Tonight is a night to reflect on America's promise and the changes we need to keep it alive for generations to come. Just as it was kept alive for all of us.
I'm a descendent of Irish immigrants. My great-grandmother worked as a maid in the home of William Howard Taft, before he became president. Decades later, the grandson of the president and my father, the grandson of the maid, served back-to-back to represent the same district in Congress. Now, that is the American dream. It's my story, and it's the story of millions of others.
Last night we heard Barack Obama's story—how the son of a single mother from Kansas, through hard work and perseverance, has come within reach of the White House. Barack Obama was raised by a family of pragmatic, hard-working Kansans who believe in faith, in family and in community.
Barack's grandfather, Stanley Dunham, told him that there's nothing an American can't accomplish if he or she is willing to work hard enough. It's the same idea that is written in the Great Seal of Kansas. It's there in our motto "ad astra per aspera" – "to the stars through difficulty."
Today, we're facing huge challenges at home and abroad. For too many families, America's promise has been shattered, foreclosed and laid off. For too many families, reaching the stars seems more difficult than ever before. For generations of Americans, owning a home has been a piece of the dream. Yet today that dream has become a nightmare for millions of families, perched on the edge of foreclosure.
Barack Obama has a plan to save the dream of homeownership for families who've lost their homes or fear they can never afford one—unlike John McCain, who has so many he can't keep track of them all.
I'm sure you remember a girl from Kansas who said there's no place like home. Well, in John McCain's version, there's no place like home. And a home. And home. And home.
Millions of Americans are proud to make their homes in rural communities, where values are deeply-rooted and passed down, like the family farm, from generation to generation. Too many in Washington are willing to write off these communities as part of an America of the past. But not Barack Obama.
He'll help us revitalize rural America by harnessing our natural assets, creating "green jobs" and linking the heartland to America's future. Barack Obama knows it's time for tax breaks for America's main streets not Wall Street. But not John McCain. He believes in country-club economics. He wants more tax cuts for big corporations, while giving only a third of the middle-class tax relief that Barack Obama will deliver.
Barack Obama knows that it's time to help the people who focus more on hedge rows than on hedge funds. But not John McCain. He supports tax breaks for companies that move jobs overseas. Barack Obama wants to give tax breaks to companies that create jobs right here at home.
Barack Obama knows that after a life of hard work—especially after years working the land or working in a factory—you deserve to retire in security. He'll cut taxes for all seniors who make less than $50,000 a year. He'll make it easier for every worker to save and build a nest egg. And Barack Obama will strengthen Social Security. But not John McCain. He wants to privatize Social Security, putting at risk your retirement and your future. John McCain promises more of the same. Barack Obama will deliver the change we need!
We know that the fuel for our future can be found in the grasses and crops that grow, year after year, on our fertile prairies. The energy for tomorrow is there in the clean, renewable power of the steady winds that blow across our fields. Investing in American energy will create 5 million green jobs—jobs that will revitalize many of our rural communities. Jobs that can never be outsourced to a foreign supplier.
Now, even though John McCain has spent 26 years in Washington voting over and over against investing in renewable energy, John McCain does support some "renewables." He wants to renew the failed Bush agenda for another four years. John McCain has also renewed the Bush-Rove style of politics, built on bringing down your opponent instead of lifting America up.
But as someone who works with a Republican legislature every day, I can tell you that we can't bring about positive change unless we fix our divisive politics. We need to heed the words of another president, who came out of Illinois to lead the country at a difficult time, a man who warned us that "a house divided against itself cannot stand."
With Barack Obama as our president—together, we'll turn the page on the politics and policies of the past. We will create opportunities that once again will maids and the children of presidents share a common destiny. And that's the kind of change America needs.
Speech from http://www.demconvention.com/kathleen-sebelius.