Three decades after entering politics, Michael Dukakis is a private citizen again. Three terms as governor, including two years of political hell following his failed presidential bid, are behind him.
Dukakis turned over the reins of state government to Gov. William Weld, Massachusetts' first Republican chief executive in 16 years, in one of three gubernatorial inaugurations in New England on Thursday.His wife, Kitty, was beside him as Dukakis looked out on about 2,500 spectators. Many cheered but others booed him, venting their frustrations over more than $1 billion in tax increases, a deficit-ridden state budget and cuts that have curtailed services to the needy.
"Thank You Mike" signs competed with placards that read, "Goodbye Duke-of-Taxes." One sign bore the message: "May you never serve anywhere."
Dukakis, 57, the son of Greek immigrants, had served as governor for 12 years, the longest period in state history.
But his political fortunes plunged after he returned to Massachusetts from his unsuccessful presidential bid against George Bush in 1988. The so-called "Massachusetts Miracle" business boom he presided over during the early and mid-1980s had gone bust, and his popularity went with it.
Moving through the throng at his farewell, Dukakis said he had no regrets about his career.