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Could Another Chicagoan Become President? Deval Patrick Draws Spotlight

August 03,2017 15:14

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick stands with Beasely Elementary students Friday at a ceremony renaming a portion of South Wabash Avenue near East 53rd Street after him. View Full Caption. DNAinfo/Quinn Ford. WASHINGTON PARK — The days when a ...

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick stands with Beasely Elementary students Friday at a ceremony renaming a portion of South Wabash Avenue near East 53rd Street after him.
DNAinfo/Quinn Ford

WASHINGTON PARK — The days when a Chicagoan called the White House home might seem like a long time ago — but another Chicagoan is being tipped as a top contender for president in 2020.
Politico Magazine reports that former President Barack Obama and his inner circle want Deval Patrick — who served as Masschusetts governor from 2007-15 but grew up in Washington Park on the South Side — to start laying the groundwork for a bid for the nation's highest office.
And Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd) — who backed a push to name a South Side street for Patrick in 2013 — said it would be "very wise" for Patrick to put serious thought into challenging President Donald Trump's bid for a second term, which is already underway even though the Republican took office just six months ago.
"He has distinguished himself," Powell said of Patrick, who grew up near the Robert Taylor Homes and attended Mary C. Terrell School before receiving a scholarship to high school in Massachusetts and attending Harvard University. "He is uniquely qualified to be president."
Because Patrick is familiar with the needs of people in Bronzeville and Washington Park, Dowell said he would be able to translate those experiences to represent "all parts of the country."
Patrick has said growing up near 53rd Street and Wabash Avenue instilled in him a sense of community where each person has a stake in the "dreams and struggles" of every neighbor.
Obama, who adopted Chicago as his hometown, has told associates that Patrick's election would be "the natural continuation of [the former president's] legacy," according to Politico.
Patrick — now working at Bain Capital in Boston — acknowledged that he is thinking about another bid for office.
“I’m trying to think about how to be helpful, because I care about the country, and I’m a patriot first," Politico quoted him as saying. "It’s way, way too soon to be making plans for 2020. So I’ll just leave it at that.”
Since leaving office in 2015, Patrick has kept a low profile. At Bain, he is running a private equity fund that has invested in a chain of gyms in Michigan and Indiana designed to bring new options to underserved areas as well as a Texas firm that diverts organic waste, according to Politico.
Bain Capital was founded by former Massachusetts governor and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who was criticized for using the firm to profit from layoffs during the 2012 presidential election.
Patrick is a member of the board of the Obama Foundation.
The speculation over Patrick's political future began in earnest when Valerie Jarrett, Obama's closest aide, said in May at a hedge fund conference that the former Massachusetts governor would be her pick for the Democratic nominee in 2020.
For Dowell, the prospect of another Chicagoan in the White House would be a feather in the city's cap.
"I wish him the best," Dowell said.

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