -- and if you could be specific about what you're hoping to do, shifting away from fossil fuels and -- and taking the climate action within the first 100 days?
QUESTION: Please be specific. Thanks.
PATRICK: Sure. Thank you. Thank you, Catherine.
So a couple things I would say. First of all, my plan is built on things we actually did and accomplished. We joined the regional greenhouse gas initiative in this region, as you know, on the first day I was in office. I think it was the first day. It might have been the second -- which is, for those who don't know, a cap-and-trade system.
We used all of those proceeds to invest in energy efficiency in Massachusetts, retrofits, you know, tighter windows and -- tighter windows and doors, insulation, subsidies in particular for working people, incredibly meaningful in terms of their costs and their comfort. It also helped catalyze a new -- a new industry, a whole bunch of
jobs. We closed the remaining coal fire power plants. We set very ambitious -- indeed, the most ambitious goals in terms of reducing emissions, the most of any other state.
They were goals that we were meant to achieve in eight years. We achieved them in three. And so we set them again.
By the way, if Massachusetts were a country and a signatory to the Paris accords, we would have met the goals of the Paris accords six years ago, ago -- ago, OK?
We went from 900,000 megawatts of alternative energy generation to 4.7 million megawatts of alternative energy, most of it solar, some wind. And -- and in the meanwhile, we created this -- we created this whole new tech industry, clean tech industry, which was one of the fastest growing in the -- in the commonwealth, and one of the reasons why we came out recession faster than most other -- most other states.
The only thing we haven't done, and that I am open to, is a carbon tax. I'm open to it. That might be, and some have suggested that's a better idea than a cap-and-trade. But in my view, it works best if we take, just as in the example I offered of the cap-and-trade system, if we use all of the proceeds to plow them into moving us faster to a green -- to a green future.
I'm going to say one other thing. We do -- we do innovation pretty well, historically, in America. We don't do transition as well. In fact, I'd say we stink at it.
We get around to the impact of moving to that next new thing later, if at all. I'd like us to be more intentional about transition. You know, you -- it's not going to help to go to coal country and say, "You know, you're bad."
I get it, but it's not going to help. These are folks who've made a way off of -- off of coal, in some cases, for generations.
But how about if we went to coal country, for example, and said, "Look, the stone age didn't end because we ran out of stone; we got a better idea." And the same thing is true today. The carbon age is going to end because we have a better idea, and how about you take a part of it? How about you take, for example, wind development, you build the blades here?
So you understand what I'm trying to say? So we're not leaving people behind. We're making people a part of the new world we're -- we're building. And I think that's pretty darn exciting to think about and to implement.
BASH: Governor, before you were governor, you were a top executive at Texaco. I know some of the work you did there was altruistic, but it's a really big oil company. Any regrets, at this point, working there?
PATRICK: No, no. I went there because they had a broken hiring and promotion system. They were sued. I was appointed by the federal court to oversee the -- the implementation of their new programs. I did that for a number of years and then went in.
And there are black people and women who got jobs and got promoted who weren't able to before and were able to build a way forward. I'm also proud of the fact that the five of us in that executive team led Texaco, the very first big
oil company, out of that coalition that -- of oil and gas companies that was funding the so-called science, or the opposition to climate change, very first company to come out. We -- we did massive investments in clean and alternative energy because the leadership understood that that's where we were -- where we were going.
No, I'm not -- I'm not at all -- actually, it reminds me to come back to something Sam asked about. You know, it is important to understand how business works, how the private sector works. It represents the biggest part of our economy. And it turns out we have allies there too, right? We have allies. We have folks who want progressive outcomes. They want the same things we're talking about, in terms of a better future for themselves and their -- and their families, and they recognize that government has a role to play in -- in that.
So, you know, I don't do, sort of, guilt by association. Some -- some people do. But I think, you know, there are all these false choices. We get peddled in -- in politics. I said I'm earlier, I'm a proud democrat, I don't think you have to hate Republicans to be a good Democrat. I don't think you have to -- I don't think you have to hate business to be a social justice warrior. I don't think you have to hate police to believe black lives matter.
But you understand what I'm saying? We get sold these competing slogans. And -- and, you know, you've got to choose one slogan or another to, sort of, prove your bonafides, rather than getting down to the business of solving problems.
BASH: OK, Governor. We're going to have to take a quick break. Stay right there. We've got a lot more with the former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick.
BASH: Welcome back. We're live in New Hampshire with former Massachusetts governor and Democratic presidential candidate Deval Patrick. Let's get straight to the audience and bring in Mary Woods, a consulting nurse and licensed alcohol and drug abuse counselor, and an undecided voter.
PATRICK: Hey, hi, Mary.
QUESTION: Good evening, Governor. Welcome to New Hampshire.
PATRICK: Thank you.
QUESTION: As I know you are aware, because you've had to deal with this, the block grants for the treatment of mental illness and substance abuse have created huge bureaucracies that make states' ability to individualize their response very difficult.
QUESTION: And as you know, the needs of rural communities are much different than the needs of manufacturing communities. And the way the block grants are conceptualized, that formula is you have to be like an MIT professor to figure out how states get funded. So what would you do to reform the block grant system?
