Why shouldn’t the United States have a female leader? Many countries have had female prime ministers and presidents, think Margaret Thatcher, Indira Gandhi, Mary Robinson and Gro Harlen Bruntland to name a distinguished few. One of the most satisfying aspects of this particular campaign has been the number of young women who approach me to say that my running has changed their vision for their own life possibilities. Does there need to be a stronger reason than that?
I have the experience, the ability and the ideas to heal and renew America. In all of my public service, I have broken down barriers, built bridges and brought people together to achieve solutions that put the public interest first.
As a young federal prosecutor, I won a Justice Department award for my work to put an end to exploitation in housing policy. As a state representative, I fought for education, and passed laws to create the first local school councils and agriculture schools in Illinois. As a county executive, I worked with organized labor to improve conditions for the employees and the public. As a United States Senator, and as the first woman to serve on the Finance Committee, I passed laws for women’s pension equity, and for environmental remediating and alternative energy, for school modernization and restoration of the interest deduction for college loans. As Ambassador, I was credited with improving relations on behalf of the United States.
My entire public life has been characterized by problem solving with new ideas that are as practical as they are innovative.
I am dedicated to building partnerships for peace, prosperity and progress based on new ideas that are as practical as they are innovative. These partnerships will help us shape an American renaissance and renewal in the best traditions of our country.
Partnerships for peace will bring a real end to this Iraqi war, and bring our troops home with honor. Americans don’t cut and run, and so we have to see this misadventure through to a noble conclusion. The sacrifice of those who lost their lives in the sands of Iraq will not be forgotten, but neither will the folly of preemptive war. Partnerships for peace will build on the good will that we had after Sept. 11, and engage our allies to help us leave Iraq better than we found it.
Partnerships for peace will give our international institutions new support for global collaborations to fight crime and terrorism, poverty and disease. Our foreign policy will follow our values, and serve the interests of the American people.
Trade should create opportunity to share our values, not lose our jobs. We can engage our private sector in ways that will bolster their bottom line, stem job hemorrhage at home and help stop the exploitation of workers and the environment around the world. I want to forge partnerships for prosperity that will explore new policies to stop our nations’ slide toward embedded wealth, entrenched poverty, and a shrinking middle class.
I believe in fiscal responsibility and fighting for social justice. Partnerships for prosperity give us opportunity to do good and do well simultaneously. We will fight the greedy—whose excesses and crimes have threatened our capital markets and undermined confidence in our economy. We will help the needy—whether in childhood or retirement, in sickness or despair.
Achieving a balanced budget again will help restore confidence in our policymakers’ ability to protect our nation’s economic health. This administration has no right to make irresponsible spending decisions that simply shift the payment burden onto those least able to pay, or to state and local governments, or, worse still, to our children and grandchildren.
Without spending a dime more than we already pay, we can provide health security that emphasizes wellness, restores the provider/patient relationship and maintains the quality of care Americans have every right to expect. Embracing a single payer system of health insurance that does not depend on employment will not only provide universal coverage, but boost our international competitiveness, stimulate our economy at home and let workers keep more of their pay.
Education reform that relieves the burden on local property taxpayers, while empowering parents and teachers to pursue excellence and innovation is an opportunity for a partnership for prosperity that we cannot afford to ignore if we are to keep our country strong. The cornerstone of the American dream of opportunity is education—it is the way our workforce is prepared to engage the rest of the world. Education is not just a privatebenefit, but a public good as well, and our national interest is bound up in providing quality public education for every child.
We can engage in partnerships for prosperity to build infrastructure, as well. Especially in the wake of the recent events, storms and blackouts and other calamities, we all know that our foundations—for energy, for water, for transportation—are in need of restoration. By bringing together national, state and local governments with the private sector, including colleges and universities and non-governmental organizations, we can spark a building boom that will unleash innovation and technology transfers and create new industries and new wealth. Private industry will give us the benefit of the best America has to offer, and when we make government a partner in our country’s renovation, we will create jobs and opportunity and hope for all Americans.
As President, I will give you an America as good as its promise. I will reach out to bring us together to create an American renaissance, revival and renewal. I am uniquely qualified to do the job of president, and I offer the clearest alternative to this current administration, whose only new idea has been preemptive war and a huge new bureaucracy. I can fix the mess they have created, because I am practical, I am not afraid of partnerships and I am committed to making the world better for our children. By tapping the talent, the ideas, and the capacity that our whole society has to offer, we will expand the probability of succeeding together.
America is at a tipping point; if we stay the course we are on, we won’t recognize this country five years from now. But if we shift gears, try another way, tap some of the talent that has been relegated to the sidelines of leadership, we can heal and renew and save our country.
The time has come to meet the challenge of our founders’ vision, and I am prepared to fight for all of you to revive the American dream of freedom and opportunity. When I am president we will break down barriers. We will rebuild and restore our country. And together we will give ourselves the greatest gift of all: an America we can be proud of. That is why I am in this race to win.
Carol Moseley Braun is former U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand and a candidate for U.S. president. She will be appearing at “Conversations with the Candidates” in Kirkland House at 4:30 p.m. and on “Hardball” at the Institute of Politics at 6 p.m. this evening.