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Gov. Patrick seeks re-election amid recession and strong rivals

Associated Press | 4/15/2010, 10:02 a.m.
eval Patrick in support of his upcoming re-election campaign. The event brought out top party faithfuls, including l-r Democratic National Chairman and former Governor of Virginia Tim Kaine l, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and wife Angela Menino. Patrick held his campaign kick-off rally Saturday, April 11, 2010 at Boston English High School in Jamaica Plain. Don West

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Gov. Deval Patrick kicked off his campaign for a second term on Saturday, saying he wants the chance to complete some of the governmental and social transformation he has begun, while a crowd of boisterous police officers reminded him of some of the tumult during his first three years in office


Carol Fulp (center) hosted a fundraiser at her home for Gov. D

Gov. Deval Patrick greets members of the National Honor Society at English High School in Jamaica Plain during a recent visit to the school.

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The Democrat said he expects a three-way election this fall will offer voters a choice between continuing with his efforts to improve the state, especially in implementing health care, education and transportation overhauls, or backtracking under the leadership of his Republican or independent opponents.

He alluded to Republican Charles Baker and state Treasurer Timothy Cahill, a former Democrat running for governor as an independent, though he did not mention them by name. Christy Mihos is also seeking the GOP nomination, while Grace Ross is challenging Patrick for the Democratic nomination and Jill Stein is running under the Green-Rainbow Party banner.

“The challengers are good people, decent people, but they have a very different idea about what the moment presents, and about the importance of investing in the here-and-now and building a stronger commonwealth for the future,” Patrick told a crowd of supporters inside the Owl Diner, a hotspot in this former mill city.

We have a very strong record to run on, and notwithstanding that, there are going to be a whole lot of things said — some of them being said outside right now — that are not true, and that folks who say them know are not true. But they say them because that is the kind of politics that we have to be about changing,” the governor added.

Outside the diner, more than 100 Lowell police officers and their supporters protested Patrick’s appearance, the first of a weekend barnstorming tour built around a formal kickoff speech at Boston English High School.

The officers complained about Patrick’s decision to replace uniformed police officers with civilian flaggers at some local and state road construction sites, and also to cut back on state funding for supplemental pay officers receive if they get advanced law enforcement degrees.

“Deval Hates Cops,” said one sign. “Deval Is An Elitist,” said another. As the governor entered the diner, one of the protesters asked, “Where's the Cadillac?” referring to an early controversy about his decision to replace his state-issued Ford sedan with a Cadillac.

Despite their protest, Lowell’s police unions have contracts guaranteeing the city will cover any lost state funding for the educational pay. The contracts also ensures that officers must be used for all details on city streets.

Some police unions, including the one representing State Police troopers, endorsed Patrick's Republican opponent in 2006, and since then, he has heard other unions complain as he has combined agencies in a massive transportation overhaul. The head of the state’s AFL-CIO union had to implore his members to support Democrat Martha Coakley over Republican Scott Brown in the state’s recent U.S. Senate special election, though many defected anyway.