Oakland County Executive
Oakland County, Michigan

First elected: 1992


As the Chief Executive Officer of one of America's wealthiest and most successful counties, Patterson oversees a workforce of 4,400 employees and controls an annual budget of more than a half billion dollars.


  • Founder, Rainbow Connection (1980) (charity grants wishes to children with life threatening illnesses)

Oakland County Achievements:

  • In 1968, Patterson was hired as an Assistant Oakland County Prosecutor. Prior to leaving that post in 1971, he had the distinction of becoming the first Senior Trial Lawyer in the Prosecutor's Office.
  • Elected Oakland County Prosecutor (1972). Over the next 16 years as the crime victim's attorney, Patterson compiled an enviable record that included a successful campaign to reform the parole system, end plea bargaining, and vigorously prosecute habitual criminals.
  • In 1974, he successfully argued a case before the United States Supreme Court (Michigan v. Tucker).


  • State of Israel Eleanor Roosevelt Humanities Award (1996)
  • March of Dimes Humanitarian of the Year Award
  • Oakland County Distinguished Citizen of 1991
  • Outstanding Young Men of Michigan (1973)


Patterson attended the University of Detroit and the University of Detroit Law School, where he received his Juris Doctorate in 1967. During his brief hiatus from public service, Patterson entered private law practice. In 1990, Lawyers Weekly selected him as one of the top 20 attorneys in the state of Michigan.

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