2.12.2005

Dean Is Now Our Leader

Remarks by Governor Howard Dean Accepting the Chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee

I. INTRODUCTION/ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

If you told me one year ago that I'd be standing here today, as your choice for Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, I wouldn't have believed you. And neither would have a lot of other people.

But let me say that standing here with the opportunity to lead this Party, is a great honor.

I am thankful.

I am humbled.

And I'm ready to get to work.

This was the first race for DNC chairman truly driven by the grassroots of this Party. And so, I want you to know this is not my chairmanship, this is our chairmanship.

You have given me an enormous responsibility. But it is a responsibility we share.

We can change this Party… but only by working together and competing in all 50 states. We can change this Party… but only by working together and becoming a national party again. We can change this Party… but only by working together at thelocal level.

If we want to win nationally, we have to win locally.

With your help, I am certain that today will not mark the end of the process of selecting a DNC chair. Today will be the beginning of the reemergence of the Democratic Party.

We have a lot of work to do.

But we have a bright future… exemplified by the other candidates who joined me in this race. They are all great Democrats.

I want to thank Terry McAuliffe. He has given this party so much. Not to mention every waking day of the past four years as our Chairman.
He has also given us something else — a Party in strong financial shape, with the infrastructure to meet the challenges of the future. That is no small gift. Thank you, Terry McAuliffe.

I also want to thank my family. I wouldn't be here without their support, or their belief in a more fair and just America.

I especially want to thank my wife, Judy, for her patience and her love. She's here with me today.

We all know that we're the party of the big tent and new ideas.

We know that we're the party for young Americans looking for a government that speaks to them… we know that we're the party for working Americans desperate for a government that looks out for them… and we know that we're the party for older Americans and veterans and members of the Armed Services expecting and deserving a government that honors them.

And we know that no matter where you live or who you are, what you look like or how you worship, ours is the diverse party that welcomes you.

But right now, as important as all of that is… it is not enough. We have to move forward. We cannot win if all we are is against the current President.

Republicans wandered around in the political wilderness for 40 years before they took back Congress. But the reason we lost control is that we forgot why we were entrusted with control to begin with.

The American people can't afford to wait for 40 years for us to put Washington back to work for them.

It can't take us that long.

And it won't take us that long… not if we stand up for what we believe in… organize at the local level… and recognize that this Party's strength doesn't come from the consultants down, it comes from grassroots up.

Read the rest of the speech here.

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