Wow. You’ve all been with me for the last couple years, and it’s been a little chaotic. But we know that in chaos lies opportunity. And tonight, with this win, comes opportunity.
Tonight, we celebrate an historic moment, a moment we should all be proud of, because it was born in our deep belief in what we have to do to make America what it can be and what it should be. This was the first step towards realizing that vision because for the first time in over three decades, our 11th District seat in the United States House of Representatives is blue!
So make no mistake – you are here tonight because of what you've done and what you've achieved. Because you've made calls, knocked on doors, stuffed envelopes, encouraged people to vote. You're here because out of the cynicism, the distrust and the attacks on our democratic ideals, we have found what exists inside all of us. It’s really that simple truth, that we love our country.
And we are no longer taking the government of the people, for the people and by the people for granted. In fact, here in New Jersey we’re going to do every single thing in our power to protect it.
We’ve been reborn, reinvigorated and inspired by each other. We have realized what it takes to make our democracy truly special and it's each and every one of us. So whether you're a mom – I’m going to clap for that – or a dad, or a carpenter, or a Wall Street banker or a law enforcement officer protecting our towns – you have a responsibility as a citizen of our country.
Because throughout our history we've experienced numerous attacks on our inalienable rights. We’ve lived through the horrors of war and fought for civil rights for all of our citizens. We've seen tragedy and poverty. We've been challenged to fight for the idea that all men and all women are created equal.
But it’s what we have in our veins and coursing through our hearts that has seen us through these times, an enduring American spirit that lives within us and defines who we are, the idea that we can do anything when we do it together and the idea that in order to form a more perfect union, first we must be united.
So now is the time for our country to come together, to have faith in our democracy, to believe that at its core our elected officials who share the same values that have governed this country since its birth.
Because now is the time that we must challenge ourselves to do better, to resolve our differences, to realize that in this country we are at our best when our leaders lead with compassion, commitment and courage.
We know that doing what is right, doing what is just, is never a partisan issue.
I swore my first oath to support and defend our country when I was 18 years old. I swore to protect and defend our constitution and the freedoms it guarantees, and I swore to serve this country with dignity and with honor.
And ever since that day, my confidence in our democracy has never wavered. I've never stopped believing in what this country can achieve and I've never stopped believing in the idea of America and its promise.
So let's celebrate here tonight, knowing that tomorrow our work really begins. For health care that doesn’t make you choose between treatment and putting food on the table. For a tax code that makes it possible to raise a family and retire right here in New Jersey. For infrastructure that ensures you can work hard and also make it home for dinner. And for gun laws that make it safe to go to school, to the movies, to a church, to a synagogue, to a mosque.
Because we want a New Jersey that works for all of us, no matter your party, your skin color, who you love or how you pray.
We all have a stake in the future of this country, so now is the time to face these challenges and rebuild our democracy together, to restore the trust in our government and our faith in this country.
Tonight I call on all of you to stay engaged. To continue to fight for what you believe in, to continue to use your passion, your courage and yes, it’s New Jersey, so your very loud voices for the good of our democracy. To continue to fight for this country and its values and to hold your leaders accountable and to insist on transparency – and yes, that means me.
And I pledge to you, when I stand on the floor of the United States House of Representatives, raise my right hand, and swear an oath to my country, I will also be swearing an oath to each and every one of you. I will never take for granted the people who put me in office. I will never stop fighting for you and for the generations of Americans that have laid down their lives for our freedoms.
Our challenges are many, but I will remain steadfast. I will carry with me the words of Harry Truman, who reminded us that America was not built on fear, it was built on courage, on imagination, and that unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.
So thanks to all of you. God bless you, God bless New Jersey and God bless the United States of America. Thank you.