This has been an awesome couple of years and couple of months. I promised you I would have your back against the powerful interests in Washington, and last night, you had mine. Even though we fell short of reelection, we defied the pundits in the roughest of political years. Because I come out of faith-based justice work instead of politics, I can see last night as a victory for conviction and hard work for the idea that when you fight for the people, the people win.
Consider this. We won Danville, Martinsville, Charlottesville, Albemarle, Prince Edward, Brunswick, Buckingham, and Nelson with stronger than expected turnout. Over 110,000 voters had our back last night. And when you compare us to other races across the state and nation, we dramatically outperformed others in “safer” districts and those where members had either dodged the tough votes or run away from them after. And we did not back away from this President when it would have been convenient, because in politics, I will stand with the problem solvers over the political game players any day.
Look at what else we have won. Because of our work together, we turned near-economic collapse into nine straight months of private sector job growth. Because of our work together, 1,800 homes in our district have been weatherized, putting people to work making $20 an hour. Because of our work together, over 20,000 young people in our district are getting more aid to afford college. Over 120 small business owners got the loans to live their American dream. And being a woman is no longer considered a pre-existing condition in this country. And because of our work together, Medicare is now solvent for a generation and beyond, and I do not believe any party will have the gall to roll that back.
I wake up this morning inspired by the people-powered, conviction politics we offered and the incredible results it produced. I feel bolstered by a team that understands real change does not happen with one election night victory or end with one loss. We shouldn’t have expected nirvana after our win in 2008 and we shouldn’t expect armageddon now. As I told the crowd last night, my father made me promise when I entered politics that I would always consider Judgement Day more important than election day, because doing what’s right is more important than winning elections. I believe he is smiling on us today, and that he is thankful for all of you who sacrificed so much to offer a better kind of politics in America.