The genius and the beauty of our democracy is that ultimately the power rests with the people. Even when the results don't go the way that we want them to. We celebrate the fact that we live in a country in which the people get to decide their elected leaders. And tonight, the people of Texas have spoken.
Just a few moments ago, I called General Abbot, to congratulate him on being elected Governor of this incredible state that we call home. And I wished him the very best, because it's in every Texan's best interest that he have a very productive four years.
Throughout his campaign, General Abbot has reminded us how strong he is, how determined he is, and while he and I disagree on many issues, I know that he loves Texas. Tonight I know that you are disappointed. Being disappointed is okay, but being discouraged is not. Because what we have before us is an opportunity to re-make this state in your image. To prove to the world, what we've always known. That this was never about Wendy Davis or Greg Abbot, this has always been, and forever will be, about each and every one of you.
What we have done here in this state, and in this campaign, is nothing short of extraordinary. We were down by 23 points in January. We had cut that in half by June, and we have been on the offensive ever since.
Championing education, fighting for sexual assault survivors, pushing to raise the minimum wage, demanding greater awareness of the hazardous chemicals hidden in our communities, working to protect women's access to healthcare. Rooting out the culture of corruption that has sold out and short changed hard working Texans.
We won, day by day. This wasn't just a campaign to win the Governor's seat. This was a fight to make sure that that seat belongs to you. That your voice is there, that justice and equality are there. That your voices, and the forces of justice and equality well up from that office, and create opportunity and advancement for every single person in this state, who's courageous enough to believe in it, and work for it and fight for it. As you all have done so beautifully during this campaign.
We won. Because day by day, and day after day, you showed up. Tens of thousands of you, all over this state, again and again, to champion the cause, gathering by the hundreds. Just last weekend, Wichita Falls, gathering by the thousands, at college campuses these last few months. Where students waited in lines that zig-zagged through trees and courtyards. In rooms filled to capacity, and overflowing. As Texans chanted, "Si se puede!" Si se puede.
Voices that had been held down and pent up for decades all through this state, cried out and demanded to be heard in the most incredible exercise in democracy and determination, and just plain old raw fight that this state has seen in decades.
Some literally cried as they met me, inspired to believe that someone could and would be a voice for them. We won, day by day. Because you never backed down. Please know this, your work is not in vain. The only way that we will have lost tonight, is if we stop fighting.
I am so proud of all that we have accomplished. Every time I think of what we have done here, of course I can't help but think of the words that Teddy Roosevelt spoke in Paris, over a century ago. When that city was still reeling from devastating floods. It's a quotation from him that I had on a bulletin board at my house, the entire time that my girls were growing up. It has been a saying that inspired me to do so many of the things that I have been able to do. And that I know you have been inspired to do.
The quote reads as follows, "it is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better, the credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena. Whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strides valiantly, who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming."
My friends, the credit for that kind of fight, the fight that we have been valiantly fighting, belongs to you. You are the ones who have been in the arena, day after day. You'd been fighting quiet battles before any of you ever even knew my name. Maria in Mission, Texas, I loved her, she sold her truck to buy a shaved ice machine. And she opened this wonderful little Raspas stand in a gas station, where antique dolls and Wendy for Governor Signs adorned the countertops and windows. She had been fighting, and she was who we were all fighting for. She wanted to make sure that her children and her grandchildren didn't have to struggle, as she once did.
I will never forget the first time that I met Maria. I was so inspired by her. She grabbed me, and she hugged me, and she sobbed, as she said, "I have very little to give, but what I have, I give to you". In this race, she did that. Every single day she came to our phone bank and she called, and she took turns and she spoke only Spanish. She took turns with an English speaking phone banker, and they traded phones when they weren't speaking the right language to whomever they called.
