Our campaign has come to an end. It is truly amazing how far we came, taking on a four-term incumbent here in the heart of Central Pennsylvania. We didn't win the election, but I am still proud of our campaign and all that we have accomplished.
Before last December, I had never dreamed of running for public office. Many political leaders told me flat out, "If you can't win, don't run." It became clear to me, however, that the most certain way not to win was not to run. So with the blessing of my family, I decided to give it everything I had.
We ran a positive, issue-driven, people-powered campaign--a campaign that changed the nature and energy of our local politics. We drew together an amazing group of people committed to a new set of priorities for the 89th District. We spoke out boldly in favor of a state government that would stand up for children and working families--one that could help provide our children with a great education, keep college affordable for students and working families, maintain a system of safe roads, help create good, family-supporting jobs here in Central Pennsylvania, and care for our most vulnerable neighbors. It could also protect the right of women to make their own decisions about their health.
This campaign worked because so many people gave so generously of their time, their money, and their talents. You know who you are, you know what you did, and you know how grateful I am for your support. Please accept my most heartfelt "thank you."
I would like to thank my amazing husband Mark, who has spent the past eleven months supporting me in every conceivable way. Without him, I never would have been able to be a candidate for office. I would especially like to thank my wonderful daughters, Margaret and Natalie, who understood that I was spending time away from home so that I could fight to keep their schools great and make sure that they have the opportunities that we all had when we were growing up. They were my inspiration from the outset. I hope seeing their mom running for state office taught them that there is nothing that they can't do with their lives.
I would like to thank the members of my campaign team, all of whom worked so hard behind the scenes, spending countless hours keeping the campaign going. I am very proud, and very fortunate to have had the privilege to work with such a creative and dedicated group of people. Trust me, I could not have done this without them.
And I would also like to thank the organizations that took a chance on this campaign, including the members and leadership of the Democratic parties of Cumberland and Franklin counties, the Shippensburg and Chambersburg Democratic clubs, Franklin County Women's Democratic Club, PA Federation of Democratic Women, Shippensburg University Democrats, and Students for Spicka.
I also owe a debt of gratitude to the members of APSCUF, the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, the Pennsylvania Education Association, AFSCME, the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1776, the United Auto Workers and the Service Employees International Union that committed so much time, energy, and enthusiasm to our campaign. Thank you to all of you for everything you did.
Though we did not win the race, it is remarkable what we did accomplish in our effort. Over the last eleven months we contacted over 25,000 households in person or by phone, and connected thousands of people who realized they were not alone in questioning the misguided priorities of our state government and Rob Kauffman. We raised important issues about the importance of public education, the waste of corporate welfare, and the need for a representative who would truly represent all the people in the 89th District. It was truly gratifying in the last weeks of the race to see our opponent--Representative Rob Kauffman--the man who had voted to cut $960 million from our public schools, the same man who refused to meet with parents who were worried about the future of our public schools--claiming that he was now the true champion of public education.
Now that the election is over, I would ask you for one last favor. Please do not go home and hang up your campaign shoes until the next Presidential election. We've started something important this year, and we need to keep it going. We need to keep raising issues, keep holding elected officials accountable, keep writing letters to the local papers, and keep organizing for change. I invite you to join me in getting more involved in our local community and political organizations, both to be able to advocate for issues, but also so that when candidates like me come along in the future, they have the skills, the resources, and the capacity to help them run, and help them win--whether it is for school board or state representative. Join your local or county party, and lend them your support.
Additionally, just because Rob Kauffman was elected, it does not mean that he gets two years to do whatever he may like in Harrisburg. It is his job to represent all of us, and we need to dedicate ourselves to holding him accountable every single day for the next two years. If he ignores his promises to support public education, or if he continues to put the interests of his party before his constituents, we need to raise our voices loudly, clearly, and together. We need to let him know that although this campaign is over, our issues remain, and we are going to continue fighting hard in support of our children and our community.
So today is an end, but it also a beginning. We have started something important, something that is worth continuing, something we can be proud of. So let me just say thank you once again--from the bottom of my heart--thank you for your time, your energy, your faith in me, and your friendship. I really appreciate all we have done together.