The following is the transcript of the campaign speech that I gave at our campaign kick-off event.
"I’d like to thank all of you for making the trip up here. It’s a rare bird that flies north for the winter.
So, why are you here? It's clearly not the weather. Nor really because of the party. Not even for me. It's you. You're all here, because of the desire you share to be around each other. Because there are some true heroes here. I’ve never really had heroes before this year. But now I do, and one of those people, Jay Bhattacharya, is here today. Without the bravery of people like Jay, Martin, Sunetra, and the original cardigan-clad maverick, himself, Anders Tegnell, I’m not sure any of us would be standing here today. We might have found ourselves, like people all over the globe, locked down once more, waiting for permission from our government to see friends and family again. Without these people’s willingness to stand up for what they know to be right, to bear defamation, and concerted efforts to destroy their careers and their lives, we would all be in a much darker place. But it’s not just these people who are heroes. People like Jay are the tip of the spear. But a spear is useless without a motive force behind it. We are the force behind that spear. As much as we all would have been lost without the bravery of Jay and other high profile people like him, they would be lost without the daily bravery and small acts of heroism of millions of people like us.
We’re all here today, because we know we’re at a crossroads. In one direction is the New normal, and in the other, actual normal. We’re here, because we’re choosing to go back to normal, to real normal. We’ve had a taste of the new normal, and we don’t like it. We don’t want a normal where governments make arbitrary decisions about which business fail, and which thrive. We don’t want a normal where people are granted or denied employment based on medical status. We don’t want a normal with high unemployment, but where businesses still can’t find workers. We don’t want a normal where children and servers are masked, while their parents and patrons are not. And we don’t want a normal where school is not essential. No. We’re done with this new normal. It’s time to go back to normal.
But the only way we are going to get back to normal, is if we can send a message to Washington. We need to make it crystal clear to the lawmakers in Washington, and at every level of government that we are tired of their failed policies, and even more so, that we are tired of being BLAMED for the failure of those policies.
They know their policies have failed. And not just failed, but failed catastrophically. Here in Massachusetts, because we have embraced these policies with such gusto, we have also suffered the greatest costs. The average child in Massachusetts got just 9 weeks of in-person learning last year. In other parts of the country—like Florida—kids got the full 40 weeks—4 times more. And it wasn’t just Florida. In half of the country, kids were educated, and in the other half--the half where they embraced these terrible policies--they weren't. Our unemployment rate here in Massachusetts went from 2.8%--one of the lowest in the nation--to a pandemic average of 9.1%. That amounts to hundreds of thousands of people who lost their livelihoods--7th worst, nationally. Even now, while other states are returning to normal, we're sliding further into this awful new normal. The last two months, we have the unique “honor” to be the only state whose unemployment rate is once again going up--not down. In my lifetime, Massachusetts has never been near the bottom for any meaningful metric. Yet now we find ourselves scraping the bottom for some of the very most important, like unemployment, and access to education. Worst of all, NONE of these terrible costs has been offset by a single benefit. Despite all of this, our COVID death rate still stands at 11th highest in the nation—despite being one of the healthiest, wealthiest states in this nation.
Our leaders know this. And because they know this, they keep us scared. Only in the fog of fear could we ever be blinded to the costs of these ineffective policies. While much of the nation has rejected this new normal, here in the northeast, we haven’t. We’re sliding deeper into it, with the apathy of the abused.
This is why I am running. I don’t accept this new normal. It's not my normal, and it will never be my children’s normal. This is what this election is about. Choosing our normal. On one side, we have a new normal defined by top-down control, maintained by censorship, fear, and division. Or, we can go back to normal, a normal where we make our own decisions, and live with the consequences. A normal where our government answers to us, rather than one where we answer to our government. A normal where we prioritize children’s well-being over adult fear. A normal where we embrace the American ideals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of HAPPINESS. That is my normal. And I know it is yours, too.
This is why I am running. And it’s why you are here. You’re not here because you support me. You’re here because I support YOU. You’re here because this run is a megaphone through which YOU will make YOUR voices heard. It’s a candidacy through which YOU will reclaim normal for yourselves, and for your children. This campaign isn’t about me, it’s about US. What we’re going to do is to harness the power of us. And when we do that, we WILL prevail.
And when we prevail, we’re going to do three things.
We’re going to hypercharge school choice.
We’re going to defang the bureaucracy—especially the CDC.
And we’re going to re-affirm our commitment to free speech, by breaking up the un-holy alliance between Big Tech and government.
Every person here is a key node in the network that we're going to build to persuade our neighbors; one living room at a time, we're going to persuade them to join us arm-in-arm as we start the journey back to normal."