A year ago today, I stepped into West Philadelphia at 6:00 am to shake the hands of passersby and say “thank you.” The night before, I had not won the Senate seat we had campaigned for in Pennsylvania. Instead, I won something that inspired and humbled me even more: the support and beliefs of so many. I don’t think that there is anything like a campaign in the company of Americans that can give one such warm memories of who we are, from our boundless aspirations to our wonderful American character. I came away convinced more than ever about the greatness of us, of America. Therefore, since that morning in Philadelphia, I spent the past year saying “thank you” for what you gave me.
We revisited our 67 counties of Pennsylvania to see our volunteers – and others showed up. We crisscrossed the Commonwealth again to thank as many of our contributors as we could touch. Then, from Boston to Washington and Florida, Chicago to Texas, we moved west through Nevada to California, ending the trail in Seattle this past month. Whether meetings in cities and counties or numerous phone calls – or visits to hundreds of the congregations of faith that had welcomed me – I experienced once more what drove me to serve: our dream of America. From the man who called out from a passing trash truck, “Hey, Joe, we’ve got your back,” to the veteran who wrote, “Keep your bow to the wind and don’t take any water over your smokestack,” I will always carry with me the memory of your dreams, for it was what I also loved in the U.S. military – Americans striving for their own achievement, but always with a sense of being part of a greater effort.
What’s next? I will continue to discuss and speak out on the issues that confront us, building upon efforts of the past year. Just some of them are:
*Education visits – elementary through college – and projects for at-risk youth
*Chambers of Commerce and businesses and workforce training efforts
*Forums on energy and the environment, including on the Marcellus Shale, and health care reform
*And veterans…before speaking this Veterans Day in Johnstown, PA, I will visit a maximum security prison as I did last year to also thank our veterans there; how well we work to prevent more from incarceration or homelessness with proper treatment and assistance also remains my focus
Where will this lead? I have been fortunate to have the love of a wonderful wife, Susan, who blessed me this past year with time to be at home with my daughter, Alex, now ten and going on twenty-two! In the months to come I will begin to find a way to serve again – in what form I don’t yet know. But I do know that I owe you for giving me and my family the opportunity to earn your trust. I will not let you down in determining how I will now keep it.
In the meantime, I would like to keep you periodically updated on this effort…thank you so very much!