And I mean that from the bottom my heart. Thank you to each and every one of you who talked with your family, friends and neighbors. Who knocked on the doors, made the phone calls, and stuffed the envelopes. Who wrote letters to the editor and attended our Meet and Greets. Who forwarded the emails and posted on social media and put up our lawn signs.
This is not my victory – it’s our victory. A team effort all the way. I want to thank our hardworking staff and volunteers, George Gilmore and the Ocean County Republican Party, Bill Layton and the Burlington County Republican Party and everyone who helped make tonight possible – especially the great voters of the Third Congressional District.
I also want to recognize Steve Lonegan and his supporters for a hard fought race. Our differences on the campaign trail aside, I want to wish Steve’s family well and his infant grandson a speedy and full recovery.
Speaking of family, before I go any further, let me thank my own family. I know this campaign wasn’t easy on them, and I also know I wouldn’t be standing up here today without their love and support and encouragement.
Our country is at a crossroads.
We spend too much. We borrow too much. Too many of our citizens are out of a job. Still others are working more but making less. Seniors on a fixed income are struggling to make ends meet. And our children are on course to inherit an America headed in the wrong direction.
Yet, in the face of these challenges, the politicians in Washington are focused more on pointing fingers at each other than they are about coming together to solve problems. Too many politicians want to divide us for their own self-interest. Six years ago, we were promised “hope and change”. Today, the “hope” has waned, and the “change” has been for the worse.
Also, not without blame are some within our own party, who would prefer to stand against everything, and for nothing. We can and must do better.
In the campaign ahead, I intend to emulate Ronald Reagan, and articulate a positive, optimistic message built around common sense conservative principles of individual responsibility and freedom, smaller government and free markets-while extending a compassionate hand-up to hardworking people who are struggling every day to build a better life for themselves and their families.
I want to assemble a coalition of Republicans, Democrats and Independents who may not agree on every single issue, but realize we are all in this together and the only way to strengthen our nation and secure a brighter future is to find common ground.
President Reagan said: “The challenge of statesmanship is to have the vision to dream of a better, safer world and the courage, persistence, and patience to turn that dream into reality.” I do dream of a better, safer world and by God’s grace, I will with courage, persistence and patience do my part to turn our shared American dream into reality.
I pledge today to be a different kind of Congressman, one who will care more about solutions than finger pointing and bring people together to restore our country and get America working again.
Thank you. God Bless. On to November!