Good evening. I am Janet Napolitano, the governor of Arizona. Arizonans are rightly proud of our state. We encompass everything from ancient Indian villages to burgeoning cities and towns. We mine copper and herd cattle, but we also conduct genomics-based cancer research and lead the nation in advancing solar technology.
Arizonans are also proud of their political tradition, from Barry Goldwater to Mo Udall to Bruce Babbitt. There’s a pattern here. Barry Goldwater ran for president and he lost. Mo Udall ran for president. He lost. Bruce Babbitt ran for president. And he lost. Speaking for myself, and for at least this coming election, this is one Arizona tradition I’d like to see continue!
Now, just as I am proud of Arizona, I like to be positive about my fellow Arizonans. So I wanted to say something positive about Senator McCain. When I heard him say the economy is not an issue he understands as well as he should, my problem was solved. Because I can say to you tonight, positively, that John McCain is right. He doesn’t understand the economy as well as he should. And he doesn’t understand how the policies he has supported and wants to perpetuate have so terribly misfired.
We cannot afford four more years of failing economics and a falling economy. For the change we need to lift working families across our nation, for the change we need to ensure the American dream is within reach of all of us, we must send Barack Obama to the White House.
As chair of the Platform Drafting Committee, I’ve listened to Americans tell me just how badly the Bush-McCain economic policies have failed, how deeply concerned they are about the future, and how high the stakes are for this election.
For example, I heard from Marcie Wozniak of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a mother of four, who has worked in a print shop for 22 years. Marcie’s money stretches only far enough for gas and groceries. She wants better for her four sons, but one of them had to drop out of college because she makes too much to qualify for financial aid.
Our children can’t afford more of the same. I heard from David Landrum of Indiana who has worked for the same refrigerator plant for the past 24 years. Now, the plant is closing and he risks losing his entire pension less than a year before retirement.
Our seniors can’t afford more of the same. Arizona is one of the states hit hardest by the housing crisis. Alfred Smith Jr. of Phoenix is a married father of three who earns a decent living. For the first time, he’s worrying about how he’ll make his mortgage payment.
Our working families can’t afford more of the same. I am positive that John McCain, as he said in his own words, doesn’t understand as well as he should how to help Marcie, David and Alfred.
But I am equally positive that Barack Obama does. His plan will help Marcie Wozniak, David Landrum, Alfred Smith and people like them. Barack Obama knows we need to move now to put money back in people’s pockets. He’ll work to provide a tax rebate for middle-income taxpayers, while totally exempting lower-income seniors from paying income tax. His economic policies will create a foreclosure prevention fund and stimulate the housing industry, and the jobs that go with it, by reforming the credit markets and policing their activities.
Long term, Senator Obama knows our economy depends on well-educated workers. He will focus on giving our youngest children a critical head start in their education. He’ll open doors to higher education by giving $4,000 tax credits to students promising to give back through community service. In Barack Obama’s world, work and reward go together. And every American should have the opportunity to make the most of his or her talents.
Senator Obama understands that America’s continued dominance in the world economy depends on our continued ability to innovate. He will invest in a clean energy economy, diminishing our reliance on foreign oil and creating 5 million green-collar jobs. He’ll encourage job training and retraining for newer, clean technologies, and he’ll work for tax relief for small business and start-up companies.
John McCain’s good friend Phil Gramm says we’re in a “mental recession,” and that middle-class folks worried about their futures are just “whiners.” Barack Obama knows that pursuing the failed policies of the past is no way to build America’s future. He understands that no one is whining and, instead, that real people are looking for real and better answers. We must work together—all of us here on this convention floor, all of us watching on television or on the web—to bring the change we need and to fix the failed ways of Washington. And we’ll do that by electing Barack Obama the next President of the United States.
"Governor Napolitano 2008 Convention Speech." C-SPAN video, 7:21. Aug. 26, 2008. https://www.c-span.org/video/?280557-11/governor-napolitano-2008-convention-speech