O'Malley's remarks to Virginia Democrats
Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, the new chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, addressed Virginia Democrats at the Jefferson Jackson dinner Saturday. Here are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
Thank you all very much...
Early this morning, three members of your Congressional delegation - Jim Moran, Bobby Scott and Gerry Connolly helped win the fight against national House Republican efforts, that would have taken 3,000 cops off the beat and 2,300 firefighters out of our nation's firehouses. Let's have a round of applause for their leadership.
Tim Kaine, it's great to join you here today. Governor Kaine and I have long had a bond, not just as governors of neighboring states, but as former mayors.
Being Mayor is a great job because you manage for results on the front lines of the big challenges that impact our quality of life. There is no Democratic or Republican way of filling a pothole or more efficiently collecting the garbage. Mayors see problems and they bring people together to tackle these problems, and get things done.
I also want to acknowledge two great leaders who so many of you have worked so hard on behalf of - Mark Warner and Jim Webb.
I understand the guy Senator Webb beat says he wants his old job back,...that he wants to take one of Virginia's Senate seats back. We have experience with this sort of thing in Maryland,...so here is some neighborly advice:
When George Allen, John Boehner, Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck tell you they want to take Virginia back,...you might ask them,...you might ask one another, "back to what?... "
Back through the trail of record job losses, record foreclosures, small businesses losses, and bank system wreckage of the Bush recession? Back to shattered alliances abroad and shattered dreams at home? Back to Katrina,..."heck of a job, Brownie?...."
Now you make your own decision, but I can assure you that your neighbors in Maryland don't want to go back. We want to move forward, and I bet you do as well.
Forward Not Back
As Marylanders and Virginians, we know we can accomplish important things when we work together to solve problems and move forward. With leaders like Tim Kaine, we joined together to fight crime, and to save the Blue Crab and improve the health of our Bay. Together we are pursuing the renewable energy potential of Atlantic off-shore wind. And in 2008 with volunteers from Maryland crossing the border to volunteer alongside Virginians, we put Barack Obama over the top.
As a boy growing up just across the Potomac, I have fond memories of weekend trips with my mom and dad and brothers to powerfully beautiful places in Virginia called, Mt. Vernon,...Ashlawn,... and Monticello,...
George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, Virginians all, patriots and founders -- they changed the world by winning for us the power of self-determination, a living Republic capable of adapting time and again to the economic and global challenges of every age.
The Democratic Party -- the Party of the people -- built the American Century, led our people to finance and win two world wars, rebuilt our industrial and transportation infrastructure, and with the GI bill expanded our middle class and middle class prosperity to a scale and level never before achieved in the history of the world.
I want to talk with you tonight about jobs,...about opportunity,...and about the job-creating importance of the choices we make right now. For surely, no family can build a better future without a job; no progress is possible for our nation without jobs.
Nothing to Fear
Let's have a show of hands. How many of you believe that you have a better quality of life than that of your parents and grandparents? Second more troubling question,.... How many of you believe just as firmly that your children and grandchildren will enjoy a better quality of life than you have? Virtually everywhere I go, far fewer hands go up on that second question,...
If we are going to win elections and govern -- if we are going to move forward -- we must be willing to confront our biggest opponent: that fear of "fear itself" in our lifetimes
Our country is in a fight, it is a fight for our economic future. It's a battle for jobs and opportunity in a changing new economy. And the choices we make today -- the choices we make as a people right now -- will determine what type of future our children will have.
If our children are going to be winners and not losers in this changing economy, we must find the will to balance budgets while also investing in the stronger country our children need, and the better future our children deserve. We must forge the consensus necessary as a people to balance this bicycle while peddling forward at the same time,...
Jobs. Opportunity. Now.
President Obama was exactly right when we said last week in Maryland that to create jobs in this new innovation economy, every American must be equipped with the skills to "compete with any worker, anywhere in the world."
Thirty years ago, the United States ranked #1 in high school graduation rates among our global competitors. Today we're 11th,... Thirty years ago, America ranked #1 in college completion. Today we're at #12,... As a nation, we now spend more on potato chips than we invest through our government into energy research and development.
These trends won't reverse themselves by themselves; we cannot expect other nations to stop their job-creating progress just because we have decided to slow down. In the global competition for jobs and opportunity, we must move forward as a nation, or other countries will surely create the jobs we should be creating here.
Balance and Progress Together
Have you ever tried to balance on a bicycle without peddling forward? It is pretty much impossible to stay up for very long on a bicycle that isn't moving forward,... And they don't peddle themselves --especially when you are trying to go uphill,...
The same is true of a state or a nation.
Like President Obama, Thomas Jefferson understood as President what it takes to balance and move forward at the same time. Where would be as a nation if Jefferson had allowed our fight against the Barbary Pirates to distract him from balancing the nation's finances while also securing the Louisiana Purchase?
Where would Virginia be today if as Governor, Mark Warner hadn't shown courage and leadership in 2004, when with tough fiscal choices and a willingness to pull people together, you saved Virginia's Triple A bond rating and set the table for important investments to improve public education?
