BOSTON — Gov. Deval Patrick is casting a wide net for his second term, vowing to rein in health care costs, create more jobs and curb youth violence in the state's urban centers.
Patrick, in an interview with The Associated Press ahead of his Thursday swearing-in, said he's also planning more trade missions in his second term, and hopes to squeeze in time to promote a book he's writing on his life story.
But Patrick sounded most impassioned about the violence that has destroyed young lives in cities across Massachusetts. That violence, he said, has been "deviling me and I think communities for a long time."
"More and more I'm persuaded that government can't do this alone and that we need a more comprehensive strategy," Patrick said Tuesday. "We're going to bring in law enforcement, community groups and victim advocates and really come up with a more fulsome strategy."
Also key to that initiative are the mothers of young people lost to violence, he said.
Cities have experienced a spate of violent incidents involving young people recently, including the May shooting of an eighth-grade Boston honors student gunned down after he went to buy Mother's Day cards for his mother and grandmother.
Patrick visited with Jaewon Martin's mother after his murder.
Two teens and a 20-year-old man were also indicted in the November slaying of a Boston pizza delivery driver who police say was lured into a vacant home, robbed and stabbed.
Patrick said he's also hoping to focus on one of the state's most vexing education problems: a stubborn achievement gap across racial and ethnic lines.
Patrick said he plans to do more traveling during his second term, both on behalf of Massachusetts and his new memoir.
The newly re-elected Democrat said the book he has written about his journey from the hardscrabble streets of Chicago to the Massachusetts Statehouse will be released in April, and his publisher expects him to promote it.
Simultaneously, the governor said a group of local CEOs interested in making Massachusetts more competitive has encouraged him to travel more to sell the state.
Patrick has made two trips as governor — to California and China — but he curtailed travel as he approached his re-election last fall.
"I expect to be out more and the scheduling people are trying to figure out how to do what the publisher wants me to do, consistent with that," Patrick told the AP. "I'm not going to do any junkets, but we are going to be doing trade missions."
Patrick also defended his decision to replace 71-year-old Medal of Honor winner Thomas Kelley as the state's veterans secretary for Massachusetts, saying his successor Coleman Nee, a campaign supporter and Gulf War veteran, is well-informed about current military issues.
The decision has been criticized by members of the state Veterans of Foreign Wars. Other critics planned to protest Patrick's swearing-in.
Patrick said Nee's experience will help him address an array of new issues rising from Operation Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom and the multiple deployments facing Massachusetts reservists and active duty members.
"It's a natural time for a fresh set of eyes and a fresh approach to that," Patrick said.
Patrick said again that he won't seek a third term in 2014, but also won't resign before completing his second term no matter what other opportunities may be offered him.
His strong re-election performance in November has prompted talk of Patrick challenging Republican Sen. Scott Brown in 2012.
Meanwhile, Patrick's strong ties to President Barack Obama regularly sparks speculation about him taking an administration job.
The questions gained currency during the 16 years that Republicans controlled the corner office. Both William Weld and Paul Cellucci resigned before completing their terms as governor. And both Jane Swift and Mitt Romney did not seek re-election.