Alison Lundergan Grimes

Victory speech for 2014 Senate primary - May 20, 2014

Alison Lundergan Grimes
May 20, 2014— Lexington, Kentucky
victory speech
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Thank you, Kentuckians. My fellow Kentuckians, it is an honor to stand before you as your nominee. Thank you for the overwhelming confidence that you have in the campaign we, together, are running and the race we will win in November. Together we will take this fight to Mitch McConnell and hold him accountable for his 30 years of failed leadership. Together we will make history and Kentucky will finally get a senator who puts people above partisanship, one that will work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year to improve the lives of Kentuckians to help them find jobs and make the Commonwealth a better place to live.

Tonight we celebrate the support, the overwhelming support that we have received all across the Commonwealth of Kentucky. You know, Senator McConnell thinks he is above all of us here tonight and across the Commonwealth literally flying around the state the night before the election while we have been and will continue to be on the ground in every corner of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Most recently, we had a 10-day 50-county bus tour where the energy and enthusiasm was contagious. Democrats, Republicans, and Independents coming together and embracing our vision, our campaign, which is about ending the gridlock, the obstruction, and the extreme partisanship in Washington DC that Mitch McConnell champions. Finally, putting a United State Senator on behalf of the Commonwealth of Kentucky that will work to grow the middle class, create jobs, and help to create a better Commonwealth of Kentucky.

As we stand here tonight, I have to thank each of my family members. My husband, Andrew, my parents, Charlotte and Jerry, my sisters Alissa, Abbey, Ashley who celebrates a birthday tonight, and Amy, Dr. and Mrs. Grimes, my grandmother who couldn’t be here with us tonight but is one of the fiercest Kentucky women I know who taught me anything you set your mind to you can accomplish. Each and every one of you, my aunts and uncles, cousins throughout the Commonwealth, you have been with me as I have sought to be the change that I believe we need in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and I am forever grateful.

I want to thank, also, the governors, Gov. Beshear and former Govs. Brown, Collins, Carroll, Patton and Jones who have been a part of this campaign. Gov. Collins has traveled everywhere on that bus tour with me.

To my fellow Constitutional Officers, members of the House and Senate who have been with us every step of the way, to my hardworking, talented staff who was led under the direction of campaign manager Jonathan Hurst, you have an unwavering commitment to giving up your time and your talents to help us move this state and nation forward, but most importantly to each and every one of you that are here tonight and are joining us across the television screens, it is because of you, your prayers, your persistence, and yes, your getting out to work each and every day that we stand here tonight and the possibility of a brighter future awaits us in November.

I want to thank my three opponents in today’s primary election, Mr. Leichty, Mr. Recktenwald, and Mr. Farnsley, and to Matt Bevins who led a very spirited campaign against Sen. Gridlock. I thank you for stepping forward. I know it is not easy being a candidate, trust me, I know, but I believe our great democracy is at its best when people step forward and make sacrifices to have an exchange of ideas. I want to invite Kentuckians all across the Commonwealth, Democrats, Republicans and Independents, to join us tonight in our common cause to have a fresh, independent voice in Washington D.C. that finally puts Kentucky, not Washington partisanship, first. United we will make a change.

Now, we celebrate here tonight, but make no mistake, our work continues tomorrow. Let us have no illusions about what is ahead of us and what lies ahead. With his millions of DC lobbyist insider dollars and out-of-state political action committees, Mitch McConnell is going to try to buy his way back to Washington D.C. with deceitful, untruthful, negative, nasty ads that will try to distort and distract from his failed record. He wants this campaign to be about anything but his record. What does it say about a man who has been in Washington D.C. now 30 years in the Senate that he has no record to run on. It can only be on attacks and misleading information that he runs a campaign.

Indeed, Mitch McConnell would have you believe that President Obama is on Kentucky’s 2014 election ballot. We all know that Sen. McConnell has been in Washington a little bit too long. He is so out of touch that he can’t tell the different between a Duke jersey and a University of Kentucky. Well, let me set the record straight tonight for our senior senator who is out of touch with the Commonwealth of Kentucky. President Obama is not on Kentucky’s 2014 election ballot. Nothing about this election will change who is in the White House, but we can change who is in Washington D.C. and finally put in someone for the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Sen. McConnell, this race is between you and me. That’s the name that appears on the ballot. As you said so many years ago, it is my number one priority to make sure Mitch McConnell does not see another term.

Now, Mitch McConnell, he wants to tell you who I am, and he has said that he claims that Kentucky will be lost if we trade in his seat for a Kentucky woman who he believes will sit on the back bench. Well, I’m here to tell you tonight, my fellow Kentuckians, I am not an empty dress, I am not a rubber stamp, and I am not a cheerleader. I am a strong Kentucky woman who is an independent thinker who, when I am Kentucky’s next senator, the decisions that I make will be what is best for the people of the Commonwealth of Kentucky not partisan interest.

As Kentucky’s next United States senator, I will answer to the people of this state. I won’t answer to the president no matter who he or she might be. As a proud Kentucky woman, I will speak for myself, and no Kentucky woman, Mitch McConnell, will sit on the back bench.

