Good afternoon and thank you for joining me here today. Thank you Anna Eshoo, Mike Thompson and John Burton. We should applaud those leaders who don't just get it right but who have the courage to stand up for what is right.
I can think of no better place to announce to my friends, neighbors, and colleagues that I am running for Congress in the 12th District.
It has been almost two weeks since we heard the sad news that Congressman Lantos was diagnosed with cancer. As I begin this journey, let us keep Congressman Lantos and his family in our prayers, and let us thank him. For nearly three decades he has been a passionate champion of human rights around the world. Tom also had a talent for skewering stonewalling bureaucrats. That's a talent I admire. All of our best hopes go with Tom and Annette during this difficult time.
We are in a park named for Leo Ryan. Congressman Ryan was a man of great courage. Of course, that courage cost him his life.
29 years ago this month I ran for this seat in Congress. I lost that race, but Leo taught me three things which I would like to share with you today:
First, always stand up for the things you believe in, even when you stand alone;
Second, a public servant has a duty to ask questions -- to turn over rocks to expose waste and corruption, and to prove to the people that they can have faith in their leaders.
More importantly, Leo taught me never to forget who you work for -- the people of your district.
In the 18 years that I served in the Legislature and before that on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, those were the lessons I heeded. These are the lessons that I will take to Washington if I am elected.
I am really a product of California, of the hope and opportunity that exists here for everyone. My mother and father, who are with me here today, made sure of that. They taught me about the value of hard work. Dad was a Teamster and mom still works today at the age of 92 teaching upholstery in the San Mateo Adult School.
My children are here with me today -- Jackson Sierra and Stephanie Sierra -- a constant reminder of what all of us have left to do in order to transfer the reins of leadership and stewardship of our country and planet to them in a condition that is better than what we inherited.
My husband Barry Dennis and my mother in law are here today. Thank you darling for supporting me in this dream and Betty for supporting me at home.
Today, I am honored to be joined by over 30 of the more than 92 elected officials, from San Francisco to Redwood City and every city in between, who are supporting my candidacy. Your support and friendship is nothing short of humbling. We will work together and I will always be just a phone call away.
People ask why I am running for Congress.
We spend $10 billion a month in a senseless war in Iraq, while just $10 billion a year would cover every uninsured child in America.
That’s why I’m running for Congress.
Each day thousands of Americans have their personal financial information traded for money or outright stolen. I would like to see the same type of tough financial privacy laws passed at the federal level that I got passed here in California.
That’s why I'm running for Congress.
The federal government is fighting to keep California from cleaning our own air. I’d like to see an Environmental Protection Agency that is on the side of the environment and not the polluters.
Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan are denied quality healthcare in a nation that asks them to make the ultimate sacrifice. This is ridiculous. We can do better, and that is why I am running for Congress.
When I look out before me, I see hardworking people who share these values. That’s why I love our area. Teachers, firefighters, police officers, nurses, small business owners, students -- all with a stake in the future of America, all concerned about the common problems we face, but all dedicated to a common belief: America is great, and while we sometimes lose our way we must not lose our vision.
The vision to create universal healthcare for all Americans, to put an end to the 47 million who go without.
The vision to support funding for schools and colleges because investing in children and our future is not simply a moral obligation but a national honor.
None of these things will get fixed if we continue the same partisan bickering in Washington. I’m about getting things done. Like I did in the Legislature I will reach across party lines to get things done.
When I worked on child support, I worked across party lines to create the toughest child support law in the nation, helping parents recover over $1 billion in delinquent child support.
We have a proof of auto insurance law in California because I worked with Republican colleagues in the legislature. The result: you are paying an average of $200 less in car insurance per year.
The Baby Bullet train that removed 17,000 cars from 101 and 280 was truly a bipartisan effort and would not exist were it not for my relationships with members of the other party in the Legislature.
I will spend the next months meeting voters in their homes, on the sidewalk and in coffee shops. I invite anyone who wants to sit down with me to share their thoughts. I am asking for your vote in the June Democratic primary, but I am asking for you to also share your dreams for America. Let us come together as we are today, San Francisco and the Peninsula, young and old, gay and straight, black and white, Asian, Filipino and Latino, Democrats, Independents, and Republicans -- all of us who love our country and who know that we can do better.