We wish to extend our best wishes for a “Happy Birthday” to former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis, who turned 90 last week.
Mike Dukakis served as governor of our state from 1975-79 and then again for two terms from 1983-91. He was the Democratic nominee for President in 1988, losing to Republican George H.W. Bush in a contentious election that was marked by immense distortions of Dukakis’s record, including the infamous Willie Horton ad that invoked racial stereotypes and played to the worst instincts of white voters.
For those too young to know about Mike Dukakis, we will mention three things about a man whose honesty, integrity, competence, and dedication to serving the people of our state stand as the benchmark for all office-holders: First, Gov. Dukakis turned around our state’s economic fortunes with the “Massachusetts Miracle” in which the high-tech and biotech industries set Massachusetts on a path to prosperity that carries through to this day. Second, he reinvigorated our state’s aging inner cities, including Boston, Chelsea, Revere, Everett, and Lynn, and invested in public transportation, which Dukakis himself rode from his home in Brookline to Beacon Hill. Third, he established Massachusetts as a national leader in education, criminal justice reform, drug policy, and countless other areas.
Similar to former President Jimmy Carter, Mike Dukakis has led a low-profile, yet prolific post-government career in which he has continued with his lifetime of dedication to public service. We know we join with all of our fellow citizens in wishing Gov. Dukakis a “Happy Birthday,” and many more to come.