Gov. Patrick to take $150,000 trip to Europe

At an estimated cost of $150,000, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is traveling to Europe next week for a five-day trip, that he said will enhance the Commonwealth’s global economy.
In what his team has termed an “Innovative Partnership Mission,” Patrick and 34 members of his staff will visit Denmark, the United Kingdom and France from Sept. 14 to Sept. 19. They plan to meet with government leaders in the hopes of expanding job opportunities and strengthening international ties to Massachusetts.

“In today’s competitive economy, the way we grow jobs is by building partnerships not just locally, but globally,” Patrick said in a Friday press release. “This mission is a tremendous opportunity for us to cultivate new relationships and strengthen existing ones with key global growth centers in Europe to compete for jobs and position Massachusetts as the prime destination for business growth.”

During the trip, Patrick and his team plan to meet with executives from the global offshore wind industry in Copenhagen, Denmark, financial leaders including Her Majesty’s Treasury David Gauke, as well as other United Kingdom officials and speak at the Paris Chamber of Commerce’s and Movement of the Enterprises of France International event, the press release stated. MEDEF is one of the chief employer unions in France.

After his upcoming excursion, Patrick will have visited 16 countries since taking office in 2007, all part of an effort to “grow and compete in a global economy,” the mission’s website states.

“On seven separate missions, Patrick has led coalitions of the Commonwealth’s leading business executives, state economic development officials, government officials and emerging sector leaders on innovation economy development missions to seven different countries,” the website states. “Through these missions, the Patrick Administration has created lasting economic, innovation and educational opportunities for the Commonwealth.”

This is not the first trip Patrick has taken for the Commonwealth as a part of his Innovative Partnership Mission. In March, the governor visited Panama and Mexico.

“The leaders in business and government and venture capitalists of Latin America’s growth centers are eager to collaborate with us because they recognize that Massachusetts is an innovation hub with a disciplined strategy for growth,” Patrick said in a March press release.

At that time, Patrick had already boasted accomplishments including an increase in spending by international visitors, which he said supports Massachusetts jobs, and the expansion of Logan International Airport’s clientele to travelers from more than 36 overseas markets, according to the release.

Several residents said Patrick’s efforts are for a good cause, but they may not be worth the time, money and effort they require.

Leon Collins, 39, of Beacon Hill, originally from the United Kingdom, said Patrick’s mission has a powerful basis, but it is not as promising as other projects may be.

“I would say that what he’s doing is a big stretch for the state. Globalization is good, but I don’t know if he has to go all the way over there to do it,” he said. “I’m sure, with 34 members, it’s gotta be expensive. I think his cause is not as promising as what he could be doing here. Having people work over there is not going to solve the problems here.”

Dustin Masterson, 34, of Brighton, said trips like these are necessary to promote the brand of the state.

“It’s absolutely acceptable for him to use taxpayer money because it’s part of his job as governor of Massachusetts,” he said. “If you look at it in terms of amount of tax money the state receives, it’s only a small fraction, and it’s going to good use.”

Theresa Suber, 49, of Allston, said she does not think this trip is worth the small amount of time left in office.

“I heard about this trip, but he’s only doing his job. He’s still the governor, and he still has to do his job. At the same time, this is a big project, and I don’t think this is something he’ll be able to really do in the amount of time he has left,” she said. “He should be bringing less people, definitely not 34. With that many people, they’re probably going to have some work, but more leisure and relaxation.”

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