Tammy Baldwin's victory speech: Excerpts

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U.S. Senator-elect Tammy Baldwin. - PHOTO: Baldwin for Senate

U.S. Senator-elect Tammy Baldwin delivered her victory speech in Madison, Wis., after defeating former Gov. Tommy Thompson in the closely watched race. Baldwin is the first openly gay person elected to the U.S. Senate and the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate from Wisconsin. She also helped the Democrats secure a majority in the chamber.

Excerpts:

Tonight, at the end of a long and hard-fought campaign, we have won a huge victory for Wisconsin’s middle class!

That’s what this has been about since I started this journey 14 months ago.  Everywhere I’ve gone in our beautiful state, people have told me that they want a Senator who will listen to the middle class when they need help, a Senator who will stand on the side of the middle class, a Senator who will wake up every morning and fight for the middle class.

They’ve told me that they want an economy in which everybody plays by the same rules, and everybody does their fair share.

They’ve told me that they want a level playing field, one where China can’t cheat our workers, millionaires can’t dodge taxes, and Wall Street can’t crash our economy with risky gambling.

They’ve told me that they want to pay down our debt without shortchanging our future.

They’ve told me that they want to be able to rely on the guarantees of Medicare and Social Security – not just today, but for generations to come.

Most of all, they’ve told me that the special interests have too much power in Washington – and that it’s time the people’s voice was heard.

Well, the people’s voice was heard tonight, Wisconsin – and come January, your voice will be heard in the United States Senate!

I am honored, and humbled, and grateful.  And I am ready to get to work.  Ready to stand with President Barack Obama.  Ready to fight for Wisconsin’s middle class!

Now, I’m well aware that I will have the honor to be the first woman Senator from Wisconsin.  And I’m well aware that I will be the first openly gay member of the United States Senate.

I didn’t run to make history.  I ran to make a difference – a difference in the lives of families struggling to find work and pay the bills, a difference in the lives of students worried about debt and seniors worried about their retirement security, a difference in the lives veterans who fought for us and need someone fighting for them and their families when they return home from war, a difference in the lives of entrepreneurs trying to build a business and working people trying to build some economic security.

But in choosing me to tackle those challenges, the people of Wisconsin have made history.  And I can’t tell you how grateful I am for the trust you have placed in me.  All I can do is work as hard as I can to keep that trust.

I know many of the people listening tonight may not have voted for me, but I want you to know I will stand up for you and I ask for your support in moving our state forward together.

Here’s the promise I want to make to you: I will be a Senator for all of Wisconsin.

Our state has had some incredible leaders from both political parties and all across the ideological spectrum.  I have a lot of good examples to follow.

One is Herb Kohl.  You know, when he first ran for the U.S. Senate, his slogan was “Nobody’s Senator But Yours.”  But over the course of his service, that slogan has become a title – one he earned every day with his integrity, his wisdom, and his hard work on behalf of our state’s children, seniors, and middle class families.  I am so grateful to have had his support in this campaign, and I am humbled to carry on his deep commitment to public service and serving all of Wisconsin.

I also want to thank Tommy Thompson for his life in public service.

But, first I want to thank Tommy on a very personal level. I still remember the first time I met Tommy.  I was 30 years old and freshman member of the Wisconsin Assembly.  He was greeting new members of the legislature at the Governor’s mansion.  We didn’t talk politics.  I explained to the Governor that I was Joe Baldwin’s daughter and I had never met my father before he passed away.  Tommy’s face lit up. They had known each other in college.  And he would delight in sharing a small remembrance every time we met.  It meant the world to me.

Tommy and I didn’t agree on much in this campaign but there can be no doubt that he shares my love for Wisconsin. And even at the end of a long and sometimes bitter campaign, I’m still grateful for his service to our state.

Tonight, I ask his supporters to join me in standing up for our belief that we are all in this together. Now that the campaign is behind us, it is time for us all to come together and focus on the challenges we all face.

Make no mistake.  I’m proud to be a Wisconsin progressive.  I believe in holding the powerful accountable.  I believe in fair play.  I believe that when people are struggling, you don’t talk down to them, you help lift them up. And I believe in Wisconsin’s workers and a work ethic that I will fight for everyday.

But I also believe that we can only move forward if we move forward together.

This has been an incredible journey, one that has shown me the best our state has to offer.  I’ve watched Wisconsin workers put the “Made in America” label on combat boots for our soldiers in Merrill, on ships in Marinette, and engines in Beloit. I’ve met with potato farmers in Plover and small business owners building their dreams in LaCrosse.  I’ve eaten walleye in Fond du Lac and the best cream puffs in the world at our State Fair in West Allis.

And I’m so grateful to so many people.

I want to thank the people of the Second Congressional District for giving me the honor of serving you for the last fourteen years.  And I want to congratulate Mark Pocan, who will do a terrific job as your next U.S. Representative.

It has been a privilege to serve in the House of Representatives and I had a team of hard working Congressional staff who do incredible work, in my name but on your behalf.  Led by my Chief of Staff, Bill Murat, I want to thank these amazing public servants.

I am grateful for all of the elected officials and public servants who stood with me in this campaign.  In particular, I want to single out Gwen Moore … who famously reminds me, “I was for you, even before you were for you.”  I want to thank Russ Feingold for campaigning with me and on my behalf for the last year and also my colleague Ron Kind.

I have never been a part of a campaign organization as amazing as this one.   Thank you Karin Johanson for helping me build this team of determined and inspiring staff, volunteers and supporters.

You’ve heard a lot about my grandparents who raised me, especially my grandmother who was born in 1906, before women had the right to vote, yet lived to see her granddaughter elected to the United States House of Representatives.

I know she would be proud tonight.  I am happy and fortunate to have with me tonight, my mother Pam … who had the prophetic wisdom to name me Tammy.

How could she have known that one day there would be headlines reading:  Tammy v. Tommy?

I am also joined by my aunts and uncle, Sara, Melinda, Guy and Susan.  I thank my family for their love, support and encouragement.

Tonight, a long journey comes to an end.  But our work is just beginning.

And whether you voted for me or not, whether tonight you’re celebrating victory or dealing with defeat, I hope we can wake up tomorrow morning ready to get to work.

Ready to fight for our middle class.  Ready to keep our promises to our seniors.  Ready to level the playing field for our workers. Ready to make sure everyone has a fair shot.

Ready to make our country stronger, and more prosperous, and more equal.

Ready to do what Wisconsinites have done for generations: Stand together and move forward!

Thank you!