Good morning, everybody. It's a bright day, yes. As Little Shelley said, "Today is my 29th birthday plus 30." Today is my 59th birthday. I was actually born on Thanksgiving. My brother and sister are here, probably ruined by brother's day because he got a little sister. When I was born on Thanksgiving Day, my parents always said that they were going to name me Thankful Evermore. They didn't, but I am thankful evermore today for all of you, for many of the faces I see in the crowd today who have brought be to this point, my family members here, extended family, and my immediate family behind me. Did I mentioned that I'm a grandmother? That is Celia, and there she is. Anyway, I am thankful evermore for you, for our state, and for our country. Thank you for joining us.
I'm here really to take a moment to talk about West Virginia's future. We are a state rich in natural resources. Our coal reserves, our natural gas and oil have played a major role in the course of our state and continue to drive our economy. We are grounded in shared values sustained through hard work, and we're driven by a simple desire to provide a safe and secure future for our families. West Virginia has powered America.
In this building in October 1999, I announced my intention to run for the United States House of Representatives. It seems in a lot of ways a long time ago and in some ways not so long. I spoke about the need for West Virginia's delegation in Washington to become more diverse, to include a woman and a Republican. We were successful in that. I talked about the issues that were important to us as Charlie and I learned many things about West Virginians over the years watching our three children from the bleachers in the high school gym. We talked to our fellow parents, friends, and neighbors, and what has always struck me about West Virginians is all of our similarities. We are hardworking, fair-minded and hopeful for our future. We share common sense, a desire for a good secure job, safety for our family and hope for a better future.
For the past 12 years, the people of the second district have given me the honor to be their voice in Washington. Earlier this month they put that stamp of approvable on me by giving me my greatest margin ever of 70 percent of the vote, the largest margin I have ever been able to achieve. So, thank you for that.
It is humbling for me, but I have never forgotten what I work for. I have always acted with one guiding principle, and that is, to do what is right for the people of West Virginia: Putting the people of West Virginia first. Over the next two years, I have no higher priority than to continue standing up for the second district of our state as we tackle the immediate fiscal crisis in the next few months, and we continue to stand up against the EPA's dangerous and unconstitutional crusade to dictate our nation's energy policy to the detriment of West Virginia.
The mandate from this election, the message I heard loud and clear is, that people want us to accomplish these things by working together and setting aside short-sighted agendas, and getting something done. We are experiencing changing leadership in our state resulting in a greater political balance between the parties. This change will be good. There are many people in this room who are going to represent that.
The voters, however, are fatigued, and I think we all feel that. They have grown tired of the constant campaigning, and they want us to govern. I agree; it is time to focus on governing. For this reason, I have decided to make my intentions for 2014 known now so that I can get back to work in Washington and to avoid disruptive political speculation. It will also provide clarity and time for others to make decisions. West Virginia needs a new and diverse voice in the United States Senate. A voice that can listen and can walk with others to achieve great things. The United States Senate needs a voice that stands for common sense and fairness. I believe I can be that voice and will ask voters for their support when I run for the United States Senate in 2014.
Thank you. I do come to this race with a great awareness of the challenges, but I am seasoned, as are all of us, by all of the lessons that we have learned from the past campaigns. Washington needs West Virginia's values more now than ever. Based on the relationship of trust and hard work that we built over the last 12 years with the people of the second district, I will continue to fight for West Virginia over these next two years. With your help and support, we can take our West Virginia common sense and energy into the United States Senate in 2014. Thank you.