Mary Burke

Concession Speech - Nov. 4, 2014

Mary Burke
November 04, 2014— Madison, Wisconsin
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Thank you all. Thirteen months ago we started an improbable, incredible journey together. Soon after that, I hung a poster on the wall of my campaign office that has always had special meaning to me. It's a poster of Coach Lombardi, with my favorite quote of his, and it reads, it's not whether you get knocked down, it's whether you get up.

Tonight, Wisconsin re-elected Governor Walker, and for many of us, it feels a bit like getting knocked down. But if I learned anything over the last 13 months, it is this, this state we all love so much if full of people and communities that can take a hit, but never waiver in getting right back up.

For those of us who work so hard, so passionately and so tirelessly, for a new direction, it's okay to be disappointed tonight, but it's not okay to get back up. So that's what we're going to do. We're going to dust ourselves off. And we're going to get right back up. Because the values we hold dear, and the Wisconsin we stand up for, they are as important and worth standing up for tonight and tomorrow as they were yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that.

No election outcome or political fight, matters as much as the values we hold near and dear. We know we are all better when everyone in every community across this great state, has a fair shot to get ahead. We know a fair shot means great, affordable, public education from kindergarten through university. In every community, for every family. No one who has the dreams and is willing to work hard, should be priced out of an education.

A fair shot means equality in pay and opportunities, it means women's rights to make our own decisions regarding our bodies. It means preserving our great natural resources, for future generations. It means the right for workers to collectively bargain. It means increasing the minimum wage so people who work full time can support themselves. It means a strong, growing middle class. It means a government that is working for the people, not deep pocketed donors and big moneyed special interests.

This campaign is over. But the fight for these values, and that fair shot, that is so important to Wisconsinites, and our future is not. I am so honored and have been so humbled to have won the support of so many. Touched by the time and the hard work, that family, friends and total strangers, have put into this effort.

Over the course of the campaign, I've met so many amazing individuals, who are committed to bettering their communities. It has been nothing short of inspiring. Their stories are almost never those of politicians and candidates for office, they are the entrepreneurs, boot strapping their own small business. They are the neighbors and coworkers who give of their time to their community, through their church and perhaps their local boys and girls club.

They are the parents working multiple jobs to provide a better life for their children. Their stories, are our stories. As a state, forever determined, focused, and committed to moving forward.

We have so much to be proud of across this state. While tonight's outcome is not what I had hoped for, I am more optimistic than I thought possible, about the ability of Wisconsin to conquer any challenge put in front of us. I congratulate the Governor on a hard fought victory. We may not agree on much, okay, not much at all. But anyone who runs for higher office subjects themselves to endless scrutiny and criticism, works incredibly hard, and makes many personal sacrifices. For this, he has my respect.

I'm so grateful to anyone who has been a part of this effort. I will never forget all that you have done on my behalf, and I will never stop doing what I can do to improve my community and to serve others.

First and foremost, I want to thank my family. They have been a bedrock of support from day one. My mom Laney and my dad who passed away six years ago. They taught me the values that have guided me my entire life, and will continue to guide me. They have brought me up to believe that I could do anything as long as I did the hard work.

Never did I question whether I could take this on and win. They also taught me to treat everyone with respect. Even those I disagree with. Never to judge people. Believe that everyone deserves that fair shot. That the more that you have, the more you should give. To be honest, to work my hardest and to never give up. So thank you mom and dad.

And thanks to my sisters, and their spouses. Kathy and John, Sharon and Jeff and Michelle and Derek. Their belief in me has meant so much. Their love and support trumped personal politics, and I always knew that I could count on them. Thank you to my brother John and his wife Tanya, I can best sum it up by saying that there's no one else I would rather have in my corner for any battle. John was the one I could count on to tell me the truth, no matter how brutal. He was committed 110%, and the first to fight back against the negative attacks.

And thank you to my nieces and nephews, before I got into this, I called each of them and I asked if they would support me and put up with the scrutiny of their home lives that might come with it. Not one of them waivered for even a second. The youngest, Alex, immediately proclaimed himself my number one fan, and called me "gov to be." Anna, Jason, Kyle, Kate, Carrie, Bryan, Richie and Courtney have all been there, whether it was for a game of "who knew?" or basketball to take my mind of campaigning, or pumping me up after a particularly tough day. Courtney spent her summer working her heart out from the south side of Milwaukee, all the way up to Marshfield. I am the luckiest aunt in whole world.

To John Lehman, your commitment to Wisconsin is unmatched. Your belief in serving the public good is an inspiration, and your tireless work throughout this campaign, is deeply appreciated. Almost last, and certainly not least, to my team of campaign staff. You guys are just the best. I said from day one I wanted the best team with me, and you guys delivered. Through the highs and the lows, you never stopped pushing yourselves, or me, and we have not come this close without each and every single one of you. So thank you.

I've been asked, what surprised me the most of this campaign. And I think the thing that might have surprised me the most is just how much I really enjoy campaigning. It is because of the great people I have met along the way, and those have deepened friendship with. I can't tell you how deeply personal I feel about your encouragement and support, every step of the way. Giving generously, in terms of your time and money, this was truly a team effort. And it is what gave me strength every moment of the last 13 months.

So many of you worked your heart out because you believed in me, and believed in a better Wisconsin. So thank you very, very much. Finally, thank you to all of the supporters, and all of the volunteers for all that you have done, and that you will continue to do, going forward. Stay determined, stay focused, and stay committed, since there is nothing that can stop us from moving forward. Thank you.

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