As I look out, I know each and every one of you and thank you so much for being here. Thank you. Thank you. Before I get started, does anyone have a new pair of shoes? Ruby red ones, maybe? Because guess what, I just gave mine away.
What a difference a year makes. A little over a year ago when I got into this race, the press, the pundits, other politicians and all were ready to write this race off and hand Elizabeth Dole the keys to her office for another six years. But it’s not her office, and we knew better. What we were able to accomplish in a little more than a year is a testament to how hungry people are for a change. So much has gone off course for the last eight years, and it is going to take all of us working together to get it turned around again.
First, I want to take a moment and thank my family behind me. Thank you. Particularly, my brothers and their families. Chip’s brothers, his dad, General Charlie Hagan, my dad, Joe, and Judy. They have been a constant sounding board for me and a source of encouragement every day. I also want to thank all the extended - Ruthvens, Hagans, Chiles, and Carters - for traveling near and far to be here tonight to celebrate this victory. And to our three children, Jeanette, Tilden, and Carrie. Y’all, they have traveled endlessly going across this great state of North Carolina putting their lives and their schooling on hold to help get me elected.
Every mother, and I know there are a lot of moms out here, every mother loves to brag on her kids, but the stories that I have heard from people all across this state where they were attending events have always made me one proud mama, let me tell you. Now that we have won, they can go back to school.
Of course, to my wonderful husband, Chip, the best husband any woman could ever ask for. No one has been a bigger supporter, a bigger cheerleader, or a better partner in this journey, and I could not have done it without his humor, his perspective, and his love. Thank you, my dear husband. As I have said countless times over the last year, Chip made the difference in this election, and it is certainly nice to have a husband who can vote for me.
Also, I want to give such a huge thanks to my staff led by the unflappable Crystal King who has put together a team as talented as they are funny and as they are hardworking. I would not be here today without each and every member of my staff here in Greensboro and across the state. Let’s have a huge, huge round of applause for all of them. You just cannot imagine how hard they have worked morning, noon, and night seven days a week. They really have put their heart and soul into this race. I thank each and every one of you out there.
Last, but certainly not least, a huge thank you to all of you and to all of the North Carolinians who have gotten behind my campaign door-knocking, phone-banking, blogging, joining Ruby Red Slipper parties, decorating parties, and hosting me in your communities and, of course, voting for me. You were the difference between winning and losing. You are the reason why our campaign was so successful. I am humbled and honored by the faith you have put into me and my campaign.
To the North Carolinians who didn’t vote for me: I am going to be working hard for the next six years to earn your vote because Democrat, Republican, or Independent, the ideas we need to create good-paying jobs and turn our economy around won’t have a party label. If you have an idea that works for North Carolina, my door will always be open.
I love our great state of North Carolina, and as I have traveled over this entire campaign, the people of North Carolina have been an inspiration. From Murphy to Manteo, they all want the same thing. No one wants a handout. They just want leadership that listens and a government that doesn’t stand in their way but gives them a chance to make their own way.
You know, this campaign saw some tough personal attacks, but throughout it all the thing that kept me going was my belief that North Carolina cares the most about the issues. That message was sent from working families, seniors, students, Democrats, Independents and Republicans. Tonight Washington received the message loud and clear: Stop the partisan bickering, work together, and get started fixing things right now.
Standing up here tonight is not the end of the campaign. It is the beginning. It is the beginning of our fight to bring real change to Washington, the kind of change that will make a difference here in North Carolina. Tax breaks should go to businesses creating American jobs, not corporations that send them overseas. Our energy policy should create jobs and end our dependence on foreign oil not reward the big oil companies with billions in tax breaks while we borrow from China to pay for oil from Saudi Arabia. We must remember that whenever our economy has struggled, small businesses and the middle class have been the engines that pulled us free, and they are the ones that need the help now.
We face real challenges, but those are the values that will guide me as your next US Senator. I thank you tonight. I want to really thank you tonight for your support, but I’m also asking for your help, Democrat, Republican, or Independent, get involved in our communities, volunteer at your church, at your kids’ schools, and for our veterans. The challenges we face are real. Changing Washington is truly just the start. It will take all of us working together at all levels across North Carolina to create the kind of lasting change we want to see in this country.
You know what? Tonight is a night to celebrate. Thank you for your faith in our campaign. Thank you for your extraordinary hard work. Thank you for all that we have got to do together starting tomorrow. I really, from the bottom of my heart, thank each and every one of you so much for coming out, for voting, and for being here tonight. We are going to have a great celebration so thank you very much. God bless.