Gwen Graham

Gwen Grahm Speaks to Franklin County Residents- Aug. 3, 2014

Gwen Graham
August 03, 2014— Apalachicola, Florida
Grillin' With the Grahams
Print friendly

First I want to say thank you to Curt Blair, I know you were the driving force behind this and I want to say thank you.

It means so much to see everyone here, because this race is about everyone in this room, everyone across the 2nd congressional district, which happens to be, in case you did not know, the largest district in Florida.

Since I have gotten into this race, I have put over 31,000 miles on my car, and I’m sure there’s going to be tens of thousands more before November 4th. I would also like to identify someone, if not for his love and support, I would not be able to do what I do. Running for congress is literally a 24 hour day, 7 day a week commitment. I had a dream about this. So I have my husband Steve Hurm in the back of the room, he’s been by my side every step of the way. Thank you so much.

To my dad and my mom, to have the family support, my sisters, and their dog by the way is scared of helium balloons. Our dogs name is Toto, and he’s afraid of helium balloons, but he’s not in here. This may not be a dog friendly.

So let me just start by giving you all a little bit of background to me. Some of you may know that my Dad was elected governor quite a few years ago. At the time that he was elected Governor, I was 15, and as dad pointed out that was quite a while ago. There was a very important dinner that our family had when I was 13, where dad turned to my mom, my sisters, I have 3 younger sisters, and my Grandmother, at the table. My father announced that he was going to run for Governor of Florida. I remember my sister Cynthia who is here tonight, she is the extraverted granddaughter, and she turned to my mom and said, but Mom, I don’t want to move to Tallahassee. I love my friends, I love my school, and my mom turned to Sissy and said, well don’t worry, Dad’s not going to win. So on election night, Sissy was more concerned that Mom had lied to her. But the motto of that story is, when Grahams run, Grahams win.

This has been the most amazing last 16+ months. I have been in this race for over a year, and not that I’m counting, but we have 95 more days to go till election night. Every day is better than the last, and it’s because of the connection that I feel with the people that I meet all across this district. Many of you I’ve met many times before, and I just know the friendships that are here, the bond that is here, the connection that I feel, and I cannot wait to get to Washington and represent North Florida as North Florida deserves to be represented.

What that means is getting back to caring about people first. When you run for office, my whole decision to run for office was based on my desire to be in a position to help people, and to make the decisions that are most going to help the communities such as Apalachicola.

There are three things I am focused on. One is jobs, building the economy. Working with those that will help bring wonderful economic opportunities to the 2nd congressional district.

Two, is education. We need to have the strongest education in place, K-12 and high school. I think we need to work with Washington to make sure we can bring funds into these communities that are working and in control of us. I do believe that those who are closest to the students, have the best ability to know where those funds are best spent.

The third is to focus on our seniors. Dad says that’s almost everyone who is over 18, there may be some in this room that consider themselves seniors. Seniors deserve to have the support of our country. Protecting Medicare, protecting Social Security, I was absolutely disappointed in Congressman Southerland recent vote for the Ryan budget which would privatize Social Security and voucherize Medicare, that’s just wrong. We’re not keeping our promise to the seniors of our country, and my commitment is to make sure that those promises are kept.

A unique and very important issue here in Apalachicola and something that throughout my life I have cared about desperately, is the Apalachicola River and basin. As Dad said, we spent the morning on the river, and it is the most spectacular, pristine treasure. It’s a treasure not only for Florida and North Florida, but for our country. That river needs to be protected. It’s time to stop the fighting. It’s time to stop being unwilling to work together to do what’s right for the community of Franklin County.

Some people say, well how do you do that? You build the relationships with the core of engineers. The core of engineers need to know that I will be someone that they want to talk with, but they can trust. You build the relationships with the other members of the congressional delegation. At the end of the day, we’re all people. We should care about one another. We should care about the best, and wanting the best for each other. I can’t wait to get to Washington and reach out to the Georgia delegation, and reach out to the Alabama delegation, and get the Florida Delegation.

