Patrick also took time to look back and offer his version of his legacy in office, saying the state was able to rally in the face of daunting challenges while overhauling the state’s pension system and working to bring down health care costs.
“When I came to work here in 2007, I expected to face economic challenges, but not a global economic collapse,” Patrick said. “I expected to face public safety challenges, but not the failure of a key water supply, a tornado, or a terrorist attack.”
Patrick called the April 15, 2013, bombings at the Boston Marathon the most trying moment of his tenure, adding: “But I could not have been prouder of the grace and kindness on display in the wake of the Marathon bombing.”
Patrick ended his speech pledging a strong finish to his second and last term in office.
“Now is no time for valedictories,” he said. “We have work to do. Let’s get to it.”
Rep. Brad Jones, the House Republican leader, called the speech “underwhelming.” Referring to a request by the governor that cities and towns hold the line on property tax increases, Jones noted that property tax relief had been among Patrick’s original campaign promises and he’d done little on the issue during his administration.
“It’s easy to talk about the greatness of the commonwealth,” said Sen. Bruce Tarr, the GOP leader in the Senate. “The governor does it very well. He’s a very charismatic, inspirational speaker, but the fact of the matter is there are real issues that have to be addressed underneath those points.”
Democratic House Speaker Robert DeLeo, who planned to outline his legislative priorities in a speech on Wednesday, said it was time for Massachusetts to show it was serious about attracting new business to the state. He predicted that the House would tackle both unemployment insurance reform and the minimum wage in the coming months.