We all know Washington is broken. It’s not working for Kentucky, and after 30 years it is Mitch McConnell at the center of the gridlock obstruction and extreme partisanship that we see. Kentucky is tired of a senator who proudly calls himself the Doctor of No, the Guardian of Gridlock. I’m running because Kentucky deserves better. We deserve a senator for the people of this state.

This election is not about party control. It is about two very different visions for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, one that wants to take is forward where we should, and deserve, to be and another that wants to continue to hold us back as he has for the past three decades. Mitch McConnell - he stands on the wrong side of every issue that is out there for Kentuckians. When it comes to increasing the minimum wage, he has voted against it 15 times, never gone without a pay raise for himself. He quadrupled his net worth on the backs of hardworking Kentuckians that can’t afford it. He says it’s the last thing he will put his name to. When I’m in the United States Senate, my fellow Kentuckians, it will be the first thing we put our name to. It’s not a minimum wage, it’s a living wage. Each and every Kentuckian deserves the opportunity to live the American dream and be a part of a shared prosperity.

When it comes to the women of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, well, Mitch McConnell likewise is on the wrong side of every issue voting against the violence against women act, the Paycheck Fairness Act, and the Lilly Ledbetter Act. Senator McConnell, if you can’t stand up to vote to protect Kentucky’s women against violence, you don’t deserve to be a United States senator. As your next United States Senator, I will work to make sure that Kentucky women get equal pay for equal work. Seventy-nine cents on every dollar is not acceptable.

Let’s get the record straight. It is on Mitch McConnell’s watch, not mine, that we lost thousands of coal jobs. It’s on Mitch McConnell’s watch, not mine, that we have gone without the necessary funding to implement clean coal technology. It’s on Mitch McConnell’s watch, not mine, that over-burdensome EPA regulations have been imposed upon the Commonwealth of Kentucky. This election will be about holding you, Sen. McConnell, accountable for all that has happened on your watch.

The three words that scares Sen. McConnell the most, well besides seeing Alison Lundergan Grimes on the ballot, is pro-coal Kentuckians. I don’t agree with the president’s war on coal. I think it’s wrong for Kentucky. We can’t afford to have six more years of Mitch McConnell in Washington D.C. either. As Kentucky’s next United States Senator, I will fight to make sure that coal has a long-term place in our national energy policy and that we actually have the funding to implement clean coal technology, and we restore coal to its rightful place as a prime American export. Anything that you hear to the contrary from Mitch McConnell, it is a lie, Kentuckians.

When it comes to the veterans of this state, 350,000 veterans that we have in the Commonwealth, the fourth largest in the nation, Mitch McConnell votes against them as he votes against making permanent the Vow to Hire Heroes Act. I will continue to champion and advocate on behalf of our Kentucky heroes and work to make that act permanent.

For our American working men and women, Mitch McConnell, he doesn’t want you to have a voice. I believe that collective bargaining is a fundamental right for our American workers. I will have none of the Right To Work for that legislation is just another name for union-busting. Together it is labor that has lifted millions out of poverty. Together we will grow the middle class.

When it comes to the jobs that you know we so desperately need here in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, well, we know where Sen. McConnell has been. His votes have been on the wrong side of every issue. We finally got the admission, though, as he went to the eastern part of the state just a month ago and told Eastern Kentuckians, whose unemployment is nearly twice the national average at 14 percent, in response to ‘what will you do to help bring jobs back to this state?’ he said, and I quote, ‘it is not his job to bring jobs to the Commonwealth of Kentucky.’ We can’t afford to have a senator who doesn’t believe as I do. It is a number one priority to help put hardworking Kentuckians back to work.

This race is about someone who for 30 years has never put forth a jobs plan, doesn’t believe it is his responsibility, and won’t fight for the people of the Commonwealth of Kentucky and someone who is the only candidate in this race that has a jobs plan that we developed together. Unlike Mitch McConnell, I will rise every morning and go to bed every night with the burden on my back of helping to put Kentuckians back to work. That’s the job of a United States senator.

It is making sure that the boilermakers in Eastern Kentucky who can’t put their suitcase in the yard sale because they might need it to go find work has a way forward. It is the mother of a six-month-old who doesn’t know how she is going to be able to provide for her young daughter because of a 16-day government shutdown that Mitch McConnell caused, who are at the forefront of this election.

Now make no mistake, there is no silver bullet that will solve all of our economic woes, but it is about two things: 1) Having a senator that believes that it is their job to help grow the middle class and put Kentuckians back to work and 2) A senator that has a plan to get out there. It’s about doing the right things over a sufficient period of time with the proper investment. Kentuckians, together we will get there.

Now, let me tell you, this election comes down to one thing. If you think that Washington is working for you, that they are in touch with you and your family, that the last six years, well, you’d like to have them reduplicated, then you keep that senior senator in Washington until 2020; but if you’re like the majority of Kentuckians and you think that Washington isn’t working for this state, that Mitch McConnell is out of touch and gone Washington and want to have a better six years, then I invite Kentuckians all across this Commonwealth to join our campaign. Together we will rid Kentucky of a man who has not worked for us in Washington, won’t work for us in Washington, and replace him with a fighter who will.

Kentucky, we must do better. We can do better. Together we will do better. Thank you. God bless each of you and the Commonwealth of Kentucky.