Standing for Change

Barack Obama

This is a defining moment. At a time when our nation is at war and our American dream is slipping away, we cannot settle for the status quo. Texas has always shown what can be achieved when we reach for what’s possible. In this election, Texans can stand for change.

I have spent over two decades working for change from the bottom up. I fought for jobs as an organizer on the streets of Chicago. As a civil rights lawyer, I stood up for people who were denied opportunity at work or justice at the voting booth. I reduced the influence of money in politics, expanded health care, and gave a tax cut to working people as a state senator. And when I got to Washington, I helped pass the most far-reaching ethics reform since Watergate.

I chose to run for president because I believed that the magnitude of our challenges had outgrown the ability of our broken politics to solve them. We cannot afford four more years of the same divisive fights in Washington that are more about scoring points than solving problems. We’re not going to make progress with a system dominated by special interests and poll-tested positions. It’s time to turn the page.

It’s time to reduce the power of lobbyists and restore fairness by giving a tax cut to working Americans, struggling home-owners and seniors. It’s time to invest in 21st century infrastructure to create jobs, safeguard our security, and connect our communities. It’s time to make health care affordable for every American, and to pass comprehensive immigration reform that embraces our legacy as a nation of laws and immigrants.

To deliver on the promise of a world-class education, I’ll invest in universal, high-quality early childhood education, give our teachers more pay and support, and make sure they’re not just teaching to a test. And to make sure you can get a college education without being saddled with debt, I’ll give an annual $4,000 tuition tax credit to every American who needs a hand, provided they carry out community service or national service.

Texans know we need less tough talk and more sound judgment on national security. We can’t afford the same politics of fear that tells Democrats that the only way to look tough is to talk, act, and vote like Bush-McCain Republicans. When I am president, I will end a war in Iraq that I opposed from the start and give our troops and military families the support they have earned. I will finish the fight in Afghanistan, and reject the false choice between security and civil liberties.

In this election, it is time to stand for change.

This has been our message since the beginning of this campaign, and it’s the message we will carry across Texas. Because the American people are ready to move past the division and distraction; we are ready to rally behind a common purpose. That’s why we’ve brought in new voters, inspired record turnout, and built a coalition of Democrats, Independents and Republicans that stretches across regions and races.

Here in Texas, you have shown what the Democratic Party can do when it stands for a clean break from the divisive, special-interest-driven politics of the past. After more than a decade of Republican gains-culminating in a cynical redistricting scheme backed by a flood of questionable campaign money-Democrats have mounted a resurgence, picking up seats in the Texas House and the U.S. House.

I saw this enthusiasm firsthand when I was invited to Texas to campaign for Democrats in 2006, and when we drew over 20,000 people at a rally in Austin last February. Democrats are poised to be the party of the future in Texas.

The choice in this primary is clear. I don’t want to keep playing on the same electoral map where Democrats write off states like Texas, and presidential candidates compete here in the primaries but are nowhere to be found in November. I don’t defend a system in which lobbyists fund campaigns, because I haven’t taken a dime from Washington lobbyists. I don’t want to refight the battles of the 1990s, or be a drag on down-ballot Democrats. This election, at this moment, is about the past versus the future.

What better place than Texas to choose tomorrow? Here, in a state so rich in diversity, we can turn the page on the old racial and ethnic divides that have plagued our politics. Here, in a state that stands for what’s possible in America, we can choose to take this country in a new direction. And here, in a state where Democrats stand for reform that can make a real difference in people’s lives, you can continue a Democratic resurgence by joining a campaign for change that stretches across red states and blue states.

If you vote for me on March 4, you will choose a politics of possibility over the politics of the past. You can send the cynics who say that we can’t make this change a message that the next chapter in American history will start with three simple words that sum up the spirit of this state and our nation:

Yes we can.

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Published at 12:00 am CST
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