GOV. JENNIFER GRANHOLM: Thank you Michigan first responders!
My fellow Americans, 231 years ago Boston was abuzz with rumblings of rebellion. Imagine: After heated citizen meetings at Faneuil Hall, and on a dark, icy December night, Paul Revere, Samuel Adams and many others, heave 342 cases of tea, splashing into the Boston Harbor, piling as high as the ships' decks. The Boston Tea Party was brewed by patriots who were becoming steeped in this dream of democracy: that average families mattered as much as kings, lords and governors.
With the same fierce love of the American ideals of freedom and opportunity as those patriots who started it all here in Boston, let us here and now launch the rebellion to choose a new president, John Kerry.
There is a Freedom Trail outside of this convention hall that winds you through the historic stops of the American Revolution, and there's a Freedom Trail in America that never stops.
That Freedom Trail has run through a depression, where a president -- unable to stand -- lifted America from its knees. It has taken us through war, where a generation of young men stared down tyranny, and came home to build the Great American middle class. It has taken us into a new frontier, where a young president called our nation to service -- a call so many answered, and so many still hear. And now, it runs again through Boston, where we are here to nominate a man who knows that the Freedom Trail's greatest opportunities yet lie before us.
We are here to nominate John Kerry to be the next president of the United States.
The most important thoroughfares of the American trail to freedom are those that lead to economic strength and prosperity. But for too many families across this country, it seems we have lost our way. We need a new direction and a new leader. I know, I know, sometimes it's hard for a man to stop and ask for directions. But if the person at the wheel refuses to ask for directions, folks, it's time for a new driver.
Let me tell you why. Americans are working harder and more productively than ever before. Yet we now face the serious prospect that for the first time in our history, our children will fare worse than their parents. Throughout the Midwest, newspapers blare the headline: "State bleeds factory jobs." In North Carolina they're textiles jobs. In Dallas and Denver and Des Moines, they're technology jobs.
In the last four years, we've lost 2.7 million manufacturing jobs. And, the jobs that our so-called recovery is creating are paying, on average, $9,000 less than the jobs we're losing.
In the end, American families are getting doubly squeezed. While income is down, expenses are up. The health of our nation is falling, while health care bills are rising. While good jobs for those without a college education are on the decline, tuition is on the rise. Workers have less time to get away from the job, and are spending more money filling up the tank. More and more people have to work two jobs just to replace the one good job they lost.
The bottom line: Middle-class Americans are being squeezed. Today, fathers and mothers who have worked loyally for a company for decades, fiercely patriotic, supporting our troops, proudly flying the flag outside their homes, crying when the twin towers crumbled, are now reading the papers and wondering: When is my job going to China? To Mexico, to India? Am I next? Who is standing up for me? John Kerry will.
And who will stand-up for the small-business owners who have poured their lives into the businesses that employ so many of our people? Who will stand up for those business owners who love their employees like family and are pained at the prospect of either offering lousy health plans or laying people off? Who will standup for those small business owners who proudly stamp "Made in America" on their products and want to keep it that way? John Kerry will.
But let me be clear: We want trade with other countries, robust trade, lots of it, we want it to be fair trade. John Kerry will fight to enforce our trade agreements. He will be as impassioned advancing our exports as defending our shores.
With a new president tenaciously committed to American opportunity, we can give American businesses what they desperately need: A chance to compete on a fair global playing field. And, with a tenacious president, we can give the citizens of this country what they desperately want: Good jobs. Good jobs.
I'm the governor of Michigan. Ours is a state that is driven by hard work and innovation. Teenagers who belted out harmonies in Detroit basements built Motown and created America's soundtrack. Kids who sketched Corvettes and T- Birds in school notebooks are today engineering the next generation of American cars. Our energy and our ideas found their outlet in great businesses that produced those jobs.
What's true for Michigan is true across America. Good jobs give dignity to our people and strength to our nation. John Kerry sees that. He sees that Americans who are squeezed are the same Americans who are bursting with patriotism, ready to conquer our country's latest challenges. And, John Kerry is not wringing his hands over what has been lost, but is instead bringing bold plans for what can be gained. He's got a specific plan to make health care more affordable for small businesses and to expand health coverage to 27 million more Americans - including every child in America.
Affordable health care is a critical part of the prescription for what ails our economy. It's time to fill that prescription. And health care, although important, is just a piece of John Kerry's plan to help our businesses to compete in this global world. Under his leadership, we will create 10 million jobs in the next four years.
My friends, we must demand a leader who will be as fiercely patriotic about our economic security as about our physical security. And that leader's name is John Kerry. Give us this leader, driven to propel those economic breakthroughs that still lie on the horizon, on the frontiers of the 21st century. Give us this leader with imagination and brilliance and an urgency to invest in us, in our future, in our infrastructure, in our emerging technologies, and in our children.
Give us this leader who is impatient to support research and science and creativity and entrepreneurs, who will push America to soar to new heights. Give us John Kerry! Give us John Edwards! This New England patriot knows that America responds to challenge with greatness.
Under his leadership Americans won't just walk the next mile of the Freedom Trail. We shall run and never tire. Our workers and our businesses will out-think, out-work, and out-pace any country on the map.
President Clinton's great speech the other night made me think about our revolutionary beginnings. And how those times were much like our own. The people feared attack, yet they were nurturing incredible dreams, full of possibilities, in a new and united country. Such times demanded courageous leadership, and at one critical moment Paul Revere rose and he said: "Send me."
For the past 12 months John Kerry, like Paul Revere has been waking up America, calling us forth, announcing a new dawn in the American day.
Are you ready to answer the call? Then, let us wake our neighbors. Let us make the campaign trail our Freedom Trail. And let us follow that trail, all the way to the voting booth and "Kerry" this nation forward.