As I said, corporate interests spent 14 million dollars thinking they could tell Wisconsin what to do. All of you said not on my watch. Because they know that I don't work for them, I work for you.
So I want you all to know how proud I am of having the opportunity to be a part of such a strong and committed Democratic ticket. It is still early in the night, but I want to thank every Democrat who ran for office this year and helped build a stronger party in Wisconsin. I want to- so I've had some fun on the bus for change, the tour for change and I want to personally thank Tony Eavers, Mandela Barnes, Josh Paul, Sarah Gudlutzky, and Doug LaFollette. And in particular I want to give a shout out to all of the Wisconsin citizens who stood up and stepped up as first-time candidates because they simply want to serve others. I also want to thank my incredible Senate staff, yeah, for working so hard to do right by Wisconsin and to move our state forward. I wish each of you could have heard all the voters who told me that I had earned their vote because we teamed up to help them through a problem with a federal agency or answered their letter or wrote a law out of one of their ideas. You have shown them how we make government work for them.
This was a hard-fought race. I have a tremendous amount of respect for anyone motivated to run for office based on their personal experience, and Lea Vukmir ran for office advocating a better education for her daughter, and I want to thank her for her 16 years of service in our state legislature. Tonight, I also give thanks to my mother. She passed away last year during this journey just as I was getting started, and through her struggles she became strong and so did I and the strength and passion that she passed on to me have been with me every step of the way. In sharing the story of my own family's battle with addiction and mental illness, I wanted to give hope to other families who face the same challenges by letting them know you're not alone and we may can make progress together.
In Wisconsin, we understand that America will only be made stronger when our political debate becomes more about issues and less about knocking each other down. And we- we truly must start working together to lift each other up. I have been so inspired by your engagement in our democracy and your grassroots activism to make a difference. I've been so inspired by your organizing and your commitment. This election has taught me that when a mother from Seymour named Chelsea stand up for her daughter, Zoey's, health care that we can make a difference. This election has taught me that when young people speak out and refuse to accept students losing their lives to gun violence at school, we will make a difference. This election in this beautiful state with such precious resources has taught me that we can work together to combat climate change. And this election has taught me that when we use our power to take on big money and the special interests in Washington, that we can make a difference.
Now make no mistake, I am proud to be a Wisconsin progressive. And- and I will continue my fight to protect the dignity of work and a secure retirement to protect worker pensions and the retirement security that all of you have worked hard to earn. I will continue my work to make sure that all Americans have the opportunity to achieve their hopes and dreams. That is the promise of America and I will fight to make sure we keep it, but, my friends, then- then you'll love what I have to say next because our work is not done. It is not done. In order to fix what's broken with Washington and in order to fix what is broken with our divisive politics you all need to stay engaged. You cannot stop with this victory. You cannot stop because I can assure you that the special interests won't. The only thing that will bring the change that our nation needs is you. Our democracy demands more than trying simply to beat the other side. We are better as a country than where we find ourselves today. We all know it, so let tonight be a calling for all of us. Let's commit ourselves to something that's larger than our own political interests and something that's bigger than ourselves. Let us tonight start working together to advance a common good. Each and every one of us is needed right now to move Wisconsin and the United States of America forward. You have proven that in our democracy you decide what's possible.