Doris Matsui

Announcement of Candidacy - Jan. 12, 2005

Doris Matsui
January 12, 2005— Sacramento, California
Announcement speech
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Hi, I'm Doris Matsui. My family and I want to thank you for the outpouring of love and support you've shown us this past week. Sacramento was Bob's home, and I know he would have been deeply moved. You know, I also think he might have been a bit embarrassed.

After all, he would be the first to remind us all that his work...

...his commitment to equality
...his dedication to guaranteeing dignity for the elderly
...his tireless work to make Sacramento a better place to live and raise a family
...his driving desire to make America stronger for each successive generation

He'd be the first to remind us that so many of the things we love him for weren't about him at all. They were about all of us. They were about our future. I will always feel the loss of my husband. I will always treasure his memory. I will always be inspired by the way he chose not to define his role in life by the hardship of his youth. Instead of condemning America, he chose to serve it and make it a better place for all of us. And he served with a patriotism that was deep and pure.

I will strive to pass the lessons of his life on to our granddaughter Anna.

As I look at the faces of our future, I remember one lesson Bob taught all of us: the work of building a stronger Sacramento and a better America is a journey as well as a destination -- and that work is still far from finished.

For our 38 years together, that was work I shared -- often in different capacities, and different venues, but always with the same goals.

Before Bob was elected to Congress, I served as President of KVIE public television. Many of you remember that KVIE was struggling at the time, and there was a chance our community would lose this vital resource. I was proud to help clean up its books, and make it a vibrant public television station again. I did this because I believe that the public airwaves are a public trust, and we should use them to educate our children and improve the quality of public debate.

In the Clinton Administration, I served as a Deputy Assistant to the President, and helped lead the Office of Public Liaison. For six years, my job was to make sure that the needs of California and the voices of children, seniors, and minorities were heard in the halls of the White House.

As our nation's largest state, and the world's sixth-largest economy, California has unique strengths and significant needs. Working with President Clinton and Vice President Gore, we ensured that California's interests always had a special seat at the table.

Working with senior citizens groups, we were able to strengthen Social Security, and draw a line in the sand against privatization.

Working with parents, educators, and administrators, we were able to invest in 100,000 new teachers nationwide -- over 3,300 of them in California. And we were able to make college more affordable by expanding work-study programs, and increasing Pell Grants.

Working with children's groups and health care providers -- and a Congressman named Bob Matsui -- we were able to pass health care portability and a landmark Children's Health Insurance program -- a program that has provided health care for over 220,000 of California's children.

Since my time in the White House, I have served on many non-profit Boards, one of which is The Meridian International Center. This group works in conjunction with the State Department to conduct professional international exchange programs between the United States and 140 nations. I have always recognized that America is a beacon of hope throughout the world, and that we need to do more to share the power of our example.

I am proud of the work I did in each of those areas. But I would be prouder still if that work was just the beginning.

Just as I worked to make sure California got its share of federal resources, we now need to make sure that Sacramento -- the largest city in America at the greatest risk of catastrophic flooding -- gets the resources we need to take our people out of harm's way. And we need to make sure that as Sacramento continues to grow, our transportation network grows with it.

In the days ahead, it will be critical that we keep up Bob's fight against Social Security privatization.

Just as I worked to reduce class size and build new schools, we now need to make sure that real education reforms get the real resources necessary to succeed.

And just as we worked to expand health care coverage to children, we now need to go even further, because it is unconscionable that in a nation that is home to some of the most stunning advances in health care, 45 million Americans still go without basic health insurance.

And let me say also, Bob's condition -- Milo Dysplastic Disorder -- is a disease like so many others in that stem cell research offers hope. When President Bush limited federal funding for stem cell research, I thought it was a wrongheaded policy. Now I have joined the ranks of the hundreds of thousands of Americans nationwide for whom this is personal. We've done the right thing in California. We need to make California's approach America's approach. Stem cell research needs more champions in Congress who can speak with a voice of experience.

Similarly, the work I did to build bridges between America and the nations of the world. is also something we must do more of in the days ahead.

After all, America faces real threats today. Those threats will never be eliminated if we continue to alienate our allies. America must be smart as well as strong.

In these times -- when our nation faces so many challenges -- we need sophisticated, mature leadership in Washington.

When the people of southern Asia see our soldiers and ships and helicopters bringing food, water, and supplies -- they see the best of America.

Just as we need to do more to present an America of friendship and compassion to the world, we also need to do more to create that America here at home.

So today, I ask you to allow me to continue Bob's work through mine.

I am asking those who supported him to now support me.

I am asking those who believed in him to believe in me.

I am asking all of you who stood alongside him for a better Sacramento to now stand with me.

Here, at the place where Bob first asked for your support... the place where his parents raised him -- and where we raised our family -- I am asking you to honor me as you honored my husband so many times before. I'm asking you to send me to fulfill his term in the United States Congress.

We have always combined our love of Sacramento with our ability to get things done in Washington -- and I pledge to continue to do the same.

If you give me this honor, I give you this promise. No one will work harder to help strengthen the Sacramento we love, and to build the America we deserve.

Thank you.