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David's Democratic Convention Speech

 

31 May 2024

Hello Maine Democrats!

It’s great to be back in Bangor. The city of my birth and the “big” city of my childhood and teen years.

For those of you who don’t know me – I was raised in nearby Old Town – the proud son of an Army veteran and labor organizer and grandson of French and Irish American shoe, textile, and railroad workers.

And, like you, my commitment to the Democratic Party and our Party’s values didn’t begin with this election year.

It was instilled in me as I participated on picket lines in Bangor and Old Town as a boy and has grown stronger ever since – as I’ve worked alongside party and environmental activists, union members, and Democratic office holders to better the lives of people here in Maine and elsewhere as an adult.

I fully recognize that if it were not for such Democratic Party initiatives as the minimum wage, Social Security, Pell Grants, and guaranteed student loans – I would not have been able to put myself through college and I would not be speaking to you today as a proud life-long Democrat running for the United States Senate.

I decided to run for the Senate now, because, like many of you, I’m very concerned about the health of our environment and democracy and the performance of our government.

For decades, we Democrats have labored to establish a more just, secure, and prosperous nation. One in which everyone is treated fairly, and all are provided with the opportunity to excel. And while we’ve made considerable progress over the years, we’ve yet to establish the kind of more perfect union envisioned by our most thoughtful founders and descendants.

We’ve fallen short, in large part, because our nation’s governing infrastructure is as outdated as many of our roads, ports, and bridges. Republican imposed gridlock and dysfunction abounds, and our imperfect democracy is in danger of becoming even more flawed.

To fix this, to fix Washington, we need to do more than simply change whom we elect every two to six years. We need to substantially reform our governing practices and institutions, and we need to eliminate the excessive and corrupting influence that money, wealth, and disinformation have over our politics and government.

I am running because I want to help in advancing long-overdue legislative and constitutional reforms that will not only aid in strengthening our democracy and government, but also help in better protecting our rights and freedoms – including women’s reproductive rights and LGBTQ freedoms – and more effectively assist in addressing such critical issues as climate change, escalating gun violence, economic inequality, unaffordable housing and health care, and insufficient retirement security…

As examples, in the near-term, I want to help in: banning gerrymandering and eliminating Senate “holds” and filibusters – requiring social media companies to adhere to reasonable public interest rules – and ratifying the “For Our Freedom Amendment” to better regulate campaign contributions and spending.

And, over the longer-term, I want to help in: abolishing the Electoral College – imposing sensible term limits and retirement age requirements on legislators and judges – including Supreme Court justices – and, restructuring the U.S. House and Senate so that their allocation of power and policy decisions are more in-line with the American people’s interests, and not primarily the interests of the powerful few. 

While enacting these and the other reforms won’t be easy, none is especially radical, and given that most Americans are crying out for meaningful change, many could be realized if sufficient attention, reason, and effort are applied. 

What clearly isn’t working in Washington, is doing more of the same. Fighting over a half-dozen House and Senate seats, when substantive systems reform is what is really needed.

To succeed, we need to elect senators and representatives whose policy ambitions are greater than their own personal political aspirations. Senators and representatives who are more apt to listen to doctors, scientists, and economists, than they are to consultants, lobbyists, and wealthy donors. And senators and representatives who’ve grown impatient with the lack of sufficient change and progress, and who possess the courage to back bold, justifiably innovative solutions.

 

It’s no longer best practice to simply choose politicians who, like senators King and Collins, because of their don’t-rock-the-boat centrist personas are considered the most electable, but who generally fail to deliver any significant benefits beyond their own election.

We also need to do a better job of pushing back against the false narrative that both political parties are responsible for Washington’s dysfunction. For too long too many politicians, including Maine’s two U.S. senators, have benefited politically from this misleading narrative.

While we Democrats bear some responsibility for Washington’s failures, it’s nothing in comparison to that of the Republican Party. Which for over thirty years, has increasingly been unwilling to compromise and instead has chosen to employ extreme gerrymanders, government shutdowns, debt default threats, voter suppression laws, and other means to deceitfully win elections and prevent the enactment of sound, broadly popular government policies and reforms.  And it’s only getting worse!

Only by pushing back harder and electing senators and representatives who are willing to fight for the reforms needed to fix Washington are we likely to succeed in adequately:

- ensuring reproductive freedom.

- addressing climate change.

- passing Medicare for all who want and need it.

- reducing gun violence.

- protecting social security.

- enacting comprehensive immigration reform.

- providing universal pre-K and after-care.

- reducing economy-stifling wealth inequality.

- bolstering our nation’s security by strengthening diplomacy, nuclear arms controls, and strategic alliances; and

- raising sufficient revenues to balance our budgets and fund further investments in public education, infrastructure, and scientific research and development.

Now… regarding the small matter of my chances of winning in November and working alongside Maine’s two excellent representatives: Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden.

I am well aware of my underdog status.

However, having grown up in a working-class family in Maine and having served for more than 25 years in senior level government positions – managing complex, multi-million-dollar programs and operations, including initiatives to combat climate change, revitalize communities, protect public health and the environment, and advance peaceful democratic change in such conflict-torn countries as Cambodia, Haiti, Bosnia, and Kosovo – I believe that I have the broadest and most fitting experience of all the candidates competing to represent Maine in the United States Senate and the soundest ideas for tackling our most pressing problems.

I do not believe the Republican Party’s nominee, given her lack of governing experience and MAGA conspiracies disseminations, is a serious candidate.

And, while I appreciate that Senator King caucuses with Senate Democrats and that he’s a safe bet, he’s been too reticent to pursue the kind of reforms needed to truly fix Washington, and he’s unlikely to alter his overly cautious approach going forward.

Moreover, I believe that independent candidates have, on balance, undermined and continue to undermine our Party’s efforts to grow and succeed and should, therefore, not be supported.  At least – they should not be our Party’s first choice on Maine’s ranked choice ballot in November.

So, if you are as committed as I am, to taking on MAGA disinformation and intimidation and fighting for the reforms and policies needed to better protect our rights and environment - and significantly strengthen our democracy, government, and economy.

Join me at costelloforsenate.com and together we can fix what’s broken in Washington and ensure that all Americans, are provided with the security, education, job skills, healthcare, and other life enriching opportunities to thrive!

Together we can do this! Thank you.

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