I want to start by thanking Art Torres for his great service to our state and country, and for all the help he has given me over the years. And I want to give a warm welcome to the incoming chairman John Burton, whom I worked with many years ago. From John, I learned to always be very polite, diplomatic, and reserved!
But on a serious note, I also learned the importance of voting for what’s right, even if it is lonely. It is a lesson I heeded when I stood with only 22 other Senators to vote against the war in Iraq.
We all know our state and our nation are going through very tough times. Too many of our families in California are struggling and worried. Arid frankly, we still have tall mountains to climb. But in this great nation of ours, when we pull together, when we put aside the politics of division, we will emerge stronger than ever!
The American people understand this. Voters across party lines are standing behind President Obama and ignoring the negative chorus of no’s coming from right-wing commentators and the opposition party in Congress. And despite filibuster after filibuster in the Senate, we are making real progress.
The economic recovery act is now law–bringing jobs, tax relief, and billions of dollars to California. Equal pay for equal work is now the law of the land. Health insurance is now available to 10 million children. The most far-reaching public lands bill in decades is now law, including 700,000 acres of new wilderness protected in California. Stem cell research has been expanded. Our pro-choice President has reversed the international gag rule that stopped family planning dollars from going overseas. We are beginning to withdraw forces from Iraq. And all of this was done in the first 90 days! What a change. Yes, elections have consequences.
You know when Californians elected me to the Senate in 2004, I wound up getting more votes than any other Senate candidate in history. And I want to say to California today: THANK YOU!
You were the wind at my back as I fought for change … as I fought side-by-side with Senator Feinstein for California … as I fought to stop dangerous proposals like putting Social Security funds into the stock market. But time after time, I had to face down the defenders of the status quo and the disastrous team assembled by President Bush. When you choose an expert in Arabian horses to head FEMA, what can you expect in a crisis?
When you choose someone who voted to eliminate the Department of Energy to lead that same agency, what can you expect but more dependence on foreign oil? When you pick a pesticide man to lead the EPA, how can you possibly think he’ll protect our families from toxics?
Now compare those choices to President Obama’s team. I can’t tell you how exciting it is to work with Administration officials who actually believe in the mission of the agencies they are heading. Look, we know our country is still suffering from eight years of the Bush Administration, and all it brought us: the deepest recession since the Great Depression, deficits, debt, a middle class in trouble, working families reeling, a housing and banking crisis, war, torture. But with President Obama and a Democratic Congress, we are doing everything possible to end those dark days and usher in a new era of prosperity and possibility.
And if we seize this moment … we can create good jobs and save homes. We can make health care affordable and accessible to all. We can enact a clean energy policy that jump-starts our economy and protects our planet. We can make our communities safer. We can finally make educating our children a top priority, not a slogan. We can protect our oceans-and the 2.4 million jobs that depend on them-for future generations. We can repair our roads and bridges, reduce congestion, and build a transportation system for the 21st century. We can protect our consumers and the most vulnerable … our children, our frail, our seniors … for that is how every society should be judged. We can work for civil rights and human rights for all our people, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. We can stand up for our workers, the backbone of our middle class, and give them the freedom to choose a union!
Yes, there is much to do, but I know we will meet these challenges of our time .. .if we overcome the voices of division and inaction that want to take us back. We must unify as much as possible. That is why I have worked across party lines … whether it was delivering needed resources for California or writing America’s first after-school law, a water infrastructure law, a foster care law, a passenger bill of rights, laws to protect California’s wilderness and strengthen its high-tech industry, a climate change bill, a highway bill, the list goes on. And believe me, now, more than ever, we all must come together to rebuild our economy and our country.
So today I am formally announcing that I am running for the United States Senate. I am asking you to stand with me! Whether you live in Los Angeles … or the Inland Empire … or the San Francisco Bay Area … or the North Coast … or the Central Valley … or the San Diego area … or the Sacramento area … along the coast or inland, please know that I want to stay in the Senate to get our country back on track for everyone I have the honor to represent.
So join with me. You can visit my booth in the Convention Hall and sign up to get involved. You can buy our new Boxer merchandise and be on the cutting edge of fashion. And you can go to my Web site at www.BarbaraBoxer.com for all the latest on the campaign. We don’t know yet who our opponent will be, but we know we will have a hard-fought race. They will come at us with everything they have because the special interests out there want someone to fight for them …. not for you.
I will always fight for you and this country that gave me everything. I am a first generation American on my mother’s side. My mother never graduated from high school because she had to work to support her mom and dad. My father went to college and law school at night so he could give me the education my mom never had. And here I am: a United States Senator who wakes up every morning thinking about how I am going to protect that California dream and that American dream for all our families.
More than 70 years ago, during an even more difficult time in our history, President
Roosevelt painted a bleak picture of “one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished.”
But after describing these daunting challenges of the Great Depression, he added: “It is not in despair that I paint you that picture. I paint it for you in hope … ”
And so, I too, come before you filled with hope.
Hope that in this resilient country of ours that I love with all my heart, we can seize this historic moment and turn our most daunting challenges into opportunities. We know it won’t be easy or happen overnight. But we can’t wait. Our families can’t wait. Our energy and climate crisis can’t wait. Our state can’t wait. You know me. You know my record of public service. You know exactly where I stand. I have never been afraid to stand up to anyone … and I have never been afraid to stand alone. But, most of all, I have always stood with the people of California.
Now, if I am going to continue having this privilege of serving you, I ask you to join with me again through the exciting days of this 2010 campaign. Will you stand with me? Will you get involved in my campaign? Will you make your voices heard now so that, in 2010, we can celebrate a victory for “we the people”?
Thank you very much.
God Bless you, God Bless California and God Bless America.