Deval Patrick focuses on national tones on Missouri trip

ST. LOUIS, Mo. — Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick told Missouri Democrats the party should focus on touting their ideas as they move to elections in 2014 and 2016.

Speaking at the Missouri Democratic Party’s annual Jefferson-Jackson dinner in downtown St. Louis, Patrick said the ideas of the modern Republican Party prioritize power, not policy.

“We need to be just as clear about what we’re for,” he said, pointing to education, job creation, and the idea that the “American dream and that it ought to mean something in people’s everyday lives and imaginations.”

Patrick reiterated some of the themes from his widely watched speech to the 2012 Democratic National Convention, where he touted his life story growing up in a poor neighborhood in Chicago and contrasting that with the story of the lives of his children.

“One generation and the circumstances of my life and my family’s life are completely transformed,” he said. “That story is told more often in this country than any other place on earth. That is America’s story.”

Patrick also touted his own record — laying claim to an improved Massachusetts economy, health care, energy efficiency, and marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples.

“If we want to move our country forward and earn the privledge to lead, we need to stand up for what we believe,” he said. “What the country craves and what Democrats are poised too offer is better than the politics of convenience – it is the politics of conviction.”

Patrick was introduced by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, who praised him as an inspiring leader in the national Democratic Party.

“Deval Patrick inspired us with his words at the DNC last year,” Nixon said. “He inspired us with his leadership following the bombings at the Boston marathon.”

Patrick raised some $200,000 for Democrats Saturday night, a source said. After speaking to the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, Patrick quickly slipped out for a private fundraising event at the home of Democratic activist and Hillary Clinton political confidant Joyce Aboussie.

In his remarks, Nixon joked that it has been a “very busy week” for him, as he has criss-crossed the state touting vetoes and signing bills passed by the General Assembly. Nixon was critical of the legislature for passing bills “to fix problems that don’t even exist” and ones that contain “drafting errors and careless mistakes.”

Nixon, who campaigned hard during the first half of session to expand Medicaid using federal funds, said he was confident that someway, somehow Medicaid would be expanded in the state.

“We will strengthen Medicaid and get health care to working Missourians,” he said. “We’ll be sure that the politics of healthcare gives way to policy.”

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