Election 2012: Transcript of Wisconsin Senator-elect Tammy Baldwin’s victory speech
Transcript of Wisconsin Senator-elect Tammy Baldwin’s victory speech on Nov. 6, 2012:
Thank you. Wow! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you, everybody!
Tonight – tonight we have won a huge victory for Wisconsin’s middle-class!
And it’s that battle for Wisconsin’s middle-class that has been what this has all been about since this journey began 14 months ago.
Everywhere that I’ve gone in our beautiful state, people have told me that they want a Senator who will listen to the middle-class when they need help, a Senator who will stand on the side of the middle-class, a Senator who will wake up every morning and fight for the middle-class.
They told that they want an economy in which everyone plays by the same rules and everyone does their fair share.
They’ve told me that they want a level playing field – one where China can’t cheat our workers and billionaires can’t dodge taxes and Wall Street can’t crash our economy they just keep gambling.
They’ve told me that they want to be able to rely on the guarantees of Medicare and Social Security, not just today but for future generations.
Most of all, they’ve told me that the special interests have too much power in Washington and it’s time for the people’s voice to be heard.
Well, the people’s voice was heard tonight, Wisconsin, and come January, your voice will be heard in the United States Senate.
I am honored and humbled and grateful, and I’m ready to get to work, ready to stand with President Barack Obama, and ready to fight for Wisconsin’s middle-class.
Now, I am well aware that I will have the honor to be Wisconsin’s first woman U.S. Senator. And I am well aware that I will be the first openly gay member of the U.S. Senate.
But I didn’t run – but I didn’t run to make history. I ran to make a difference. A difference in the lives of families struggling to find work and pay the bills. A difference in the lives of students worried about debt and seniors worried about their retirement security. A difference in the lives of our veterans who fought for us and need someone fighting for them and their family. A difference in the lives of entrepreneurs trying to build a business and working people trying to build some economic security.
But in choosing me to tackle those challenges, the people of Wisconsin have made history.
And I can’t tell you how grateful I am for the trust that you’ve placed in me and all I can do is work as hard as I can to keep that trust.
Now, I know that many of the people listening to this speech tonight may not have voted for me. But I want you to know that I will stand up for you and I ask you to work with me to move our state forward.
Here is the promise I want to make you: I will be a Senator for all of Wisconsin.
Now, our state has had some incredible leaders from both political parties and all across the ideological spectrum, and I have a lot of good examples to follow. One is Herb Kohl.
You know that when he first ran for the U.S. Senate, his slogan was “Nobody’s Senator but yours.” But over the course of his service, that slogan became a title – one that he has earned everyday that he has served the state of Wisconsin. I am so grateful – I am so grateful to have had his support throughout this campaign and humbled to carry his deep commitment to public service.
I also want to thank Tommy Thompson for his life in public service. And before I do, I’d like you to indulge me in an acknowledgement on a very personal level.
First of all, I just got off the phone with him. He was very cordial and congratulated me and wished me well and wished all of us well.
But I want to tell you a quick little story about Tommy Thompson on a very personal level.
I still remember the first time I have ever Tommy. I was 30-years-old and a freshman member of the Wisconsin assembly. He was greeting new members of the legislature at the Governor’s mansion.
We didn’t talk politics. I explained to the Governor that I was Joe Baldwin’s daughter and that I had never met him before my father passed away.
Tommy’s face lit up. He had known my father in college and he would delight in sharing some small remembrance every time I saw him, and that meant the world to me.
Tommy and I didn’t always agree. In fact, in this campaign we didn’t agree on much. But there can be no doubt that he shares my love and all of our love for Wisconsin.
And tonight – tonight I want to reach out to his supporters and ask them to join me in standing up for our belief that we are all in this together.
Now, make no mistake – I am a proud Wisconsin progressive, which means that I believe in holding the power accountable, I believe in fair play, and I believe that when people are struggling you don’t talk down to them – you help lift them up. And I believe in Wisconsin’s workers and their work ethic that I will fight for every day.
But I also believe that we can only move forward – if we move forward – together.
Now, this has been an incredible journey – one that has shown me the best that our state has to offer. I’ve watched Wisconsin workers put the “Made in America” label on boots for our soldiers in Merrill, on ships made in Marinette, and engines made in Beloit. I’ve met with potato farmers in Clover. I’ve eaten in and the best cream puffs in the world at the state fair in West Allis.
And I am grateful to so many people tonight. I want to thank the people of the 2nd Congressional district for giving me the honor of serving you for the last 14 years. And I want to congratulate Mark Pocan.
It has been a privilege to serve in the House of Representatives. And I had a hardworking, dedicated team of Congressional staff who do incredible work in my name but on your behalf led by my friend and chief of staff Bill Murat. I want to recognize these amazing people.
I am grateful for all the elected officials and public servants who stood with me throughout this campaign.
And in particular, I want to single out Gwen Moore, who famously reminds me whenever she sees me, “I was for you before you were for you.”
And I also want to thank Russ Feingold for campaigning…on my behalf for the last 14 months.
I have never been a part of a campaign organization as amazing as this one, and I want to thank my friend and campaign manager, Karin Johanson. I want to thank her for helping me build this team of determined, inspirational and incredible staff, supporters, volunteers. It’s been incredible and I’m grateful for the campaign.
Now, you’ve all heard a lot about my grandparents who raised me and especially my grandmother. She was born in 1906 before women had the right to vote and got to live to see her granddaughter elected to the House of Representatives. I know she would be proud tonight.
I am happy and so fortunate to have with me tonight my mother, Pam. Among all the things I could tell you about her, she had the prophetic wisdom to name me Tammy. How could she have known that one day there’d be headlines reading, “Tammy versus Tommy”?
I also am joined this evening by my aunts and uncle – Sarah, Melinda, and Guy – and I just want to thank my family for their love, support, and encouragement.
So tonight a long journey comes to an end, but we know our work is just beginning. And whether you voted for me or not, whether tonight you’re celebrating a victory or dealing with a defeat, I hope that when we wake up tomorrow morning, we are ready to work, ready to fight for our middle-class, ready to keep our promises to our seniors, ready to have a level playing field for our workers, ready to make sure that everyone has a fair shot, ready to make our country stronger, more prosperous and more equal, ready to do what Wisconsinite have done for generations – stand together and move forward.