Gov. Patrick: ‘Our Best Days Lie Ahead’

Gov. Deval Patrick is administered the oath of office by Senate President Therese Murray, left, as his wife, Diane, holds the Bible at the State House Thursday. (AP)

BOSTON — Deval Patrick said Massachusetts has reason to be hopeful, as he begins an ambitious second term as governor.

In his inaugural address on Thursday, Patrick invoked the same values of optimism and leadership he campaigned on. Patrick promised improvements in job creation, education, health care and public safety.

“Four years ago, I challenged you to take a chance on your own aspirations — on hope for an economy based on innovation and opportunity, on hope for better schools and universal health care, on hope for better politics,” Patrick said.

Since then, Patrick boasted, Massachusetts has become a national leader in health care coverage and education, and the state weathered the global financial collapse better than other states. A confident governor pressed on, promising progress in the next four years.

Gov. Deval Patrick gives his inaugural address Thursday. (AP)

Gov. Deval Patrick gives his inaugural address Thursday. (AP)

“That means jobs to create, schools to strengthen, health care costs to reduce, and urban violence to end,” he said. “This is no time to be satisfied.”

He pledged to remove barriers to doing business here — by easing regulation, lowering the cost of health care premiums, investing in small businesses and simplifying the tax code. Patrick also said he plans to travel more, serving as chief lobbyist for Bay State businesses.

On education, Patrick pledged to close the achievement gap between the state’s white and minority students. “Being first in the nation is a good start. But being first in the world is where we are headed,” he said.

Patrick said health care must be “as affordable as it is accessible,” announcing he would soon file legislation to lower costs, improve transparency in billing, reform malpractice law and reduce paperwork.

The governor said he would work to reduce violent crime but admitted his own frustration with the state’s staggering crime rate. Boston’s homicide tally for 2010 was a high for the decade.

“We can’t be satisfied until children stop killing other children,” he said.

Patrick concluded his speech with the same message of optimism that carried him to office in 2006.

“In that same spirit of service and sacrifice, we embark on the journey of this second administration, humbled by the public trust, invigorated by the task, confident in our plans, committed to our responsibility to build a better Commonwealth, and certain that with optimism and effort, and the grace of God, our best days lie ahead,” he said.

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