Deval Patrick was born in Chicago, and lives in Milton, Mass. He received a bachelor's degree from Harvard College and a law degree from Harvard University.
In 1983, he moved to New York to work for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc.
He returned to Massachusetts in 1986, taking a job with Hill and Barlow, a Boston law firm.
Former President Bill Clinton nominated him to lead the Justice Department's civil rights division in 1994. Patrick left Washington, D.C., in 1997.
He entered the private sector, becoming Texaco's chief legal counsel and later general counsel at Coca-Cola. He left in 2004 amid a dispute with company leaders over business practices.
He was elected governor in 2006.
Patrick and his wife, Diane, have two daughters.
Deval Patrick was a political neophyte when he was elected in 2006, but that didn't prevent him from being handled a problem of epic proportions. The national recession spawned a state slowdown, prompting a wave of budget cutting and defining much of his first term.
The search for extra cash prompted Patrick to propose expanded gambling in September 2007, a plan that called for licensing three resort casinos. He argued they would generate between $400 and $450 million in annual tax revenue that he would spend on transportation upgrades and property tax relief. The Legislature, led by House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi, eventually rejected the plan, worried it would create a "casino culture" in Massachusetts. In March 2009, possible gubernatorial candidate Treasurer Tim Cahill proposed licensing slot parlors, which he said would bring revenue more quickly than resort casinos.
Legislative leaders themselves pursued gambling anew as the recession deepened, but the parties reached a stalemate in 2010 when Patrick refused to approve a plan creating the casinos as well as "racinos," or slot-machine parlors, at the state's three racetracks. He labeled that move a "no-bid contract."
The legislature passed a casino bill in 2012 and the state is now in the process of selecting up to three proposals for regional casinos.
Elsewhere, Patrick laid out his comprehensive transportation plan in February 2009, the focus being a 19-cent gas tax hike to roll back a proposed toll increase and pay down the massive debt of the Big Dig and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. The gas tax has not been increased since 1991, and Patrick's proposal would have made it the highest in the nation. It was defeated and the state instead adopted a 25-percent increase in its sales tax.
The demand for transportation reform is a holdover of the trouble-plagued Big Dig, which had amassed a $2.2 billion debt as of February 2009. That massive highway construction project took a tragic turn in 2006 when ceiling panels fell, crushing a car, killing a 39-year-old Boston woman and shutting down whole sections of the new highway system for repairs.
With President Barack Obama's election, Patrick's national profile is also on the rise. Patrick likes to recount his humble roots in a gritty Chicago housing project, and Obama was among the high-profile Democrats who traveled to Massachusetts during Patrick's campaign. Patrick's name often came up during discussions of Cabinet nominations but he vowed he would stay in Massachusetts and run for a second term.
He traveled the country in 2012 on behalf of Obama's re-election efforts and made a well-received speech at the Democratic National Convention.
Patrick burst onto the Massachusetts political landscape in 2005, running what he called a grassroots campaign fueled in part by his personal wealth, the Internet and a growing army of supporters.
Most Massachusetts voters hadn't heard of Patrick, who captured the Democratic nomination for governor when most political observers were putting their money on the lead candidate Attorney General Tom Reilly.
Patrick's win as a Democratic governor further marginalized Republicans in Massachusetts. After the 2008 election, Republicans held no statewide offices and no congressional seats. Their ranks in the 200-member Legislature shrank to five in the Senate and 16 in the House.
Patrick wasn't shy about tackling some late-term decisions of former Gov. Mitt Romney, who opted not to seek re-election to run for the 2008 Republican nomination for president.
Patrick rescinded a Romney-led agreement between state and federal authorities that allows state police troopers to arrest illegal immigrants. Patrick is a vocal supporter of gay rights, including gay marriage, in contrast to Romney.
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Deval Patrick is not seeking re-election in 2014.
(Last updated by The Associated Press on September 10, 2014.)