Democrats working together for change
by Jean Hay Bright - Cumberland County Democrat
June 19, 2006
I became a U.S. Senate candidate a year ago because I was deeply concerned over the direction the Bush administration and the Republicans in Congress were taking my beloved country. The devastating, illegal and immoral Iraq War, the Patriot Act, the Guantanamo Bay detainees held without habeas corpus rights, the lies being fed to the American people, were more than I could bear.

As I looked around for what I could do, I realized that my 34 years of living and working in Maine, plus my intense concern over what was happening to my country, compelled me to throw my hat into the ring to challenge Olympia Snowe.

The common values and rich history of the Democratic Party sustained me during the long primary season, and those solid American values will lead us to victory in November.

I want to share some thoughts about the primary we just had.

We were two candidates with very different backgrounds and experiences. Both of us sought an end to the Republican regime in the Senate that is causing so much pain to American families. Without consultation, both of us focused on the destructive record of the Bush Administration and Olympia Snowe's complicity in that agenda. Both of us were committed to restoring the system of checks and balances our Constitution demands. We had a civil, and courteous exchanges of ideas.

The campaigns didn't cost gobs of money, but instead were fueled by hundreds of Maine people who volunteered their time and their talents because they believed in who each of us were and what we stood for.

The primary came down to a handful of votes, proving that when our political system works the way it should, every vote does count.

No one anticipated just how close this election would be. We watched the results Tuesday night, and all day Wednesday. Eric called me about 9 p.m. Wednesday night to concede. He was again gracious and courteous, and said he would not be seeking a recount.

He ran an impressive campaign, and I congratulate him, his family, and his team.

And now we move forward.

A lot of work lies ahead, but I am confident that, building on the foundation Eric and I established during the primary, we will meet our mutual goal in November of electing a Democratic U.S. Senator from Maine.

Throughout the summer I will crisscross the state, campaigning with John Baldacci, Tom Allen and Mike Michaud, and with Democratic Legislative and County candidates. I understand how important local races are, and I will do whatever I can to help local candidates and committees turn out the vote.

I'm proud to be a Democrat, and honored our party has chosen me to help carry its banner.

The history of our party is a history of working for the basic rights of all people, of cherishing our Constitution, and of defending our way of life from both foreign and corporate attack.

The future of our party depends upon us recognizing our collective power - and acting on it.

Despite what the pundits say, this race can - and will - be won. But only if we remember that collectively we have within us the ability to bring about needed change in this country.

We will get the job done. We will get our America back.

I welcome all Maine Democrats - all those wonderful diverse people who collectively are the Maine Democratic party - to join with me and make our voices heard and our votes count.

In this race, and in every race, we must work for, and cast our votes for, the America we all want to live in.