When former Virginia governor and Democratic National Committee chairman and current U.S. Senate hopeful Tim Kaine took the stage at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte yesterday, he immediately called attention to his own state—and he didn’t have to look too far to find the Virginia delegation in the DNC crowd.
Delegates from the Old Dominion often get the nosebleed seats at the conventions, but this year, Virginia got a prime floor spot not far from the stage in both Tampa and Charlotte—evidence, apparently, of the Commonwealth’s perceived importance in the presidential race this year.
Kaine’s speech touched on Virginia’s critical role in 2012—it’s a “purple” state now, he pointed out—and presented Obama as a president who has kept his promises. Here’s the full text of that speech:
It is so great to be here tonight – Charlotte’s doing a great job and I especially want to give thanks to my friends from Virginia!
You know, a few years ago, very few imagined that Virginia would be a battleground state. Virginia had last voted for a Democrat for President in 1964, but in 2008 we proudly cast our electoral votes for President Obama. In 2006 and in 2008, we elected two outstanding Senators – Jim Webb and Mark Warner. And if I have anything to do with it, we’ll win again in 2012!
How did Virginia go from red to purple? We did it with grassroots excitement and hard work. And we showed Virginians that Democrats get results.
When I was Governor, during the worst recession since the Great Depression, Virginia maintained one of the lowest unemployment rates in America. We kept our Triple A bond rating. We were named the most business friendly state; best managed state; best state to raise a child. In Virginia, we cut billions from the state government, while making critical investments in schools, roads and bridges. We worked together with Democrats, Republicans and independents to get results.
Over the last four years, the GOP pushed ideology and wedge issues. Just last week, they passed a platform demanding privacy for super PACs and denying privacy to women making health care decisions.
Meanwhile, Democrats fought for the middle class. We cut taxes for 95% of American families. We went from 25 months of job loss to 28 straight months of private sector job growth. The auto industry is back and manufacturers are hiring again.
But we know, we’ve got more to do—and this fall, there is a real choice.
The other side fights to protect subsidies for big oil but we want to invest in America’s small businesses;
They want bigger tax cuts for those who need it the least. We want to invest in our communities—roads, bridges, infrastructure that will make us more competitive.
They want to slash education and training. We want to invest in our future.
There’s just as stark a choice when it comes to fixing America’s budget. Remember the last time they were in charge the other side turned a record surplus into a massive deficit with two wars, trillions in tax breaks, loopholes, and entitlements, none of which they would pay for. And today, well you see what they’re pushing, they’re pushing budget-busting tax cuts and economy-busting spending cuts. To pay for their plan, they’d raise taxes on the middle class. They’d turn Medicare into a voucher system. And rather than raise taxes on the wealthy by even one penny, they’d put thousands of defense jobs at risk.
So let’s be clear—that’s not fiscally responsible. That’s fiscally reckless and we can’t afford to try it again!
We have got to move forward. Because while we’ve made progress, we still have a long way to go. And we’ll only get there if we elect leaders who put results over ideology.
I support President Obama because he’s that kind of a leader. He said he’d end the war in Iraq and he has. He said he’d draw down troops in Afghanistan and today every single Virginia National Guard unit is home for the first time in a decade and we are so happy. He said he’d go after Al Qaeda and he’d take out bin Laden. And with our great SEAL team, that’s exactly what he did. He said he’d try something that Teddy Roosevelt first talked about, reforming health care systems—and he did. He promised to fight for equal pay for women, college affordability for students, fair treatment for LGBT Americans—and he’s kept his word. Our President, President Obama, is a tough leader who gets results for the American public.
Next week, we commemorate the 11th anniversary of 9/11. Many Virginians, too many Virginians, lost their lives at the Pentagon on 9/11, and in the wars that we’ve fought since. When I was Governor, I went to the funerals of our Virginia Guard members. I know people who lost their kids and I know servicemembers who returned with their lives changed forever. Their sacrifice reminds us we’re not Democrats or Republicans first. We’re Americans first. We’ve been through tough times as a nation, but we’re tough people. And remember folks, tough times don’t last but tough people do last.
So let’s come together, let’s come together and prove how tough Americans are, and show that our best days will always, always be ahead of us.
Thanks and have a great night.