Thank you! And thank you to the women who are leading Massachusetts!
When I first ran for the Senate six years ago, I asked you to take a chance on someone who had never even run for office before. You took that chance. You sent me into the fight. And tonight you told me to stay in the fight. I’m deeply grateful, and I promise I will never stop working my heart out for you—never.
It’s been a tough two years. But together, we have marched. Together, we have run. Together, we have persisted… and insisted that our voices be heard, that our votes be counted, and that our values be respected.
And in two months—and at least for the next two years — the House of Representatives – the People’s House—is going to do a whole lot more work for the people.
So tonight I make you this promise: we are just getting started! We know what we believe in – and we know whose side we’re on.
We came to this movement to pick a fight—a fight on behalf of millions of Americans who are getting ripped off in a rigged economy and ignored by a corrupt government in Washington.
We came to this fight for families trying to stretch a paycheck and for people living one moment from a medical bill that would send them spiraling over a financial cliff.
We came to fight for seniors trying to make it on Social Security and for DREAMers trying to make it in the only country they’ve ever known.
We came to fight for workers who want to build a union and for unions who want to rebuild America’s middle class.
We came to fight for firefighters facing cancer, for nurses busting their tails to save lives, and for public school teachers reaching into their own pockets to buy crayons for their kids.
We came to fight for loved ones caught in the grip of the opioid crisis, for families shattered by gun violence, and for communities of color devastated by a broken criminal justice system.
We came to fight for decency. We came to fight for justice. We came to fight for change.
Now, tonight, we take that fight to Washington to make our government work, not just for the rich and the powerful, but to make it work for everyone else!
Tonight is a night to celebrate how far our movement has come. But it’s also a night to remember just how it began. And let’s make sure nobody re-writes history: This resistance began with women and it’s being led by women tonight.
Two years ago, on a very dark Election Night, millions of women watched in horror as Donald Trump was elected president. They didn’t like it. But they didn’t whimper. They didn’t whine. They fought back.
Women knitted hats and they painted signs and they took to the streets by the millions—raising their voices until they could no longer be ignored. They went to rallies. They went to town halls. They went to training sessions. They became organizers, fundraisers, campaign managers.
By the dozens, by the hundreds, women who had never run for anything before stepped up to put their names on the ballot. A record-breaking number of women—especially women of color, including our own Ayanna Pressley—jumped into the fight.
And it was something. They ignored the party bosses who said they should wait their turn. They ignored the consultants who said they should cover up their tattoos and smile more. And they ignored the powerful men of the Republican Party who never took them seriously anyway.
They refused to let anyone shut them up or stand in their way. And that is how real change begins.
And it’s there. We’ve seen white women learning from Black women how to organize and mobilize. Older women partnering with younger women to take to the streets. Married, single, straight, lesbian and transwomen, rich and poor women building alliances with each other and, yeah, building alliances with the men who also want to make real change in this country.
People who never thought of themselves as activists embraced their power, took their seats at the table, and inspired others. Glass shattered. Barriers broke. More people who had always been told to wait and wait and wait, decided that the time for waiting was over and the time to act had come.
Earlier this year, I called one of those first-time candidates, a woman named Liuba Grechen Shirley. Now, Liuba was running a tough race for Congress, and the pundits were giving her no chance of winning, none at all.
But that’s not what Liuba was worried about the day I called. Nope. She was worried about her two-year-old son, Nicholas, who had tripped on a toy and broken his leg.
She could have given up, but she didn’t. Instead, she practiced her stump speech while she gave Nicky and his sister their baths and she balanced fundraising calls with calls to the insurance company—which, by the way, refused to cover Nicky’s hospital stay.
But I’ll tell you—it reminded me of how I felt when I was a young teacher back at the University of Houston. I was having a tough time managing two little kids and a brand new job. One night my 77-year-old Aunt Bee called long-distance from Oklahoma, just to see how I was doing. “Fine,” I said, and then, out of nowhere, I just burst into tears. It was too much. I felt like a failure. And, without even planning to say it, the words just fell out of my mouth: “I’m gonna quit my job.”
