Two weeks ago -- on one of the proudest days of my life -- I received the endorsement of Illinois's firefighters. During the course of speaking with all the representatives in attendance, many of them thanked me. They thanked me for simply saying that I'd work to protect their funding. It should be the other way around -- we should be thanking them every single day for what they actually do. The firefighters shouldn't have to thank their representatives or candidates for protecting them. But that's exactly the kind of climate that has dominated Washington recently -- not even funding for our fire departments is above the partisan brinksmanship.
I'm running for Congress for two simple reasons: because we can do better, and we deserve better.
We can do better than this Tea Party do-nothing Congress. Two years ago we were promised jobs and return to fiscal discipline, but all we've gotten is debates on Planned Parenthood and the first credit downgrade in our nation's history. At a time when we should be preserving Medicare and Social Security for our seniors, Republicans in Congress are voting to slash these programs and force seniors to pay more for their health care, all while offering more and more tax breaks to the wealthy and the oil corporations. I've spent more than 25 years working with small businesses, and I've never seen economic conditions less conducive to helping them and more conducive to lining special interests' pockets. We can do better for them and for all of us -- especially our kids.
We deserve better than the debt we're leaving and the environment we're impairing. During the Bush presidency, Washington dug a four trillion-dollar hole with two wars, an unfunded prescription drug program, and the largest tax cut ever for the top earners. Subsequently, the current Congress has been rolling back women's access to health care, weakening the EPA, and impeding the steady march of LGBT equality. This is not the world that I want to create for my two boys and their generation. In my office, when I see our 87 summer interns -- college and high school kids -- working hard every single day, I know that I owe back to them the same effort and dedication that they've shown my campaign. We owe them far better than they've seen in the 112th Congress.
This is why I'm running to represent the 10th district: because we can do better, and we will do better.