Following a vote by Democratic National Committee members yesterday, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz became chair of the Democratic Party. In her acceptance speech, Wasserman Schultz told those watching, both online and in person, about her background and how it helped shape her vision for our party's future.
She talked about the lessons learned from her first race for office: “First, there is no substitute for good, old-fashioned hard work. Second, don’t take no for an answer.”
Drawing on those lessons, Wasserman Schultz noted that Democratic success is not measured only by the electoral scoreboard:
I will work every single day like I did in that first race to re-elect our President, win back the House, hold the Senate and elect Democrats up and down the ballot. On my watch we will not be outworked.
…Our success always will be measured by how we improve the quality of life for Americans and ensure that everyone has a shot at the American Dream.
That's what I want for my children – that’s what you want for your children – and that's what every person in our great nation wants for themselves and their families.
Quoting FDR, the Congresswoman explained the foundation of her vision for America’s future: “The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”
That vision for America may seem abstract, but it unfolds every day in the halls of Congress, state and local governments, and in the media. It unfolds in efforts by our party to end tax breaks for millionaires and oil and gas companies, protect Medicare and investments in education, and find reasonable solutions that lift up all Americans – solutions based on facts and not ideology.
Of course, we know that government cannot fix all our problems, but we also know that our individual well being is tied to that of our country:
[W]e can reduce historic and institutional barriers that have prevented many in our society from achieving their dreams or reaching their full potential.
[W]e can care for our seniors after they spent a lifetime caring for us.
[W]e can ensure that the quality of our health doesn’t depend on the size of our bank accounts.
[W] e can be globally competitive if we out-educate, out-innovate and out-build the rest of the world.
[W]e don't believe in giving people a free ride - but we also don't believe that people who are facing tough times through no fault of their own should simply be left behind.
The newly-minted chair made clear that the top priorities during the next two years are to defend our country’s progress over the past two years – fighting to protect health reform, Wall Street reform, student loan reform, and all our other successes.
It will be to invest heavily in the re-election campaign of President Obama. And it will be to support Democratic candidates, state parties, and constituent institutions throughout the country that represent and fight for our party’s values:
I want to see our candidates elected and our ideas implemented – because I've got three young kids, and I want them to grow up in a country where all things remain possible, where the American spirit continues to thrive, and where the American Dream is within reach for everyone.
Click here to read Chairwoman Wasserman Schultz’s full remarks.