We are the third largest state in the country. With that size comes strength. I believe that as a Florida Delegation, we should be working together when there’s an issue this important, anywhere in our state, we should be helping one another. So I am so ready to serve. I’m living each day committed to working hard, reading people, that’s what this winning with the Grahams is about. I’ve met so many people before, I’m meeting you again, and I hope you can see as I talk with you, that this is in my heart. I’m running for this seat so that I can bring the North Florida people with me. Y’all will be with me, each and every day, as I’m making decisions. My decisions are going to be based on what’s in your best interest.

As Dad said, it’s not about what party you’re in, it’s about the people who give you the honor to serve, and that crosses party lines. And that is what my commitment is going to be. So now we’re moving into what I like to call the home stretch of the campaign. You may see many people around here that have on Graham for Congress shirts.

This gentleman over here to my left, he just happens to be my son. He is the youngest of our three children, but he is also the digital intern for the Graham for Congress campaign this summer. He told me about three months ago, he said Mom, I don’t think that you’re a social media is really going to be appealing to the younger voters. And I said, okay, well come on board, and help me, and that’s what he’s doing. Has anyone been following his blog? So he’s having a blog every day where he’s doing little videos, and fun with the Grahams. I love it, I’m so happy to have him helping on the campaign.

But I have so many other wonderful people. Everybody who’s part of the Graham for Congress team, please raise your hand. They’re probably outside grilling. We have the largest field program ever in the south, in the history of the south for a congressional campaign. That’s because the strength of the campaign is recognized nationally. We are, if not the best, certainly one of the top two best opportunities to send somebody who is not working together with others to make sure that the people that are electing or have elected you, making sure that your issues are represented in Washington. That’s what being elected means.

So we are recognized as not if one of the best chances of sending someone home, and quite honestly, I have heard that the gentleman that I’m running against is not happy all the time in Washington. I’m the kind of person that likes to make other people happy. So this is going to be a win-win all around. I am so excited, and will approach every day with a vigor and enthusiasm to fulfill what I see in everybody’s eyes, which is the hope and the need to put aside the ugliness, the negativity about one another, and return to a time when once you got elected, you checked all of that at the door, and you did the right thing for the American people, and the people who gave you the honor of serving.

So, I want to end with this. We’re going to win this race. We are going to win this race, but we’re not going to win it if anyone stays home. If anyone has to exercise the right to vote. This election is so critically important. I recognize that it’s not a presidential election. But did you know that in this district, it’s often the gubernatorial race that’s the marquee race that people care about, that come out to vote for, even more than the presidential because it has such an impact here in the 2nd congressional district. We have more state voters than anywhere else in the country in this state. This election, I really feel is going to be exciting, it’s going to be a lot of people turning out, it’s a pride for our people nationally, so I want to all to make sure that statement comes true. No pressure.

Everybody needs to get out to vote, we have tons of opportunities to volunteer for the Graham for congress campaign, and drag your family, drag your friends, if you see a stranger on the side of the road, drag them in too, because that’s what’s going to make the difference. Get out to vote, get out to vote, get out to vote. The Graham for congress campaign is going to be here to help you. The Mayor, who I am so honored to call a friend, he said it at the beginning, that’s what we’re going to do. Get out the vote. Right?

So on November 4th, we’re going to have a big victory to celebrate. It’s a victory not only for our district, but for Florida as a country. But I do want to comment that every single day of this campaign, has not been a pure joy. I’ve had sad moments. As the campaign progressed, there would be people called trackers, does anybody know what trackers are? They’re people that try to find a way to catch you doing something that could potentially be used against you. Very sadly, Juliet felt very strongly that my dancing style could be used against me. So I have been on dance lockdown for a very very long time.

But, here’s the good news, I already have the DJ lined up, and on November 4th, we’re all going to dance. It’s going to be a dance and celebration of a victory for our district, the North Florida way, it’s going to be a victory for Florida, it’s going to be a victory for our country, and I cannot wait. I’m inviting all of y’all to come and dance with me. So thank you, thank you, and thank you.

I am happy to entertain any questions or discussions if you like. If you want to know about my dancing style, I believe I’m slightly better than Elaine, Juliet might disagree.

Any questions? No? Well wonderful.

Thank you all so much and I would so appreciate your support, and your vote, and we’re going to win this race together.

Speech from