You are a hard-working, good looking crowd. I love you, too. I love the people of North Carolina. It’s not the outcome that we wanted, but I have zero regrets. It’s been a huge honor to run to be your United States Senator.
I want to thank you for all the time and effort that you have put into this election. It has been the election of a lifetime. Serious, serious issues have been put out there and you have worked very hard. I want to thank my husband, who stood by me. He has been my best friend, he has been a trusted advisor, and he has always stood by me when I reaches for my dream.
My parents are here with me tonight. You heard about them on the trail. My dad, who always pushed me to do better and my mother who was always there for me no matter what. I talked to them every Sunday, usually on the way to church, and they have been the best parents anyone could ask for. I also want to thank my staff. Many of you have met them, they are the best of North Carolina. Some of them, it is their first job. Some of them this is their first job out of school. I have kids from different areas, all over the state. We have people who came back to North Carolina to work on this campaign and some folks who we have convinced to make North Carolina home because our staff has reflected the state and out people.
I want to tell you that we got in this race for the people of North Carolina and I have loved going to more than 90 counties throughout the state. We have met people who have been struggling, who need to have the minimum wage increase. We have met older people who cannot make ends meet just on Social Security. We’ve seen what the needs are in North Carolina and I pray that Congress will address that. I want to say that for my opponent—don’t boo, vote. He served the state for more than two decades and he will be you senator. Please go to him because he needs to serve all the people of the state.
I want to share with you just a few stories from the campaign trail about people who have inspired me because I hope that you will take that inspiration with you. I want to talk with you about an 85-year-old man I met. He was one of the first recipients of the order of the Long Leave Pine. He told me this is the most significant election we have ever had in North Carolina since 1960 when we got to vote for JFK. I have carried those words with me.
I want to tell you about a young man who lost his scholarship because of an injury and is working the night shift to stay in school. He will need help paying for college just like so many young people around North Carolina, and out Congress needs to address this.
I want to tell you about the overflow room at Poor People Incorporated on Labor Dat. They have suffered a lot from the hurricane in that area, but there were people before the hurricane who came out because they know their votes matter and count, and we cannot forget the victims of hurricane Matthew just because we have an election.
Finally, I want to thank my junior high school history teacher, who grew up in a small town in North Carolina. I talked to her before I came over to the hotel this evening and she wished me well. The teachers out there, please remember you are inspiring the next generation. She inspired me, and please remember that every day what you are doing.
I don’t consider this the end, I consider this an opportunity to inspire young people and we have run a campaign that I think we can be proud of and has inspired them. I’m going to leave you in a minute, but I’m going to take a page from Harvey Gantt’s playbook. You know, he ran for U.S. Senate twice and did not prevail, but one of the major things he did was inspire Barack Obama to go forward. I hope that I have inspired just one or two people along the way.
Thank you so much, North Carolina. God bless you.