Laura Kelly

Gubernatorial Victory Speech - Nov. 6, 2018

Laura Kelly
November 06, 2018— Topeka, Kansas
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All right, here we go.

You know, today I think the people of Kansas really spoke and they spoke so loudly, so clearly. [cheers] They put political partisanship aside and they spoke with a single thunderous voice for Kansans. Today Kansans voted for change. [cheers] A change not only in the direction of our state but a change in the tone in our state. [cheers] And that change will come to Topeka now. [cheers] And heaven knows we need it. [applause]

Yeah, I need to start by thanking my family. Many of you know my long-suffering husband, Ted. [laughter, cheers and applause] No one – no one – has a more supportive spouse than I do, and I am so grateful, Ted. [cheers and applause] And Ted and I were blessed to raise two amazing daughters, Kathleen and Molly [cheers and applause], and I am just so proud to be their mom.

[AUDIENCE MEMBER: We're proud, too. KELLY: Good.]

And many of my other family members came to town from all across the country to be here today. My sister, Kay Kelly. [applause] My brother, Paul Kelly. [applause] And my cousin, Susan Schmidt. [applause] And my soon-to-be son-in-law, Mathias Weiden. [applause]

And of course I I need to thank my running mate, Lynn Rogers [cheers and applause]. You know, Lynn and I sit next to each other each other on the Senate floor, and so around April I leaned over and I said, "Hey, what are you doing this summer?" And now we know. [cheers and applause]

He will be an outstanding lieutenant governor. [cheers and applause] And he brings to the team his fabulous wife, Kris. [cheers and applause]

And I don't know where they are but I need to thank my very small but mighty staff, who worked harder than I thought was humanly possible to make this happen. [cheers and applause] It was an incredible group of mostly young women – one young man [cheers] – who inspired me every day and never let me stop working.

I also do want to thank my opponents, Kris Kobach and Greg Orman. [boo from audience member] We're going to be civil now in the state of Kansas. [cheers and applause] Both of them ran really aggressive and passionate campaigns. I'm grateful for the contributions that Greg made to the conversation. I know Greg and I know that he cares deeply about Kansas. And while I disagree with Kris Kobach on many issues, I know, too, that he is passionate about the state.

Most importantly, I want to thank – humbly thank – the thousands of volunteers across the state who worked tirelessly… [cheers and applause] Their energy gave me energy and kept me going. Their faith in this campaign gave me every reason to believe we could win. You all never gave up and neither did I.

You know, across America we are seeing more and more people, especially and fortunately young people, getting involved in the political process. It is a wonderful thing for our democracy and a wonderful omen for the future of our state. [cheers and applause]

What happened in Kansas today is different than anywhere else in the nation, and I really believe that. You know, there will be a lot of talk around America about the Blue Wave, but I don't believe that's what's happened here in Kansas. What happened in Kansas was a wave of common sense. [cheers and applause] A wave of bipartisanship. [cheers and applause] And this wasn't one side beating the other. It was Democrats and Republicans and independents all coming together to put our state back on track. [cheers and applause]

Because we all know we have faced challenges here over the last eight years like in no other state. We've seen our schools devastated and the opportunities for our children put at risk. Partisanship was put above all else and it tore our state apart. That ended today. [cheers and applause]

Today, Kansans votes for a change. It's a change that brings back the priorities and the spirit of Kansas back to Topeka. [applause]

You know, Kansans look out for each other. We cooperate, whether on the farm or the school or church, the workplace – we're all part of the same community. And today, voters across Kansas came together. We chose to put people before politics. [cheers and applause] That means cooperation, compromise and bipartisanship.

This campaign was guided by a spirit that put our families first, and tonight I'm here to tell you that that is what will guide me as your governor as well. [cheers and applause]

That means a laser focus on responding to your priorities. First and foremost, strongly supporting our public schools. [cheers and applause] When I said on the campaign trail that I'm running to be the education governor, I meant it. [cheers and applause] I will be. Public schools are the backbone of our communities. Our school teachers take on the most honorable of missions – educating our children.

So let me be clear - we will no longer get by doing the minimum. We will truly invest in our children's futures. [cheers and applause] We are going to properly fund our schools this year and next year and every year after that, and every year, every month, every day that I'm your governor. [cheers and applause]

And we're going to make sure our schools prepare our children for changing economy – modern classrooms with modern technology. We owe that to our children, to their parents and to the future of our state. [applause] At the day, we want our children to graduate from high school or college and find jobs right here in Kansas so they can stay here and raise their families close to home.

Our economy is changing and not only do we have to adjust to it, we have to seize it, because Kansans can be a leader if we work together. And so we're going to get serious about job training opportunities for our workers programs that offer affordable and flexible to the schedules of working adults, so working men and women can pick up the skills they need to rise in the workforce, get that job that's been just out of reach, and earn a little more money for their families and feel like they are moving forward. [applause]

And you know another way we can help? It's long past time to expand Medicaid [cheers and applause] so that more Kansans have access to affordable health care, our rural hospitals can stay open and the tax dollars that we've been sending to Washington can come back home to Kansas to help our families, our state. [cheers and applause]

You know it's something that Republican and Democratic governors across the country have embraced. Health care is a critical need for all Kansans, and for too many it's still inaccessible and unaffordable. We can build a bipartisan group to get that done, but we can only do this – we can only do anything – if we work together.

What we're seeing in Washington – the division, the lack of decency, the insults and the fighting – we simply have to be better than that here in Kansas. [cheers and applause] And we are better than that. We saw cooperation in last year's legislative session to reverse the Brownback taxes. [cheers and applause]

Now, no one person – not even the governor – can act alone to achieve consensus. That's the whole point. And in that spirit, I promise you this – I will do everything in my power to set the right tone. I will listen every day to leaders from both parties and to the people of this state. We'll take the best ideas – no matter where they come from – and we'll work together despite our political labels. [cheers and applause]

It won't be easy. We all know we have a very long, challenging road ahead of us. These past eight years have been a hardship, no doubt about that, but we're a people united by a common set of values, the spirit of neighbor helping neighbor, respect for one another and always doing right by our children.

Those are the values that drew my family to Kansas more than three decades ago, and Kansans are no stranger to hardship or hard work. We don't want things handed to us. We don't expect life to be easy. That raw grit, that fierce determination, is part of our history. It makes us who we are.

And if we work together – if we put partisanship aside and Kansas families first – then the sky truly is the limit to what we can achieve together.

Whether I earned your vote or not, I want you to know that I will work to earn your trust. [cheers and applause] I am so deeply humbled by the trust that Kansans have put in me. I'm honored to lead this magnificent state, and I'm so thankful to each and every one of you.

Now tonight – celebrate. Tomorrow, let's get to work. [cheers and applause]