Where would Virginia be today without Tim Kaine's commitment to fiscal discipline, along with his foresight to "renew Virginia." Even while cutting billions of dollars in spending, Governor Kaine advanced green-technology, improved early childhood education and technical education, revamped workforce training, and made historic investments to rebuild higher education in Virginia.
Democratic Governors, are balancing budgets, making the tough choices, and moving forward all all at the same time,... And why? Because Governor Warner and you,... because Governor Kaine and you,... wanted Virginia and Virginia's children to be winners in this changing new economy, that's why...
Now many of the current crop of tea partying Republican Governors would have you believe that they are the only governors who balance their budgets every year. But you know better in Virginia. You know all of the states have to balance their budgets.
But the tea partying Republican Governors live in a different world than ours.
Yes, the tea partying Republican governors would have us believe a lot of things that just aren't so.
But of course, friends, their type of tea party is more Alice in Wonderland than it is Sam Adams. The Republican Governors' tea party is more Mad Hatter than James Madison.
They would have us believe we can somehow eat cake and lose weight. They would have us believe that we can somehow just cut our way to a better future - no need to invest in education or rebuild our infrastructure. They would have us believe that the financial cost of wars are best charged to our children's credit cards. They would have us believe that massive permanent tax cuts for the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans -- who, by the way, claim twenty-five percent of the nation's wealth -- don't balloon the deficit or cost the Republic anything at all.
At the Republican Governor's tea party, where colorful characters like Chris Christie of New Jersey preside, there is no need to pay bills, no need to protect bond ratings, no need to invest in the future. Down is up, up is down; candy is a vegetable, and vegetables are candy,...
But this isn't Wonderland; this is reality. And the reality is that we're not somehow being clever by failing to invest in high-speed rail, while they use our money to build it in China. We're not doing ourselves any favors by neglecting public education. We're better than that.
In our Republic we know there are some challenges so large that we can only hope to tackle them together.
Creating jobs, spurring innovation, harnessing off-shore wind, expanding opportunity in this new economy, improving public education and public safety, making college more affordable, rebuilding a 21st century transportation and cyber infrastructure,....these things won't happen by themselves.
We must choose to move forward.
None of these choices for our nation are easy choices now. But now is when we must make them. No generation of Americans ever built monuments to their own comfort.
To win the future, to make it in America, and to make sure that our children are winners in this changing new economy,... we must balance and peddle forward at the same time,...we must cut spending by improving performance,... we must educate, innovate and rebuild. We must create jobs and expand opportunity, and to do this, we must make the tough choices and the right choices right now,...
You and I know that to make this new economy ours, we must be strategic in how we cut. Creating jobs and expanding opportunity is not only about the spending we cut. It's about the progress we protect. It's not only about today's budget math. It is about giving our children the opportunities they will need to win the future.
The Chesapeake Crescent Economy
In this changing new economy, innovation is key. To create jobs and expand opportunity, we must fuel and fire the engine of innovation: public education, workforce training, community college, affordable four-year college, infrastructure, and targeted tax credits that accelerate emerging sectors of the Innovation Economy like bio-tech, green-tech, clean-tech, information technology, aerospace, trade, and next generation manufacturing.
And when it comes to innovation, our region, the Cheasapeake Crescent -- Virginia and Maryland together -- can lead the way forward. Across both of our states, Marylanders and Virginians are working together in labs, classrooms, and businesses to advance new technologies, cures, treatments, and sciences that are remaking our world and revolutionizing the way we "feed, fuel, and heal" our world. From the next generation electric motors rolling off the assembly line at GM in Baltimore County,... to Terry McAuliffe's work here in Virginia with GreenTech Automotive.
The creative and talented minds of our region attract more Research and Development investment than any region of our country. We are home to more than 70 federal research labs, and some of the world's leading institutions of science, discovery, and higher learning. Our people are some of the most highly educated and skilled anywhere in America, with more PHD scientists and engineers per capita than any place in our America.
We are well equipped for greatness.
In conclusion, what was true in Jefferson's day is true in ours. There is no progress without struggle, no victory without sacrifice. And America needs our generation -- as she has needed every generation -- to stand up and overcome the challenges of our own day, and win.
Our nation was not built by faint-hearted cowards and couch potatoes. Greed and selfishness are
not the civic virtues of this Republic. Bombast and workforce abuse are not the leadership qualities of governing that forge consensus and progress.
We are a Revolutionary people. We are fully capable -- when fully alive and engaged -- of accomplishing revolutionary things.
The liberating legions of the American Armies of our parents and grandparents' day did not fight and die to defeat fascism just so we could sit back on our haunches and watch our bridges crumble along with our children's prospects for a better future.
They fought for us,... And they trusted us to fight for the generations that would come after ours. And I am not going to let them down and neither are you.
As Democrats, we believe in the courageous community of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's America. We believe in John Kennedy's America, always seeking the new frontier. We believe in Bill Clinton's fiscally responsible America, that can balance a budget and expand opportunity while also building a bridge to the 21st Century and beyond.
An America where we choose to move forward, together. Forward today by creating jobs, forward today by expanding opportunity. Forward today by making the tough decisions, and the fiscally responsible decisions, that allow us to build a better future now.
| February 19, 2011; 10:08 PM ET
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