, Gloucester, MA

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April 16, 2007

Despite stumbles in first 100 days, Patrick finds job 'a gas'

BOSTON - As he prepared to mark his 100th day in office, Gov. Deval Patrick acknowledged making mistakes that led to the early missteps and stumbles of his new administration.

After taking office Jan. 4, Patrick took heat for upgrading his official car to a Cadillac while asking state officials to cut their budgets. He spent $27,000 to redecorate the Corner Office. And he was forced to defend a call he made to Citicorp, a bank regulated by the state, on behalf of his former employer, subprime mortgage lender Ameriquest.

Looking back at the start of his governorship, Patrick said that being a candidate didn't prepare him for the constant scrutiny that comes with being the state's chief executive.

"The hardest part of the job to get accustomed to the pervasive intrusion into every corner of your life," said Patrick, speaking in his redecorated office on the eve of his 100th day in office, which fell on Friday the 13th. "You're never not governor."

Patrick has reshuffled his inner circle, most recently naming Doug Rubin, the architect of his unlikely political triumph, as chief of staff. In recent weeks, he's been traveling the state to build support for an agenda that includes closing so-called corporate tax loopholes to pay for property tax relief.

Patrick's early North of Boston supporters say the new governor has regained his footing.

"Most new governors get a honeymoon," Sen. Susan C. Tucker, D-Andover, said. "I think Gov. Patrick took a cruise on the Titanic. But the ship is back on course."

Patrick's tenure hasn't been all trouble.

He pointed to his success getting the Legislature to unanimously pass a $1.47 billion bond bill to pay for critically needed road and bridge repairs, and working with insurers to develop affordable health care plans for moderate-income residents - an important part of ensuring the landmark health care reform law works.

Other accomplishments include his recent work to secure a federal disaster declaration for Gloucester fishermen. And he cited his administration's effort to identify more than 360 businesses that either want to relocate to Massachusetts or expand here.

Patrick also talked about his Municipal Partnership Act. The proposal would allow cities and towns to raise revenue from meals and hotel taxes, taking pressure off the property tax, which produces most municipal tax revenues.

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