Like so many of you, I am still somewhat in awe of what we accomplished as a nation last Tuesday night. After eight long years of George Bush and Dick Cheney, of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, with unprecedented challenges facing us on the economy, energy, the environment, and health care — in one instant, by electing a new generation of leadership, we sent an unmistakable signal to the entire world that America is back.
I was humbled to be a part of that special night by being elected the first Democratic Congressman from Connecticut’s Fourth District in forty years. And starting in January, I will be honored to help President Obama bring change to Washington D.C. on all of these issues that need our attention now.
Early last year, Blue America got behind our campaign when my name recognition in Connecticut was in the single digits and our campaign was working out of my living room. You contributed, you volunteered, you gave us your thoughts and ideas, and last week it all paid off as together we accomplished something truly amazing — knocking off a 21-year incumbent and turning all of New England blue. For that, you have my sincerest gratitude.
One of the rookie mistakes I have already made as a Congressman-elect was thinking that, after election day, I might have a few hours to rest and recover. Not so. In the last few days the phone has been ringing off the hook with congratulatory calls, constituent requests, and media requests (including many from Peru, where I was born). Our transition team is already hard at work making sure the handover goes as smoothly as possible, because it is clear that we will need to hit the ground running starting in January.
Of course, now comes the hard part.
The challenges that President Obama and the 111th Congress will face in governing are huge. If we are going to do what we absolutely need to in order to make sure that we get our economy back on track, that middle-class families continue to have a shot at the American Dream, that our children have access to the education and health care they need to compete, that we build a green energy economy here at home, and that America leads again as a respected nation in the world — if we are going to do all of this, we simply cannot afford more of the same gridlock in D.C. In tackling these problems, I will need your input, your feedback, and your support as a Congressman just as much as I needed it as a candidate. That’s why I want to continue to have as many meaningful discussions and interactions like this with you as possible, both online and offline.
Thank you so much for your support over the past two years. I’ll be around in the comments for the next half hour to answer any questions.