As Minnesota's first ever Republican Congresswoman, I am delighted to welcome my fellow Republicans to the land of Minnesota Nice.
And, it's not just a saying...we really are nice here. We're friendly, happy people.
Now, we have a lot of liberals here in Minnesota...but they're happy liberals.
Minnesota Nice may be our state's special brand, but the desire to be of service to our fellow man is part of the American DNA.
As Americans we're hard-wired for compassion, to open up our arms, our hearts, and our wallets to lend a helping hand.
For my husband, Marcus, and I, and for our five children, service took the form of opening our home to welcome 23 foster children.
Some of them came to us with all that they owned in a shopping bag.
But all of them came with a deep desire to express love and to be loved.
This was a labor of joy and love for me and our family, a service from which we gained as much -- if not more -- than what we gave.
Millions of families make a similar labor of love each year as foster or adoptive parents.
John and Cindy McCain have adopted a child, as have millions of big-hearted Americans.
Whether it's being a foster parent or being a community first responder or wearing the uniform of the United States Army, service is all-American.
Service isn't a political trait - though some Presidential nominees certainly know more about service than others.
As Republicans, we recognize that service is an innately personal characteristic.
It is best achieved by individuals and community groups, faith-based organizations and charities.
And, service thrives best in an environment of freedom.
Government fosters service best when government binds it least. That is not to say that government does not play an important role.
For instance, Senator McCain has championed national service programs... and he has fought to bolster incentives for young people to join the United States military.
But we must never forget what government is not. Government is not a philanthropic organization, it is not a family, and it is not a church.
As Republicans, we recognize that when you keep more of your hard-earned dollars, you are free to spend it as you choose on the charities that touch your heart and make a difference in your community.
There are some people, however, who believe differently.
They think service is run by Washington bureaucrats, and a growing dependency on government-issued checks.
And they think you should be footing the bill.
They just don't see how a bloated government crowds out personal freedom.
John McCain not only recognizes that personal liberty needs elbow room; he's spent a lifetime ensuring that freedom has what it needs to grow.
John McCain doesn't just speak the language of service; he's lived it.
America needs John McCain's service in the White House!
Thank you. And, come back to a really nice state that loves you.