Good evening, everyone. Thank you so much for being here tonight.
I spoke to Congresswoman McSally this evening and I’m grateful for her service. We both ran for the Senate for the same reason – because we want what's best for Arizona and for our country.
I’m so honored to be here tonight with Arizona veterans — the brave men and women who have worn our country’s uniform. Today, and every day, we honor their service and sacrifice. They’ve given everything to protect our freedoms and our democracy, and it’s because of them that we are here today.
I’m grateful to all veterans and servicemembers — including two of my brothers, Paul and Sterling, and my opponent, Congresswoman McSally.
We launched this campaign because Arizona veterans and all everyday Arizonans deserve a leader who will fight for them in the United States Senate. Together, over the last 13 months, we have accomplished something incredible. We’ve talked to and engaged more Arizonans than ever before.
We did this because voting is a fundamental part of our democracy. Our country is at its best when everyone is engaged and everyone’s voice is heard. That work isn’t over, and we will continue to make sure every vote is counted.
I’m so honored that Arizonans chose our vision of a better Arizona. Now, it’s time to get to work.
Arizonans had a choice between two very different ways forward — one focused on fear and party politics, and one focused on Arizona and the issues that matter to everyday families.
Arizona rejected what has become far too common in our country: name calling; petty, personal attacks; doing and saying whatever it takes just to get elected. It’s dangerous, and it lessens who we are as a country.
Arizona proved that there is a better way forward. We can work with people who are different than us. We can be friends with people who are different than us. We can love and care about people who are different than us. We can keep people who are different than us safe. We can be good people who care deeply about each other even when we disagree.
We can start by listening to someone with a different opinion – listening not to rebut or debate, but listening to understand.
We can try to understand another person's life experiences and perspective. We can try to imagine what another person's life might be like, that perhaps her experiences have shaped her life just like our experiences have shaped ours.
We can articulate our own opinions and beliefs without believing or saying that someone else's are, therefore, wrong. We can embrace difference while seeking common ground.
As I head to serve our great state in the United States Senate, I pledge to double down on this approach. During my six years in Congress, I’ve tried to be a cheerful warrior, willing to work with literally anyone to get things done.
I’ve tried hard to help others see our common humanity and find our common ground. I’m proud of how this approach has worked. We’ve delivered real results for families, for veterans and for business in Arizona.
During this campaign, I have been honored to meet with thousands of Arizonans in their workplaces, in coffee shops, in neighborhoods. Listening to their stories reminded me each and every day why we do this work and how much there is left to do.
One of the very first Arizonans to join our campaign was Leo. Is Leo here tonight? No Leo. Leo is a proud Air Force veteran who served our country with honor and dignity. Today, he’s battling cancer. In between his chemo treatments, he spent his time in these last months calling voters because he knows firsthand how much is on the line.
A woman named Michelle from Glendale recently shared her story. Her son was born with one kidney and she’s worried about how he’ll afford his care if we lose protections for pre-existing conditions.
In Tucson, I met Anne. Her husband is a disabled veteran. He served in Vietnam and has lived with the effects of Agent Orange ever since. It is our responsibility as Americans to make sure that every veteran gets the that care he or she deserves.
This campaign was about Leo and Michelle and Anne and all the other everyday Arizonans who are sick and tired of the dysfunction in Washington and who want leaders to put aside party labels and just focus on getting things done.
As your senator, that’s exactly what I’ll do. Not by calling names or playing political games, but by showing up every day and doing the work to keep Arizona moving forward.
A few months ago, we lost a legend who exemplified that spirit and all that is best of Arizona. His example shines a light on our way forward.
Sen. John McCain stood for everything we stand for as Arizonans: fighting for what you believe in, standing up for what’s right even if you stand alone, and serving a cause that is greater than one’s self.
Sen. McCain is irreplaceable, but his example will guide our next steps forward. He taught us to always assume the best in others, to seek compromise instead of sowing division, and to always put country ahead of party.
It’s up to all of us to carry on Sen. McCain’s legacy.
Almost everywhere I go, I’m asked a variation of the same question - how did our country get to this place, and how can we make it better? Sometimes that question is targeted towards Congress — how to get elected officials to break the gridlock and work together. Sometimes the question is about the television commercials — how to get the ugliness to stop. But in each question, the root is the same. What has happened and how can we fix it?
Everyone recognizes that it’s broken. And really, we all...we all know the solution. We — we the citizens of this great country — we must fix it. We must be an active part of the solution. We must be willing to put down our sticks sharpened for battle. We must be willing to turn to our neighbors and pick them up instead.
Our challenge today is to heal the rent in our country’s fabric, to come together as a people and as a nation, to set aside our minor differences and unite around our love of country and its fundamental freedoms guaranteed by our great constitution.
Sen. McCain said, “But we have always had so much more in common with each other than in disagreement. If only we remember that and give each other the benefit of the presumption that we all love our country we will get through these challenging times.”
It won’t be easy, and it won’t happen overnight, but we can work together to meet the challenges our country faces. We can do this differently. For our country, for our future, for Sen. McCain, and for each other, I think we must.