Kelly Ayotte

First Stump Speech - Aug. 11, 2009

Kelly Ayotte
August 11, 2009— Wolfeboro, New Hampshire
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Thank you so much for the introduction, and it is great to be here with all of you tonight.

In fact, Lake Winnipesaukee is one of the favorite places in our state and I spent a lot of time here. In fact I learned the fundamentals of this campaign just a few towns down the road in Meredith, where I held my first job as a busgirl and later as a waitress at Mame's Restaurant. At that restaurant, I learned that listening is the most important thing to serving your customers well. So as I have the opportunity to go around our state and to meet so many folks, like all of you, I will be doing a lot of listening. Unfortunately, I think that there are many in Washington—Paul Hodes, Carol Shea-Porter—they are not listening to what people in New Hampshire want. I will listen to what the people of New Hampshire want.

I have had the privilege over the last five years in serving you as your attorney general, and I am proud that our state has been ranked as the safest state in the nation for the past two years. I held some very difficult cases as attorney general. In fact last fall, I prosecuted the most difficult case of my career when Manchester Police Officer Mike Briggs was gunned down in the streets and murdered in cold blood. I had the opportunity to sit at the kitchen table of his parents and to meet with his fellow officers. I came to appreciate in a very personal way the sacrifice that our law enforcement officers—and I would add our military as well—that they make for us and that their families make every day for us to keep our streets safe. That's why I made the decision that I would personally try that case and ask for the strongest penalties available under our law.

That's the type of leadership that you will see from me. I'm going to roll up my sleeves, and I will get involved and do things myself and I will read the bills. I wouldn't say that for Paul Hodes, who says that he's too busy read the bills, even though those bills are spending trillions of dollars of your money, your hard-earned money.

One of the things I came to appreciate from the experience of working on that case and the difficult cases that I have handled is that we need to do everything we can to keep our streets, our community and our nation safe, and that's going to be a top priority for me. I would be remise if I didn't mention that one of the important ways that we are going to keep our nation safe is by vigilantly protecting our individual right to bear arms, so that we can protect ourselves. It begins in the home.

I want to tell you a little bit about our family. We've had some unique experiences while I served as attorney general. My husband Joe and I and our children—we're just a middle-class family. We both, my husband and I, we both were born in New Hampshire. We both went to public schools in Nashua, and in fact we still live near our parents, our grandparents, our aunts, our uncles and our cousins and their a big part of our lives. One of the good things about that is that I know I'm going to be able to count on a few votes. My family will be with me.

One of the things about our family is that we are deeply committed to public service. It is part of the fabric of our family. My husband serves in the National Guard right now. He's a veteran of our military. He fought in the Iraq War and flew combat missions in the A10 Warthog. I've worked the last 11 years serving our state, serving the public in the attorney general's office, working hard to enforce our laws.

Now when I see what is happening in our country, I want to consider whether I can better serve our state in the United States Senate. It's really about the core foundation of public service for us and it's really about the concerns that I have about what's happening in our country right now. As the mother of a 22-month-old son and a four-year old daughter, I have really begun to wonder and be concerned about the future of our children.

The elected officials in Washington, the Democrats, they've let us down. They're spending money that we don't have. They're placing a debt on our children that they cannot afford. They are mortgaging our children's future, and we cannot sustain that.

Paul Hodes voted for a budget that is going to put us on track to double our national debt in 5 years, and triple that debt in 10 years. The amount of deficit spending in this current budget is more than the entire history of our 230-year history of our nation combined, just to put it in perspective of how much spending is happening in Washington. And what has all this spending gotten us? It's gotten us record deficits. We're leaving not the right kind of future for our children. But we still have an economy that is shrinking. Our unemployment rate is still rising, and unfortunately we're still losing jobs.

I say enough is enough. We need to bring New Hampshire common sense to Washington. It really comes down to we can't spend money that we don't have.

Joe and I, as a family, we sit around our kitchen table and we prioritize, and we make tough decisions and figure out what money we can spend and only spend what we have. Government should be doing that—only spending what they have, and not spending us into debt. As a government, we as elected officials and as elected officials around this state, our delegation should make the hard decisions just like New Hampshire families make every day. Just like all of you make when you sit around your kitchen tables and decide where your priorities are. We need to make those tough decisions.

