“She’s a child of the segregated south, a single mother to my sisters and me after my father died when I was a teenager, a woman who did not have the opportunity to attend college,” Cowan said. “But my mother told me days like today were possible. If you work hard and treat people with respect there’s very little you cannot achieve.”
Cowan said he first came to Massachusetts 22 years ago looking for opportunity and was rewarded — finding a career, marrying his wife Stacy and starting a family with their two sons Miles and Grant.
It’s also clear that Patrick, the state’s first black governor, saw echoes of his own life story in Cowan. Like Cowan, Patrick also ended up finding a home, a family and both private and political opportunities in Massachusetts after leaving Chicago as a teenager to attend a prep school in Milton.
Patrick called Cowan’s life story an “affirmation of the American Dream.”
“The commonwealth, and the country, is changing,” Patrick said. “The breadth of diversity of background and ethnicity and race is deeper and broader than ever and I have known for a long time and have believed for a long time that there is talent in every community.”
One thing Patrick said he doesn’t share with Cowan is his sense of style.
“I’m not that cool,” Patrick said.
Cowan opted for a necktie during the press conference. Patrick said his advisers urged Cowan to abandon his bow tie for his first outing as the state’s next senator.
“It’s the only one of their judgments with which I disagreed,” Patrick joked.