PATRICK: So I think the simplest response, Mary, is simplify, simplify, simplify. Flexibility -- you know, there's so much need for resources. And the need, as you said, is different from community to community.
And when we are dealing with the kind of public health emergency we are around both substance use disorders and mental illness, we have to trust local leadership and local decision-makers to make decisions quickly that get relief to people.
You know, we had -- and when I say -- I mean, both the folks who are dealing with the disorders and their families, who are just so turned upside down. I know, because when I talked about opioid addiction, this was not just in our neighborhood, it was in our home on the South Side of Chicago. I watched my uncle shoot up and I watched how it tore the family apart, how my grandmother, his mother, was torn between, you know, fury and pity and compassion, and how that complicated her relationship with my grandfather, and on and on.
I mean, it's -- and so the notion that you're waiting for a formula to be figured out before you can get relief is not tolerable. So I think of this in terms of how we simplify it. But beyond that, I don't have a specific answer yet. So leave your name, because I'll come find out what you would do.
BASH: OK, let's bring in Daniel Murphy, a student here at Saint A's, and an independent voter who is undecided.
PATRICK: Hi, Daniel.
QUESTION: How are you doing, Mr. Patrick? First, from a Massachusetts resident, I want to thank you and welcome you to Saint Anselm College.
PATRICK: Thank you.
QUESTION: Some believe that rising taxes again is a good idea, but with $22 trillion in debt, with the record amounts of revenue coming into Washington, isn't the real problem just uncontrolled spending? PATRICK: Daniel, it's not -- there is no "the problem." There is a
problem of purpose and direction and efficiency, in my view. I think we should -- I mean, for example, to the point about simplicity I was making to Mary, I think we should radically simplify our corporate and our individual income tax system.
And while I do not support a wealth tax, I do support raising the estate tax. I think it ought to go back up to 55 percent, which is where it was the time before -- time before last. We know it works. I think about that as nonrecurring revenue. And I would use those revenues in part to pay down national debt.
The other things we have to do, though, are invest in the things that enable us to grow, because that's the other solution to our national debt. And so education, innovation, infrastructure, a formula that we used to terrific effect in
Massachusetts and I have seen elsewhere, is something we need to scale. A dollar we spend in education, the single best dollar the public spends on our collective best interest and future.
Innovation, because we can own the knowledge economy going out. What we have to do is spread it out, so it's not concentrated just on the coasts, for example. And infrastructure, which is the unglamorous work of government, but it supports everything else. And it creates jobs right now as well as a platform for growth out into the future. So it's both of the things. It's a different way to use some of our resources, but also investing in strengthening our future.
BASH: Governor, please meet Meghan Sullivan, who is a student also here at Saint Anselm and is also undecided.
QUESTION: Good evening, Governor Patrick.
PATRICK: Good evening.
QUESTION: As a senior applying for jobs out in the real world, many companies look for leadership skills and different leadership styles. Since you will be the leader of our nation, how would you describe your leadership style?
PATRICK: I have -- thank you for the question. So, I have led as head of the Civil Rights Division in the Justice Department, as head of the legal aid bureau when I was in law school, as a senior executive in two Fortune 50 companies, as the founder of a company, and a governor. And in every one of those, I looked for people who were smarter than me. I looked for people who didn't agree with me on everything, who would make me -- who would challenge me and be -- and be self-confident enough to do so. And I looked for people who would stretch me, who would bring me new ideas, new people, new ways, and perspective.
And I think of my -- I think of my leadership as having been improved by having both confidence and humility. I remember, there's a line in -- that Louis Pasteur I think said that -- he described education as being able to listen to anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence. And I love that line. And I guess I think of myself as an educated leader. Does that make sense?
QUESTION: Thank you.
PATRICK: Thank you.
BASH: OK, Governor, we have about a minute left, but I want to ask you this question as we end, and that is, this race on the Democratic side started out as the most diverse field in history.
BASH: And right now, you are the only African-American candidate left in the race.
I know, I'm sure you didn't know.
PATRICK: Breaking news.
BASH: No, what does it mean to you? I mean, why do you think that is? And as you think about that going forward, what goes through your mind?
PATRICK: You know, we have had -- I'm proud as a Democrat and as an American that the field has been as diverse as it is, and so much talent, so many different perspectives. There was always going to be a winnowing, I understand that. That starts on Tuesday. And -- but I think, you know, there is so much advantage given to celebrity and wealth, whether it's your own or what you have raised over periods of time. And there is -- and I think that does make it harder for some of us.
Now, it's a very diverse country. And whoever is the nominee -- and with your help, I hope I am -- has to be interested and committed to governing everyone everywhere, serving everyone everywhere, whether they look like you, voted for you, are in the same party as you or not. And in that respect, both as a style of leadership to the earlier question and a personal commitment as a human being, that's what I'm all about.
BASH: Governor, thank you so much.
PATRICK: It's good to be with you.
BASH: Appreciate it. Thank you so much. Thank you all for being here. Thank you for watching. Thank the audience, of course, for your fantastic questions.
Be sure to watch CNN's special live coverage of the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday. Right now, "Cuomo Primetime" starts from right here in New Hampshire.