As attorney general, I've been tough on crime. I have not been afraid to make the tough calls when the difficult cases have come before me. We need more leadership like that in Washington. I can assure you of one thing—that I will make the tough decisions that we need to make to protect the future of our children.

There's some politicians that think that bigger government is the solution to the economic problems that we're having, but the greatness of America and the great things that we have done as a country they have always come from our people, from our families, from our small businesses. It's not government that creates jobs, it's small businesses.

I've had a firsthand experience with that. My husband, when he started out his landscaping and snowplowing business. I know it's not easy to start a small business. I used to go out with him at night and shovel snow through the night till 5:00 in the morning. I felt bad leaving him in the morning when I actually had to go back and take a shower so I could go to my day job at the attorney general's office. Joe worked hard to make his business succeed, and he now employs 20 people. It's Joe and it is the hundreds of thousands of small businessmen and women throughout this country, like Joe, that is going to bring this economy back. It is not the government.

It seems that some of the politicians think that bigger government is the answer to every problem that we have or we face as a nation. We've seen it with the bank bailouts. We've seen it with the bailouts of the auto industry. We've seen it with the stimulus package, where they spent you know nearly a trillion dollars of our money and said this is something that's going stimulate our economy and we need this as a short-term boost. If you look at that bill, some of that spending doesn't even occur till 2019. You tell me how that's going to stimulate the economy right now.

We have seen all of the big government bailouts, and I think unfortunately right now, as Jeb referenced, we are seeing it with healthcare. I agree that we need to do something, and we must do something about the rising costs of healthcare, and we must do something to reduce the number of families that are uninsured in our country. I believe that all Americans should have access to high quality and affordable healthcare, but the plans that are being looked at right now in Washington—they're going to spend over a trillion dollars of your hard-earned money by raising taxes, a lot of them on the small businessmen and women that I just talked about that are going to bring this economy back. So what's that going to do in terms of our economic recovery? It's also going to markedly increase our deficit.

They're using clever words right—they polled them, like "public plan"—to really pave the way through a government-run healthcare. Can you imagine going to a government bureaucrat and asking that person to make decisions about the medical care for you or for your children? I don't think any of us wants that, and I don't think Americans want that. I don't think that the people of New Hampshire want the government deciding about their healthcare and who's going deliver their healthcare.

I certainly believe in the reform of the healthcare system, but I would start with the following principles: If you have a healthcare plan right now and you like it, you should be allowed to keep it. We need to use technology and provide incentives to provide better quality healthcare at lower costs. One thing I know and I believe is that patients and doctors should be making decisions about our healthcare, not government bureaucrats.

When I think about what is happening right now in Washington I'm very, very concerned, and what I want to ask for all of you—we have all faced tough times before as a nation. We've done it and every time we've had a challenge as a nation we have come together and we have met that challenge. We need to make sure that we stand up for New Hampshire common sense. We need to hold our government accountable.

As I start on this path—this is my first night out—I'm looking forward to talking to as many people as I can in the state of New Hampshire, in and out, and I want to hear your feedback. I'll tell you, I'll stay till midnight if you have questions for me, because I would love to take your questions, so please talk to me afterwards. But the one thing I'm going to need—I'm going to need your help as I start on this path. I am the candidate that can beat Paul Hodes. You know how I know that? Because since I left the attorney general's office there's almost a press release put out every single day, by either Ray Buckley or Kathy Sullivan, about me. I didn't even know that they knew me before that. Now they're sending a press release out every day. Why are they doing that? Because they are afraid. They are afraid of my candidacy. They know that if I go up against Paul Hodes that I will beat him. But I cannot do it without your help. It's going to take the help of every single person here, and it's also going to take New Hampshire citizens across our state so that we can bring fiscal sanity to Washington.

Let's tell the elected politicians, like Paul Hodes, that we need fresh, new ideas, and we need a fresh face to represent us in Washington. Let's tell them that we need common sense—good, old fashioned New Hampshire common sense. Apply some of the values that you all apply around your kitchen table to looking at the economics of what's happening in Washington. Please, let's all work hard to make sure that we have a better future for our children. I can tell you right now that I am going to work as hard as I can to talk to as many New Hampshire citizens across our state about how important it is that we keep this Senate seat in Republican hands.

Thank you very much.

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