Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Mike Lake to run for Lieutenant Governor

Mike Lake, class of 2002, graduated from Northeastern with five majors: political science, management of information systems, communications, finance and entrepreneurship. He co-founded the Dog House, was treasurer of his senior class and was able to co-op at the White House under the Clinton Administration as well as in Ireland for the prime minister. Now, the executive director of World Class Cities Partnership and City-to-City of Northeastern’s School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, is running for a political office of his own: lieutenant governor of Massachusetts. His only declared opponent is Steve Kerrigan from Lancaster, but candidates can continue to declare intentions to run until the filing deadline in June of 2014.

“One of the things that I love the most about Northeastern is that its education is rooted not just in the theoretical books and the knowledge, but it’s also in the experience,” Lake said. “And because of Northeastern, and specifically the co-op program, I was able to get experiences at a young age in the public sector that really gave me my interest, kind of lit the fire of passion that still burns today, and has driven me to really make an impact.”

After he graduated, Lake became the executive director of the World Class Cities Partnership, a Northeastern-based organization that connects cities from around the world and brings professionals together to find solutions for challenges that the cities share, according to Barry Bluestone, director of the Kitty and Michael Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy. Lake later founded another non-profit organization called Leading Cities that was inspired by the World Class Cities Partnership.

“Mike and his staff did a marvelous job of bringing them together and holding a series of conferences in Barcelona, in Dublin [and] here,” Bluestone, dean in the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs said. “He then reached out to work very closely with Governor Deval Patrick, our governor here, to set up trade.”

In addition to working with him through the World Class Cities Partnership, Bluestone also donated funds to Lake’s campaign. He said that Lake’s international experience would allow him to expand the role of lieutenant governor.

“I think that the combination of a commitment to public service and the desire to develop public policies that are effective and efficient would make [Lake] a very strong lieutenant governor,” Bluestone said. “I think the other thing is that he has a true global perspective as he would running the World Class Cities Partnership. We no longer live in a little world – we live in a global economy and our global links with other cities and other countries I think is critical.“

Lake also has the support of several other faculty members at Northeastern, including organizational communication and culture professor Chad O’Connor, a personal friend.

“He just never fails to impress me with his ability to really relate well to people. He bends over backwards to help make connections and introductions for people – especially Northeastern people,” O’Connor said.

Apart from being a personal friend, O’Connor said he believes Lake’s international experience would make him the best candidate for lieutenant governor.

“He can leverage that experience and expertise to help our local com- munities as well as looking at ways to better position Massachusetts for international connections, international job growth [and] international investment opportunities,” O’Connor said.

Lake also said that his experience would benefit both him and Massachusetts if he were to be elected.

“In my current role, as the President and CEO of Leading Cities, I work with cities around the world to identify solutions to municipal challenges, and what we’ve come to discover, or come to prove, I guess, is that cities around the world, no matter how big or small, they deal with many of the same challenges,” Lake said. “I see the lieutenant governor’s office as being – my vision, at least, for the office is to have two primary roles boiled down into a single word – it’s to be a liaison, and I’m running to make a difference, so I look for a role where I can add value not only to the governor’s office, but to the people of the Commonwealth.”

And for Lake, Northeastern has made a difference in his life.

“I think that one of the things that Northeastern taught me, or that I learned when I was here, is that it’s very beneficial for anybody who kind of reaches for their dreams, whether that was the dream co-op I was looking for when I was a student, the idea that you could reach for five majors and get the most out your education while here, or now the dream I have to serve Massachusetts in the capacity as the next lieutenant governor,” Lake said. “These are things that Northeastern really inspired me to pursue and I think that might be one of the greatest lessons that any individual or institution could impart on a young person – to believe in themselves, to take the risk or to take the step in pursuing their dream.”