I think of Katie who is a breast cancer survivor, who became a field organizer for us in Huston. Who'd been fighting for access to healthcare, because, as she put it, the only reason that she is still alive today, is because another breast cancer survivor gave up her own doctor's appointment, so that Katie could get treated. And six years later, Katie has been out there, live and well, knocking on doors. She is alive because she received care. She was inspired to fight for other women to receive lifesaving care, as well.
There is a 66 year old woman in Dallas, who was afraid to vote because she can't read. But she was brave enough to call one of our organizers to drive her to the polls and help her. Because she wanted to play a part in creating a Texas where her children and her grandchildren wouldn't be afraid of failure. Where they would have the promise of education, and live out the promise of their dreams. It's her, and it's you, and its young women and single mothers, and dedicated fathers, and teachers and workers across this state who've inspired me.
You have lifted me up, you carried me on your shoulders, every single day. In every corner of this state that I visited, you inspired me. When I was tired? You gave me energy, you gave me strength. Whenever I am near you, I feel that thing that Barbara Jordan felt, when she was talking about Texas. She said, I get from the soil and spirit of Texas, the felling that I, as an individual, can accomplish whatever I want to, and that there are no limits, that you can just keep going, just keep soaring. I like that spirit, she said.
And I like that spirit too. It is our spirit. It is that spirit. That will keep us soaring. My friends, we can make of this state what we will. But it will not be easy. Nothing about it will be simple. Fighting for what you believe never is. Don't ever forget that you are the ones who control the change, and that if we believe hard enough, and work hard enough, and push long enough, we will win this battle.
As scripture tells us, the battle does not go to the swift or to the strong, but to the one who endures until the end. We will endure, until our efforts realize the state that we envision. One where every child matters. Where no one is counted out. Where every voice is heard, and where we restore the promise of this state, that no matter where you start, your dreams can take you as far as you want to go.
When I think about that kind of spirit, I think about my mother who is standing here with me tonight. My mom went through some tough battles. My mother is the embodiment of what it means to have a Texas spirit. She wanted nothing more than for her children to have a better life than she had. To have an education beyond the 9th grade education that she had. To live happier lives, more successful ones than she had been able to live. You know what? She raised a daughter who ran for governor.
My mom is here today because she never gave up. I am here today because you didn't give up. I want to encourage you, you've got to stay in the fight and know that the true test of justice and fairness and freedom, lies somewhere within our hearts. Whether or not we succeed, or fail, will have everything to do with our belief and our will and the power of our voices, and nothing to do with our opponent.
To my running mate, and my sister Leticia Van de Putte, I thank her. I thank her for fighting for the people of Texas, each and every day. Her courage and her passion, are an inspiration to me now and always. To the people of Senate District 10, thank you for giving me the privilege of a lifetime. You gave me the privilege of serving you in Austin, for the last 6 years, and I treasured every moment of it. To Texas Democrats, thank you for allowing me the honor of serving as the nominee for Governor, in the greatest state, in the greatest country in the world.
To my two smart, accomplished, fighting spirit, beautiful daughters, Amber and Drew. Everything that I have done in this world that has meant anything to me, has been for the two of you. To our staff, our amazing, amazing team of people, all of the volunteers and supporters who have stood beside me, day in and day out, all of those folks who wrote checks and asked other people to write checks, and who knocked on doors, and made phone calls, and did so much to move our state forward. You have my eternal gratitude. We would not have made it this far without all of you.
I'm asking you to keep fighting alongside me. Our work is not done, and the principles for which we fight will always endure. I will leave you tonight with words from Jacob Reece, he's a 20th century muckraker, who said that, "when nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stonecutter, hammering away at his rock. Perhaps 100 times without a crack showing in it. Yet at the 101st blow, it will split in two. I know that it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before".
My friends, keep believing with me. Keep fighting with me. Keep hammering with me. In the end, we will win. God bless you all. God bless you, I love you. Thank you.
Neither the Catt Center nor Iowa State University is affiliated with any individual in the Archives or any political party. Inclusion in the Archives is not an endorsement by the center or the university.