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No more GC jobs for Deval Patrick. he’s ready for a chief executive post � specifically, governor of Massachusetts. Patrick, the former general counsel of The Coca Cola Company and Texaco, Inc., is currently seeking the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in the Bay State. In February he prevailed in precinct caucuses by a 2-to-1 margin over his main opponent, state attorney general Thomas Reilly. The two candidates will next clash in a June convention, and then in a September primary, with the winner facing off against the GOP nominee this fall. Throughout his career Patrick has ping-ponged among the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. Stints at two Boston law firms in the nineties were interrupted by a short stop at the U.S. Department of Justice, where he headed the civil rights division under President Clinton. Patrick took his first GC job at Texaco in 1999, and jumped to Coca-Cola in 2001. During his three years as Coke’s top lawyer, Patrick reorganized the company’s legal department and softened a hard-line legal stance in favor of a more conciliatory style. But he also had to guide the company through several high-profile law suits and two federal investigations. Patrick left Coke at the end of 2004, with two years remaining on his contract, and rejoined his family in Massachusetts. In April 2005 he announced his candidacy for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. Patrick recently spoke to contributing writer Tamara Loomis about what makes him run. Q: How has your experience as general counsel helped you prepare for your political candidacy? A: All organizations are political to some extent � it’s part of human behavior. Managing through the politics of competing personal and business agendas is part of any successful general counsel’s job. Q: How would your GC background help you govern Massachusetts? A: I understand how important it is that the laws we pass and enforce make sense in practice � that they achieve their intended goals. I also understand how vital it is that the people who serve in government be serious, responsive, and transparent. Every general counsel has had the experience of trying to get his or her client to comply with the law. I learned to develop rules of the road that are easy for businesspeople to understand. Q: You’ve frequently moved from the nonprofit to the public to the private sector, but in each instance an opportunity presented itself that you seized. This time’s a little different. What made you decide to run for governor? A: Actually, an opportunity presented itself here, too. We are at a crossroads in Massachusetts where we have to consider whether yesterday’s greatness will assure tomorrow’s. … I am convinced that weak leadership and the same old thing from the same old insiders will not move us forward. I stepped forward as the alternative. Q: Some previous businessmen turned politicians, like New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, campaigned on the promise to run government more like a business. Do you anticipate making management changes as governor, and if so, what do you have in mind? A: I intend to organize my administration in whatever way is most likely to deliver the services of government most effectively. The job requires numerous appointments, so I am sure there will be management changes as well. But I think any candidate who tells you that government should be run like a business is missing something. For one thing, there is simply more collaboration required for the successful functioning of government than is common in business. For another, I saw waste and excess in business that should never be tolerated in the public sphere. Q: You’ve talked about the value of government/business partnerships in stimulating the economy. What kind of experience did you have with partnerships like these at Texaco and Coke? A: Government is largely about problem solving. And in my experience, the best problem solving is collaborative. For example, while I was at Coca-Cola we got great results in a whistle-blower case involving allegations of accounting problems once we formed a real partnership with [whistle-blower Matthew Whitley] and the Securities and Exchange Commission. … I’ve been on the other side, too, as head of civil rights at the Justice Department. I’ve seen over and over that you get better results when you engage in a collaborative effort, rather than just by hurling hyperbole and accusations at each other. Q: Would you ever consider another general counsel post? A: Truth be told, I prefer the chief executive role.

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