Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius Endorses Barack Obama

From barackobama.com:

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius Endorses Barack Obama in El Dorado, Kansas

Senator Obama was endorsed by Governor Kathleen Sebelius today in El Dorado, Kansas. Governor Sebelius stated...

I am especially pleased to announce my enthusiastic endorsement of Senator Barack Obama for President of the United States - because Barack Obama represents exactly the kind of change Kansans can believe in.

His candidacy offers the heartland values instilled by his mother and grandparents - all three native Kansans. Values of believing in something greater than ourselves, finding common sense solutions to problems, knowing that education is the doorway to opportunity, and working for the common good.

Senator Obama demonstrates a unique ability to reach across party lines - a quality we need now, right now, to unite our leaders and meet the serious challenges our country faces at home and abroad.

We are now in the process of choosing a Democratic nominee, yes; but, even more importantly to me, and to this country, we are choosing a leader for America.

And, on an especially personal note - I admire the way Senator Obama has inspired a younger generation of Americans, my own children included.

For months now, my two sons have implored me to make my admiration for Senator Obama public. To offer him my endorsement, and join this fight for change all of us can believe in. I am proud to do so today. Life at home will be easier for me after today, Barack, I assure you!

Barack spoke about how the how we can reclaim the American dream...

You know, we have been told for many years that we are becoming more divided as a nation.

We have been made to believe that differences of race and region; wealth and gender; party and religion have separated us into warring factions; into Red States and Blue states made up of individuals with opposing wants and needs; with conflicting hopes and dreams.

It is a vision of America that’s been exploited and encouraged by pundits and politicians who need this division to score points and win elections. But it is a vision of America that I am running for President to fundamentally reject – not because of a blind optimism I hold, but because of a story I’ve lived.

It’s a story that began here, in El Dorado, when a young man fell in love with a young woman who grew up down the road in Augusta. They came of age in the midst of the Depression, where he found odd jobs on small farms and oil rigs, always dodging the bank failures and foreclosures that were sweeping the nation.

They married just after war broke out in Europe, and he enlisted in Patton’s army after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. She gave birth to their daughter on the base at Fort Leavenworth, and worked on a bomber assembly line when he left for war.

In a time of great uncertainty and anxiety, my grandparents held on to a simple dream – that they could raise my mother in a land of boundless opportunity; that their generation’s struggle and sacrifice could give her the freedom to be what she wanted to be; to live how she wanted to live.

I am standing here today because that dream was realized – because my grandfather got the chance to go to school on the GI Bill, buy a house through the Federal Housing Authority, and move his family west – all the way to Hawaii – where my mother would go to college and one day fall in love with a young student from Kenya.

I am here because that dream made my parents’ love possible, even then; because it meant that after my father left, when my mother struggled as a single parent, and even turned to food stamps for a time, she was still able to send my sister and me to the best schools in the country.

And I’m here because years later, when I found my own love in a place far away called Chicago, she told me of a similar dream. Michelle grew up in a working-class family on the South Side during the 1960s. Her father had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at just thirty years old. And yet, every day of his life, even when he had to rely on a walker to get him there, Fraser Robinson went to work at the local water filtration plant while his wife stayed home with the children. And on that single salary, he was able to send Michelle and her brother to Princeton.

Our family’s story is one that spans miles and generations; races and realities. It’s the story of farmers and soldiers; city workers and single moms. It takes place in small towns and good schools; in Kansas and Kenya; on the shores of Hawaii and the streets of Chicago. It’s a varied and unlikely journey, but one that’s held together by the same simple dream.

And that is why it’s American.

Obama highlighted his plan to help revitalize our economy and strengthen middle class families...

This will not be easy, but America’s story tells me it’s possible. My story tells me it’s possible. What began here in Kansas all those years ago tells me it’s possible.

Because as we face another time of anxiety and uncertainty – a time where foreclosures sweep the nation and families struggle to stay afloat; where loved ones leave for war and parents wonder what kind of world their children will inherit – I believe that this nation can rally around the simple dream that my grandparents held on to even in the darkest of days.

It’s a dream that we can find a job with wages that support a family. That we can have health care that’s affordable for when we get sick. That we can retire with dignity and security. And that we can provide our children with education and opportunity – so that they can be what they want to be and live how they want to live. They are the common dreams that can finally unite a nation around a common purpose.

There are those who will continue to tell us we cannot do this. That we cannot come together. That the divisions in our politics run too deep. That we are offering the American people false hopes.

But here’s what I know.

I know that when I hear people say that we can’t come together to lift up working families who are struggling in this economy, I think back to the streets of Chicago, where I began my career as a community organizer twenty-five years ago. In the shadow of a closed steel mill, we brought white people and black people and Latinos together to provide job training to the jobless and after school programs for children. Block by block, we restored hope and opportunity to those neighborhoods, and I can believe we can do the same thing for the working families of America.

He continued...

Right now, there’s an economic stimulus package moving through Congress that will provide a boost to the economy and to working families. It’s similar to the one I proposed a few weeks ago, and would provide immediate tax relief for working families. I hope that when it’s final, it will also provide relief to seniors and extend unemployment insurance to those who’ve lost their jobs.

But we need to do even more to restore fairness and balance to our economy. Last night, we heard the President say that he wanted to make his tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans permanent – again. Well we can’t afford more George Bush tax cuts for those who don’t need them and weren’t even asking for them. It’s time to give tax relief to the middle-class families who need it right now.

When I am President, we’ll stop giving tax breaks to companies who ship our jobs overseas, and I’ll put a middle-class tax cut into the pockets of working families. This tax cut will be worth up to $1000 for a working family. We’ll provide struggling homeowners some relief by giving them a tax credit that would cover ten percent of a family’s mortgage interest payment every year. And we’re also going to give seniors a break by eliminating income taxes for any retiree making less than $50,000 a year, because every single American should be able to retire with dignity and respect.

That also means helping Americans save for retirement when they’re still working. When I’m President, employers will be required to enroll every worker in a direct deposit retirement account that places a small percentage of each paycheck into savings. You can keep this account even if you change jobs, and the federal government will match the savings for lower-income, working families.

It’s also time we had a President who won’t wait another ten years to raise the minimum wage. I will raise it to keep pace every year so that workers don't fall behind. I’ll institute a Credit Card Bill of Rights that will ban credit card companies from changing the agreement you signed up for, changing the interest rate on debt you’ve already incurred, or charging interest on late fees. Americans should pay what they owe, but they should also pay what’s fair, not just what’s profitable for some credit card company.

The same principle should apply to our bankruptcy laws. I opposed the credit card industry’s bankruptcy bill that made it harder for working families to climb out of debt, and when I’m President, I’ll make sure that CEOs can’t dump your pension with one hand while they collect a bonus with the other. That’s an outrage, and it’s time we had a President who knows it’s an outrage.

It’s also time we had a President who stopped talking about the outrage of 47 million uninsured Americans and started doing something about it. When I hear that we can’t come together and expand health care to the uninsured, I think back to how I was able to bring Democrats and Republicans together in Illinois to provide health insurance to 150,000 children and parents. And when I’m President, we’ll finally pass a universal health care plan that will make sure every single American can get the same kind of health care that members of Congress get for themselves. My plan does more to cut costs than any other plan in this race – up to $2500 for a typical family. And we won’t pass it twenty years from now, not ten years from now – we’ll pass health care by the end of my first term in office.

Click here for more on Obama's economic policy, and if you're from Kansas, check out KS.BarackObama.com to find out how you can get involved locally.

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