L. Brooks Patterson was recently re-elected to serve his seventh four-year term as Oakland County Executive. He sat down with Oakland County Prosper and shared some thoughts on his achievements while in office, goals for the next four years and advice for an eventual successor.
Oakland County Prosper: How does it feel to be elected for a seventh term?
Patterson: It’s a humbling experience. It underscores my strong relationship I enjoy with the public based on performance and mutual respect.
OCP: What do you view as your biggest achievements during your first six terms in office?
Patterson: The creation of Arts, Beats & Eats, the Emerging Sectors® business attraction strategy that is changing the economic base of Oakland County to a knowledge-based economy and is $4 billion of new investment, our AAA bond rating for the past 18 years, Automation Alley, Main Street Oakland County is transforming our downtowns and Governing Magazine has named us the most digitally advanced county in the nation.
OCP: What do you wish to achieve going forward?
Patterson: We plan to continue many of the programs that have no finish line: the growth of the county as a high-tech destination for companies; Main Street Oakland County coming to all of our 31 downtowns; mobility and autonomous vehicles as our Mobility Task Force is putting us in the middle of the mobility agenda; and talent attraction as one-third of our workforce will soon be eligible to retire. We’re working on a fourth Skills Needs Assessment Project that deals specifically with mobility and identifying and defining the jobs of this fast-evolving industry. We should see the survey results in January.
OCP: What do you think your legacy will be when you leave office?
Patterson: Moody’s Investor Service said it best when it looked at our books: “Oakland County is the best managed county in America.” That’s all the legacy I want or need.
OCP: Is this your last term?
Patterson: I’m not going to make myself into a four-year lame duck. I’m not going to speculate on that now.
OCP: What advice do you have for the person that succeeds you – whenever that is?
Patterson: It’s all about the team you assemble. It’s all about the team.
OCP: What makes you feel like you’ve done your job at the end of the day?
Patterson: I see many strangers on the street who stop to shake my hand and say, “You’ve done a good job.” As long as the public reacts that way, I’m going to continue to do my job.