Gov. Patrick says he governed for 'next generation'

Gov. Deval Patrick is moving on when his term expires in January -- and not to another political perch, at least not now.

"I have a term limit named Diane," Patrick said, pointing to his wedding ring. "She said two terms and that's it."

The governor sat down with NBC 10 at the New Bedford Whaling Museum for a special edition of "10 News Conference."

The state's unemployment rate is just below the national average, and its schools are ranked tops in the nation. Patrick said he thinks the two are related as he described what he would offer to lure a new company to Massachusetts.

"The best educated workforce in the country, and a state government that wants to invest right alongside the private investor to help them prosper," Patrick said.

Critics say job creation hasn't been as robust as it should, and the governor has overseen a troubled state Department of Children and Families, plagued by the deaths of at least four children this year.

But over his seven-and-a-half years in office, Patrick is credited with moving the commonwealth forward.

"I think one thing we have tried to do differently is really to govern for the long term, not for the next election cycle, or even the next news cycle, but for the next generation. I think the fact that we haven't done that in Massachusetts for a long time and had been losing that same sense at the federal level, has affected our economy and affected our social growth, and the fact that we made that change has made an improvement here, and I'm proud of that," Patrick said.

But in the end -- and he said this when asked what could Rhode Island do to catch up -- he said good government is up to the voters.

"There's more than one way to lift a community. And the people of Rhode Island, I think, have to take the same stake in their politics and in their public policy that we've been encouraging the people of Massachusetts to do," Patrick said.

The governor said he'll start job hunting in the private sector after his term is over in January.