Tom Vilsack '08 Website - November 30, 2006
TOM VILSACK’S PRESIDENTIAL ANNOUNCEMENT
AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY
November 30, 2006
Mount Pleasant, Iowa
“Christie, thank you. It sure feels good to be home. I want to thank Christie, Jess, and Doug for their love, support, and inspiration. Without them I would not be here today. As a family we are committed to this campaign and this effort – you can be sure of that. And I want to thank all of you for being here and for your friendship and support for so many years. My life was profoundly changed and made better when you welcomed me into your community 30 years ago.
Three weeks ago, Americans courageously voted to create change. We sent a clear message that we wanted our country led in a new and better direction. But our job is not done. We have more work to do.
Today in the White House, we have a president whose first reflex is to divide and conquer…who preys on insecurities and fears for partisan gain…who has tried to rob us of the very asset that has made the United States the greatest country on earth: Our sense of community, optimism and can-do spirit.
In the last election, Americans were not fooled by political tricks or gimmicks. We said in one voice, from all regions of the country, for our children and grandchildren: Tomorrow does matter.
That is why I am here today -- to bring even bolder change and build an even stronger future for our great nation.
Let us face facts.
The world today is filled with real threats and real problems. Our way of life is at risk from terrorism throughout the world. Here at home, families struggle with skyrocketing healthcare costs and rising college tuition. For too many, home ownership is a fading dream. For others, a secure retirement is an unfulfilled promise. And for many neighborhoods and cities, crime is a daily threat and danger.
Let us also speak truth.
Our way of life and national security have been put at risk by fiscal irresponsibility and by our dependence upon foreign oil and the countries that provide it. In some cases, the governments of these countries take our money -- and yet despise us and harbor terrorists.
By any measure or standard we are less safe and less secure than we were 6 years ago. Our country needs bold leadership guided by the right values and the right experience.
That is why I am here today.
For those of you meeting me for the first time, let me say a few words of introduction.
I have always been the underdog and long shot. And I have always been inspired by stories of ordinary people who struggled, but ultimately succeeded.
I began life in an orphanage in the arms of a stranger. I was adopted into a loving but troubled home. During my early years, my mother battled alcohol and prescription drug addiction. My parents separated. I watched as my father balanced being a single parent while trying to keep his business alive. We struggled and adapted to a declining standard of living. I know what it is to feel alone and forgotten…as if you do not belong.
The deepest hole anyone can dig is addiction and dependency. My mother dug that hole, but she dug herself out. She relied on her faith, family and friends. In doing so she taught me a valuable lesson – that the courage to create change can overcome anything, and that community can give you the support and confidence to succeed.
My parents got back together. And when they did, they taught me never to give up on people, family or community. Their values live here inside me and will always guide me in everything I do.
I have served as a mayor, state senator and two-term governor. I have worked every day in public life to bring people together to create change.
In the past eight years, Iowa successfully changed farm fields into energy fields. We changed the traditional idea of agriculture and became the national leader in renewable fuel and energy production. As a state, we became more economically, environmentally and energy secure. If you drive around Iowa today, you will see a changing landscape marked by new ethanol and bio-fuel production plants and wind farms.
We had the courage to create change in education, health care and government itself. And by having the courage to create change, we provided greater security and opportunity to our people
That is why I am here today – to continue our work, and to bring the courage to create change to America. It will take leadership to create this change. But it also will take an active sense of community.
You do not have to be raised behind a white picket fence to understand the power of community. Some of America’s strongest communities do not have any white picket fences or even yards for that matter.
In these communities, there are countless American success stories - immigrants from every continent who traveled here to farm fields, work in factories and pursue the American Dream. Many of these new Americans faced and overcame discrimination. Our country must always remain a destination for those in pursuit of that dream, for a better life for their family and to live in freedom.
That too is why I am here.
America needs a president who builds and creates…who makes our country more secure… who is bold and has the courage to create change.
I will be that president.
So today, in front of the family and friends I love and here in the community I call home, I announce my candidacy to be the next President of the United States.
Let us have the courage to create the bold change we need. Let us stop the endless debates and empty talk.
Together, with the courage to create change, let us develop a healthcare system that prevents illness, cures diseases and helps people live longer healthier lives -- without taking away every penny in their bank accounts after a lifetime of sacrifice and hard work.
Together, with the courage to create change, let us fight for an education system that helps every child become as inquisitive and creative as God intended them to be. If we are to compete in a tough, global economy, Americans must remain the most innovative people on earth.
Together, with the courage to create change, let us build a 21st Century economy of cutting-edge companies and technologies that lead us to energy security. Energy security will revitalize rural America, re-establish our moral leadership on global warming and climate security and eliminate our addiction to foreign oil.
Together, with the courage to create change let us embrace a new foreign policy that renews friendships, develops alliances and isolates enemies. In Iraq, we must act, take our troops out of harm’s way and allow Iraqis to begin providing their own security.
I am running for President because every community should contribute to our success. Americans who live in cities, barrios, suburbs and small towns all deserve a president who works for and remembers them.
Most of all, I am running for President to replace the anxiety of today with the hope of tomorrow and to guarantee every American their birthright: Opportunity.
It will take courage to create this change. But by restoring America’s community, optimism and can-do spirit, we will succeed. I ask for your support and your vote. Together let us have the courage to create change in America.
May God Bless our work and the United States of America.”
Source: Tom Vilsack for President