Aunt Bee waited for me to stop crying, to blow my nose, to get a drink of water—all long distance. Then she said, “I can’t get there tomorrow, but I can come on Thursday.” She showed up with seven suitcases and a Pekingese named Buddy, and stayed for 16 years. Thank you, Aunt Bee.
So I’m talking to Liuba, and Liuba said she’d heard that story. And then she started to cry.
It’s hard. It’s hard for millions of working moms who don’t have an Aunt Bee. Moms fighting to make ends meet, fighting to create a better future, fighting a system that’s rigged to undermine working women, lock women of color out of opportunity, and keep power in the hands of privileged men.
But, for Liuba, and the other women who ran this year, they wouldn’t let anything stop them.
And here’s the deal: No matter what happens in Liuba’s race tonight, she’s one of this year’s big winners—because she became the first woman ever to get federal officials to approve using campaign funds to pay for child care. Now, that’s real change. Go, Liuba!
Together—women and men—young and old, black and white, gay and straight, in cities big and small, have built something extraordinary.
And whether you ran for office or ran a phone bank, whether you won or you lost or you’re still waiting for the votes to be counted, whether this was your first time getting off the sidelines or you’ve been in the fight your whole life—everyone who helped make tonight possible should know two things.
First, you have more power than you ever imagined.
And second, you gotta stay in the fight.
The road ahead of us will not be easy. Trust me, the powerful in Washington don’t give up just because they get knocked down.
Our government is still captured by the wealthy and the well-connected, and the economy is still rigged against working people, women and communities of color.
Our Supreme Court is still packed with right-wing activists who believe that the wealthy and the well-connected should get to call all the shots.
And Donald Trump still practices the dark art of ruling by fear—fear whipped up to turn hard-working Americans against hard-working Americans. And while he’s got everyone busy yelling and fighting, Mitch McConnell gets to raid the Treasury and give a trillion and a half dollars to his rich friends. Yeah. Oh and, by the way, Mitch is still plotting to destroy health care for millions of families and slash Social Security and Medicare. Yeah.
Yeah, it’s going to be hard. Nevertheless – We. Will. Persist. And we will deliver the change this country deserves. All the way.
We’ve got a lot of races still undecided tonight, but before I let you get back to your television sets—and checking online, which I notice somebody over there is doing—I just want to say some thanks.
First, running for office is an investment in democracy. It isn’t easy, and anyone who steps up deserves credit. Si I want to day thank you to my opponent for stepping up. Thank you, Geoff Diehl. Thank you.
And for everyone else who made an investment in democracy: Thank you. Thank you for putting up a lawn sign, or coming to a rally, or donating ten bucks, or just making the time to vote. You make democracy work.
Thank you to my sweetie, Bruce, who understands the most important things in life. And in the middle of a hard campaign, came home with a new puppy.
And thank you to the people of this commonwealth. Every single one of you, whether you voted for me or not, I’m grateful for the opportunity to fight for you.
So thank you all, but remember your work isn’t done. So much depends on what we do next.
Donald Trump and his corrupt friends have spent the last two years building walls of anger and division and resentment.
Tonight, as the first cracks begin to appear in that wall, let us declare that our fight is not over until we have transformed our government, transformed our government into one that works, not just for the rich and powerful, but works for everyone.
And tomorrow? We get right back in the fight. The fight for a day when corporations don’t write all the rules. The fight for a day when corrupt politicians don’t escape justice. The fight for a new day in America, with a new kind of politics. A politics of inclusion, not resentment. Yes. A politics of courage, not fear.
We have come so far together. We have fought together, cried together, resisted together and sure as hell persisted together.
But tonight, we send a message to the world: We’re just getting started!
Neither the Catt Center nor Iowa State University is affiliated with any individual in the Archives or any political party. Inclusion in the Archives is not an endorsement by the center or the university.