During my Senate campaign, I pledged to be an independent voice who would approach each issue with an open mind, and vote based on the best interests of the people of Massachusetts. It’s never mattered to me whether it was a Republican bill or a Democratic bill. I care only whether it is a good idea for my constituents and state.
This was my approach during the debate over the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in 2010. I spent months studying the issue, talking to service men and women, including the service chiefs, commanders on the ground as well as listening to testimony. During the process, I kept an open mind. After completing my due diligence and hearing arguments from people on both sides of the issue, I determined that the time had come to repeal the policy.
To me, at the end of the day, it mattered only whether a soldier’s service was performed with competence, honor and dignity, and not whether he or she was gay or straight.
Being an independent voter and thinker means I am never going to satisfy one group or political party 100 percent of the time. Since my election, I have crossed the aisle to work with the opposing party on many key issues, and I was recently named the second most bipartisan member of the Senate. I have never subscribed to the theory that good ideas or good policies are limited to one political party.
I don’t come before you with a checklist of items promising that I will be an advocate for you on each and every one of them. My opponent has already started down that road, promising to support everyone’s pet project. That’s not the way I have ever operated.
But I will go to work for you on the most important issue facing us—getting this bad economy working again and creating jobs.
Everywhere I go, people tell me they are concerned about their economic future. They are worried about being able to provide for their families. Incomes are down, gas prices are up, too many people are unemployed and many folks are stuck in part-time jobs when they want full-time work.
In some cases, people are working two jobs that pay less than they used to make at one.
I have made job creation my top legislative priority, and I have a proven record of working on a bipartisan basis to move our country forward.
Last fall, the only two pieces of President Obama’s jobs bill to make it through Congress and get signed into law—the ‘Hire A Hero’ tax credit for businesses that hire unemployed veterans and repeal of the 3% withholding tax on companies that do business with the government – both started as initiatives I brought forward earlier in the year. I was proud to join the President and lawmakers from both parties at the White House for the bill signing.
More recently, I was honored to once again join the President for the signing of another one of my jobs bills—‘Crowdfunding’ legislation designed to help make it easier for start-ups to finance their businesses and therefore grow and create jobs.
Finally, let me say this: I believe all people should be treated with dignity and respect. I recognize the liberty of every citizen to live as they choose, and it is from this diversity that we derive our strength as a nation. We are Americans first and must work together to fix our country’s real economic problems.
There are plenty of angry voices in Washington, but I’m not one of them. I ask you to join with me to overcome the very real economic challenges that confront our state and our country. With your support, we can continue the work of making America strong and prosperous again.