BOSTON, Mass. /Massachusetts Newswire/ — Governor Deval Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray today announced that they will embark on a month-long summer conversation tour across Massachusetts in July. These meetings build on the Patrick-Murray Administration’s commitment to governing the whole state and encouraging civic engagement in every corner of our Commonwealth. “This is an opportunity to engage with government and make your voices heard,” said Governor Patrick.

“Talking about the issues that are out there in the community – that affect your everyday life – helps us make well-informed decisions that build a better, stronger Commonwealth.”

“Governor Patrick and I often hear from constituents as we travel the state, visiting cities and towns and highlighting local investments in the Commonwealth,” said Lieutenant Governor Murray. “This Summer Conversation series will provide a fresh perspective as we engage in honest dialogue about what is working and not working, and how we can work together to make improvements for residents and communities across the Commonwealth.”

Governor Patrick has identified four priority areas for his second term: job creation, health care cost-containment, closing achievement gaps in our schools and youth violence prevention.

Through the Administration’s growth strategy and targeted investments in education, innovation and infrastructure, Governor Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Murray have successfully helped create jobs in every corner of the Commonwealth. The Massachusetts economy has added nearly 45,000 private sector jobs since this time last year, and the Commonwealth’s unemployment rate is well below the national average at 7.6 percent. Massachusetts is 4th in the nation in economic growth with the Massachusetts economy expanding faster than in any other state in New England, and ranks among the top states in the nation for business competitiveness.

The Commonwealth also leads the nation in health care coverage for its residents with 98 percent of residents covered, and 99.8 percent of children insured. Under Governor Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Murray’s leadership, Massachusetts is poised to lead the way in health care cost-containment and thousands of small businesses and families across the Commonwealth have already seen lower health care premiums as a result of the Administration’s cost-containment efforts.

Since taking office, Governor Patrick has invested in education at historic levels, promoting the Commonwealth’s leadership in student achievement as our calling card around the world. Last year, the Governor signed his landmark Achievement Gap Act of 2010, which gives schools new tools to accelerate the turn-around of the state’s lowest performing schools, and promotes school choice by expanding the number of charter schools in the state while authorizing new Innovation Schools. Massachusetts also earned the highest score in the nation under the Obama Administration’s Race to the Top competition last year, receiving $250 million to help implement education reform strategies in schools across the state.

In May, Governor Patrick launched the Massachusetts Safe and Successful Youth Initiative, a multi-faceted strategy for eliminating youth violence in the Commonwealth. To implement this strategy, the Governor issued an Executive Order emphasizing the Administration’s commitment to partnering with local officials to tackle this issue, filed legislation creating tougher gun laws that hold “high impact” individuals accountable and set aside $10 million in funding to support youth violence prevention initiatives. The Youth Violence Prevention Committee, established as part of this new initiative and comprised of Administration officials, community leaders and other stakeholder groups, has been meeting regularly and is tasked with developing a grant program to help fill gaps in service needs for “high risk” youth and establishing a consensus around measures of success for reducing violence in our communities.

These public meetings will give residents a chance to ask the Governor and Lieutenant Governor about progress in each of these priority areas and discuss issues of importance to them.

The Summer Conversation schedule is below. All dates, times and locations will be filled in as they are finalized and posted to the Governor’s website at

Governor Patrick

•SALISBURY: July 7th at 5:30 pm – Town Common, 17 Elm Street; Rain Location – Salisbury Town Hall
•MILFORD: July 12th at 6:00 pm – Draper Park on Main Street; Rain Location TBD
•LENOX: July 15th at 5:00 pm – Location and Rain Location TBD
•SOUTH COAST: July 21st – Location, Time and Rain Location TBD
•MARTHA’S VINEYARD: July 23rd – Location, Time and Rain Location TBD
•BOSTON: July 26th – Location, Time and Rain Location TBD

Lieutenant Governor Murray

•FRAMINGHAM: July 11th at 6:00 pm – Location and Rain Location TBD
•PLYMOUTH: July 13th at 6:00 pm – Location and Rain Location TBD
•ARLINGTON: July 14th at 6:00 pm – Location and Rain Location TBD
•NORTHAMPTON: July 15th at 5:00 pm – Location and Rain Location TBD.