Thank you so much to my good friend, Rosa DeLauro, and thanks to you to all of you for being with us here today as witnesses to what happened in our community of Newtown, Connecticut, and as a call to action for what we must do as a country.
I’m honored today to have the chance to introduce Janet Robinson, who has become a good friend, who is a true American hero who responded unbelievable tragedy. For five years, Dr. Janet Robinson has served as the superintendent of schools in Newtown, Connecticut. Throughout her career, she has shown a constant and loving commitment to education and improving the lives of children. In addition to having served as superintendent of schools in three different Connecticut communities, Janet has served as a teacher, a school counselor, and a school psychologist.
I met Janet in the firehouse, which was the emergency center of Newtown, Connecticut, on the afternoon of the shootings. Janet was grieving. She was there with parents of children who didn’t know if their children were going to come home, and as we know 20 of them did not. And the next morning, this brave woman sat around a conference table with the Board of Ed members of her community and began planning for how to protect those children and those families, how to reopen as a school and get children back to learning. She is an extraordinary person. She was putting Sandy Hook Community first—the teachers, the children, and those families—and thinking about what she did it. And she did it all the time with her heart broken for her friends who were cut down on that terrible day.
Janet, I know you will provide invaluable expertise to us in today’s hearing. You’re an expert on children, on teaching, but most importantly and for our purposes today you are an expert on the price of inaction. You are an expert because Newtown has paid this price. Your children paid this price. Your teachers paid this price. Your administration paid this price, and the community paid a price. You speak with unquestionable authority on that subject. You’ve live what has happened when we as political act. You can speak to us, here today, on who these people were. Tell us about Dawn Hochsprung, the extraordinary principal and leader of that school. These incredible children, several of whose parents came today at the president’s announcement. Who these aides where. Who these families are, and the extraordinary community that you are a member of. What we need to do here today, and with your help and guidance you need to help us about how to prevent tragedy. About how to save lives. How to ensure that no other community endures what Newtown, Connecticut, has gone through. What happens now, we could not prevent what happened then, but we can go forward. This is about what happens now. I want to thank you for your extraordinary leadership and courage in your community and in coming here today. Thank you.