Ann McLane Kuster

Democratic Primary Victory Speech - Sept. 14, 2010

Ann McLane Kuster
September 14, 2010— Concord, New Hampshire
Victory speech
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Fired up! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you so much. Thank you so much. This is amazing. Thank you. Thank you.

Tonight was a critical milestone in our campaign to bring a new approach to Washington, and with all of your help, I know we can win in November. I congratulate Katrina Swett for running a strong campaign and for her relentless focus on fighting for the middle class. She is a strong and fearless and intelligent voice for our state, and I promise you, Katrina, I will continue that effort every single day of this campaign.

Now the Republican races are too close to call, but here is what I do know: voters will have a crystal-clear choice in November. Do we want to go backwards to the problems and politics that got our country into this mess or do we want a new approach? I believe it is time for a new approach.

I have spent the last year traveling all over this district, and I can tell you that our state and our country simply cannot afford to go backward. Instead of going backwards to the out-of-control spending, the earmarks, and the Wall Street bailouts, I believe we need a new approach, one that will end the broken earmark system, freeze congressional pay until we erase the deficit, and end the bailouts and force those big banks to pay the taxpayers back in full.

Instead of going backward to an economic policy of tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and companies that move jobs overseas, I believe we need a new approach, one that cuts taxes for the middle class, eliminating capital gains tax on small business investment, and rewarding companies for creating jobs right here at home.

Instead of going backward to a foreign policy that derailed our mission in Afghanistan by rushing into Iraq, I believe we need a new approach, one that seeks out terrorists whether they are hiding in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, or Somalia and uses better coordinated intelligence and a focused mission of counter-terrorism--not wide-open counter-insurgency—to keep American and our allies safe.

Most importantly, instead of going back to an era of politics-as-usual, I believe we need a new approach, one focused on what is most important for the people of New Hampshire, not what is what is most important to the political parties in Washington, DC.

Speaking of independence, and standing here in this special place in this crowd of incredible family and friends, I can’t help but think of my mom, Susan McLane. I know that Susie and Malcolm are here with us in spirit just as she has been with me throughout this entire campaign. Many of you know that I grew up in a bipartisan household. My parents were moderate Republicans, but they also had the courage to reach across the aisle when they knew what was best for New Hampshire. That’s what my mother did when she ignored party labels and endorsed Bill Clinton for president because she knew that he had a plan to grow our economy and balance the budget. That independence is an inspiration to me every single day. It’s what New Hampshire is all about, and it is sorely lacking in Washington these days.

Now we still have seven long weeks of campaigning until Election Day so I don’t want to get too carried away with all the thank-you’s tonight, but there are a few people here with us who have worked so tirelessly that I want to take a minute to thank them and recognize them, starting with my family. Special thanks to my sisters, Robin and Debbie, and to my niece, Marion, who came all the way up from Washington, DC to help with GOTV, and my sons, Zac and Travis. Now, Zac and Travis probably didn’t realize that this has all been an elaborate scheme to get them to spend one more summer at home with their mother. And my husband, Brad, who has been there every step of the way with me for 24 years. For that, I am very grateful.

When you run a grassroots, people-powered campaign like ours, you grow an extended family, too, and some of those people are with us here tonight. I want to take a moment to thank my incredible campaign manager, Colin Van Ostern, and his wife, Kristyn, who are literally at the hospital expecting their first baby as we speak. It is a family-friendly campaign. I extend my grateful, heartfelt appreciation for the most extraordinary staff ever gathered here in New Hampshire. Please give a shout-out for my staff. They are unbelievable. To Dave Lang and all the firefighters, thanks for having my back. I am so proud to stand with you, and I will always be there for you. I want to thank the New Hampshire carpenters, the stagehands, the independent pharmacists, and all the workers and small business owners in every corner in this state who have endorsed me in this campaign. I know that the top three issues of my campaign are jobs, jobs, and jobs, and I will continue to stand up for Main Street every single day of this campaign for the next seven weeks.

I want to thank the League of Conservation voters and every single pro-choice group--Planned Parenthood, EMILY’s List, NARAL, and all the rest. I want to thank the local Democratic leaders and all the electeds and activists who have stood with me, and I want to thank the progressive community and all our supporters online, and I especially want to thank all of the people who came out to join our campaign who have never been involved in politics before and have been on the phones, knocking on doors, talking to voters every single day. I thank you. This is all for you.

Finally, I want to reach across the aisle because tomorrow morning I will start a series of breakfasts and lunches, and I want to thank the many, many independents and moderate Republicans who have already stepped up to the plate to support our campaign including many who are with us here tonight. Thank you for your support. My parents, Susan and Malcolm, would be so proud of our very big tent.

Last fall, a blogger named Dean Barker in Andover, New Hampshire, began writing a series of articles about how our campaign is what he called “uniquely unifying” because of the strong support that we have gathered from prominent Republicans and independent community leaders. I am very proud of that because I know that that is the new approach that we need in Washington—a bipartisan approach. Tonight we take a deep breath and celebrate this extraordinary milestone, but tomorrow we rise early and begin seven weeks of campaigning that will decide whether this district returns backward to the failed policies of the past or moves forward with a new approach to shake up politics-as-usual in Washington.

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