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Kick-off Speech

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Together we have been out front on issues involving seniors, the environment, and organized labor. I worked across the aisle to enact the nation’s toughest sex offender laws here in Nevada, to cap Nevada property taxes, and to save Red Rock from development.  I have always stood strong for a woman’s right to choose. We have fought discrimination against the LGBT community and put an end to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.  I voted for the DREAM Act and as a teacher, have always made access to quality education a top priority. I introduced successful legislation to cap Medicare premiums when seniors were getting no Social Security COLA and supported Wall Street reform so what they did to rip off Americans can never happen again. With your support I fought to strengthen worker safety laws and proudly voted for the new GI Bill. Together we brought Nevada into compliance with the Olmstead Act which helps those with disabilities assimilate into everyday life. We succeeded in outlawing puppy mills, cock and dog fighting, and killing Nevada’s magnificent wild horses. And we passed a healthcare bill which closes the prescription donut hole for seniors, ends co-pays for prognostic tests like colonoscopies and mammograms, and prevents insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions. As you can see, my priorities have consistently been to fight for the people of District 1, not the special interests. You know me. I have never been afraid to stand up to the powerful regardless of the political consequences.

It’s not just about pushing for good legislation, however; it’s also about serving people here at home in the district; it’s about listening to their concerns and helping them with everyday problems. I know how important that is and have long been seen as a hard worker and as someone who cares about folks. I have always been accessible – my number is in the phone book and I do not live in a gated community. I attend hundreds of gatherings in the district, from book clubs to ethnic festivals. I have convened numerous town halls and met frequently with constituents at my signature Congress on the Corner. I held housing workshops to help people with their foreclosure problems, putting hundreds of homeowners together with their mortgage lenders. I hosted small business procurement seminars and chaired roundtables with teachers, healthcare providers, realtors, union leaders and others to identify and formulate ways to address the economic problems in Nevada.

But much more needs to be done.  That’s why having someone with a proven record in these troubled times is so important.  The people in District 1 are hurting as they try to keep body and soul together in this period of economic hardship. They need jobs; they need to stay in their homes; they need practical kitchen table solutions to the problems they face when they get up every morning. They need to know they can count on someone who has been there for them from the beginning with more than lip service and vague promises.

We must create jobs by investing in education, technology, renewable energy, and infrastructure. We must push the Administration to do more about the housing problem by enacting programs that really help the people in District 1 who are underwater, programs that bring banks to the table and focus on principal and not just interest. We must never privatize Social Security nor voucherize Medicare, two programs seniors have earned and deserve.  There are other ways to cut the deficit. We must stop giving tax breaks to companies that take our jobs overseas and incentivize Made in America instead. We must move forward with meaningful immigration reform and continue to stand strong with our ally Israel during this time of turmoil in the Middle East. We must reform No Child Left Behind so children have access to quality teachers and schools and can fulfill their God-given potential. Corporations are not people and should not be allowed to steal our elections; to stop them we must reform our campaign finance laws. Nor should corporations be let off the hook for environmental and labor violations because they claim to be job creators when the only jobs they have created in the last decade are in China. Finally, we should not even consider cutting veteran benefits and we need to bring our troops home.

I’m running for Congress in District 1 because after spending my adult life fighting for women and children, protecting individual rights and freedoms, safeguarding our environment, and defending seniors, people with disabilities, and our 4 legged friends, I can’t stand on the sidelines now and watch as the House Republicans, aligned with the Radical Right and Wall Street, attempt to roll back our accomplishments. I can’t just watch as the rich get richer and the Middle Class disappears. I can’t just watch as the tax burden shifts increasingly away from billionaires onto the shoulders of those who are already paying more than their fair share. I can’t just watch as Speaker Boehner and his Tea Party members risk the good faith and credit of the United States just to get their way, or vote to cut women’s healthcare funding, or attempt to water down the definition of rape, or eliminate clean air and water protections.  I can’t just sit and watch. I have to keep going.

I take inspiration from the words of Sojourner Truth, quoted so eloquently by Hilary Clinton at the 2008 Democratic convention: When you sense the hounds at your heels, keep going. When you feel the heat from the torches behind you, keep going. When you hear the shouts of the angry mob gaining on you, keep going. Well, I’m going to keep going but I need your help to get there. Together we can turn back this tide of obstructionism, fear mongering, and greed and put our nation, this state, and District 1 back on the path to glory.

Thank you.

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