Deval Patrick On Signing HR40 Reparations Bill: I Don’t Think So

Isheka N. Harrison
Written by Isheka N. Harrison
Deval Patrick
Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Democratic Presidential Candidate said he wouldn’t support H.R. 40, the bill which calls for a commission to study reparations. In this photo, Patrick, center, greets people on April 2, 2018, in Boston on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has been doing a lot lately. First, he announced his 2020 presidential run, now he’s gone on record stating he wouldn’t support H.R. 40, the bill which calls for a commission to study reparations.

According to Sabrina Siddiqui, national political reporter at the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), when asked about signing H.R. 40 Patrick said, “I don’t think so … First of all, I think reparations are right, but I don’t think they mean a thing without reconciliation.”

He elaborated on that sentiment during a campaign stop to court Black voters in South Carolina Tuesday, Bloomberg reported.

“Yes we need to deal with the chronic poverty and marginalization that has been true of an overwhelming number of our people that has its roots in slavery,” Patrick told the crowd. “But once the check is written, unless we have reconciliation, unless we have some truth telling about what actually happened, I’m just not sure we’re going to feel satisfied.”

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His statements didn’t sit so well with some. “What is reconciliation without recompense (reparations)?” a Twitter user named jakil asked. Another user identified as NON-Millennial called him “Devil Patrick,” using the peace emoji to signify they were throwing Patrick deuces and writing him off.

Patrick wasn’t always so vocal about everything, however. He’s made controversial moves to suppress information in the past, which critics herald as the reason he is unfit to lead this country.

In 2014, during his tenure as governor, Patrick refused to require his brother-in-law Bernard Sigh, to register as a sex offender. Sigh had been convicted of raping his wife, Rhonda Sigh, in 1993. Rhonda is Patrick’s sister. When the head of Massachusetts’ Sex Offender Registry Board challenged the decision, Patrick fired her.

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Bernard went on to kidnap and rape Rhonda again in 2017. He was convicted earlier this year, but Patrick still defends his decision. He said the Sex Offender Registry officials acted inappropriately and he was trying to protect his sister from further emotional trauma.

“Bernie Sigh’s impact on my family has been complex and painful for all of us,” Patrick said in a statement to The Washington Post. “I love my sister and her children, and believe their chance to heal is best if left out of the public eye. But because of issues raised in a lawsuit filed against me as Governor, her experience is now part of the public record and it is important that the facts are clear.”

Though Patrick has been courting Black voters, his positions don’t seem to bode well with the group or garner him any traction. Jared Barnes, a Black Twitter user asked, “Who’s vote is he going after?” It’s a question Patrick himself answered at recently.

“I’m not running to be president of the Democrats. I am running to be president of the United States. There’s a difference,” Patrick said.

His campaign is already considered “dead on arrival” by some because of its late start, resource challenges and entry with zero percent support. However, Patrick still believes he has a chance – especially with his history of overcoming immense odds to become Massachusetts’ only Black governor and the second Black governor in U.S. history overall.

“I’m running for president because those values of community, that we have a stake in each other and of generational responsibility, I think, are frayed in the country,” Patrick said at a recent campaign event. “I come in humbly. … I want to be a listener.”

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