Thank you. I want to thank you, and all the voters in the sixth district, for your support. I am humbled by your trust and your faith.
I just spoke with Richard Tisei and thanked him for his commitment to the people of this district and for adding his voice to this debate. We ran against each other, but we both ran because we are committed to public service and because we care about this community. I am proud that our race has been held up in recent days as a model for how races should be run, and how politics should be.
My commitment to public service started in college with the decision to join the Marines. But, since leaving the military, I’ve spent a lot of time focused on efforts to expand opportunities for all of us to serve. From the example set by the Greatest Generation, who answered the call during World War II and continued to serve after they came home, America’s newest generation shows a renewed and growing commitment to public service.
Adlai Stevenson said “Patriotism is not a short and frenzied outburst of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.” When we have a lifetime commitment toward each other, to building better communities and ensuring a better life—not just for ourselves and our families, but for all of us—our leaders in Washington will respond in the same spirit.
Isn’t that why we’re all here? To come together as Americans and get to work to rebuild our communities, rebuild our country, and ensure our future is even brighter than our past? It’s not about what’s right for the Democratic Party, or what’s right for the Republican Party; it’s about what’s right for America, and for our children and grandchildren. That’s why I’m here. And you know as well as I do that we have a lot of work to do.
We have a lot more work to do to bring good jobs to the 6th district. Congress says it supports small businesses, but I talk to small business owners all the time who don’t understand why they pay a higher tax rate than many of the biggest corporations in America. That’s not right, it’s not good business, and tonight, our work begins to change that in Congress.
We have more work to do to build our infrastructure. The Gateway Cities have so much potential—just look at how far Salem has come. We can expand the Blue Line to Lynn, improve transit from Gloucester and Burlington, and update our infrastructure everywhere. Let’s build it together. And let’s bring some of the most innovative companies growing out of Boston along with it.
In fact, in the coming weeks I will bring together government, business, and civic leaders in our district to discuss how we can bring the Gateway Cities into the innovation economy and create good jobs, today and tomorrow.
We have much more work to do on equal pay. It’s 2014, and women still earn 77 cents on the dollar compared to men. African-American women earn 64 cents on the dollar, and Latinas 56 cents. That’s not fair, that’s not right, and we won’t stand for it. Together, let’s fight for equal pay in Congress. And if Congress won’t act, we’ll find a way to get it done without them. No more excuses: it’s time for equal pay.
There’s more work to do on education. I’m proud to have the support of so many teachers here today, including my amazing sister Eliza. Our teachers are doing incredible things across the country, including right here in Massachusetts. But we can do better.
Your chance at success in life should not depend on the zip code in which you’re born. Yet the futures of too many of our children are decided before they’ve opened a book. We can start fixing that with universal pre-K. There is no smarter investment we can make in our future, and that’s why thanks to you, tonight, our work for a better future begins as well.
Finally, there is perhaps nowhere where we have more work to do than veterans care. I won’t mince words: veterans’ care in America is a national embarrassment. Our veterans should receive the best care our country has to offer. Instead, they often receive some of the worst.
I get my health care from the VA, and I actually have a great primary care doctor. But if he sends me down the hall, I can wait two hours to get my blood drawn. And if he refers me to someone else, it can take months to get an appointment. You’ll hear stories like this across the country. Veterans have incredible potential, and so many want to continue serving the country when they come home. But they need a hand.
We can do better. And we must do better. I won’t stop fighting until veterans across America get the care they need and deserve. And tomorrow, we start working to make that care a reality.
I can’t wait to get to work, because we have so much work to do.
It was the greatest honor of my life to serve my country in the Marines. One of the hardest parts of leaving the Marines was missing the sense of purpose that came with doing a job that, every single day, impacted the lives of other people. Now I return to public service, in a different venue but with that same commitment to serve you and to serve our great country. You have put your faith in me, and I am forever grateful. Thank you.