I feel fortunate to be standing on this stage tonight. I never could’ve imagined it growing up. I was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, the youngest of four girls, including my oldest sister, Lisa, who has special needs. My mom was a special education teacher, and my dad worked on the Army base. We weren’t wealthy, but we were determined to succeed.
In my family, there was one cardinal priority–education. College was not an option; it was mandatory. So even though we didn’t have a lot of money, we made it work. I signed up for financial aid, Pell Grants, work study, anything I could. Just like our president and first lady, I took out loans to pay for school. Then I changed oil in a mechanic shop, flipped burgers at Wendy’s, taught aerobics and worked on campus to pay them back.
Like a lot of you, I did whatever it took and, four years later, I got my degree. More importantly, I got a key to American opportunity. That’s who we are–a nation that rewards ambition with opportunity. Where hard work can lead to success, no matter where you start. Traveling the country for the president, I see young Americans of every background fighting to succeed. They’re optimistic, ambitious, hardworking. But they also want to know that their hard work will pay off.
We’re lucky our president understands the value of American opportunity, because he’s lived it! And he’s fighting to help others achieve it. He’s fighting to make college more affordable! He’s cut taxes for every working American. He’s helping small businesses get loans and has cut their taxes eighteen times. Eighteen times!
That’s important–small businesses create two out of every three new jobs in America. It’s the suburban dad who realizes his neighborhood needs a dry cleaner. It’s the Latina nurse whose block needs a health clinic–and she knows she’s the one to open it! It’s the high school sophomore who is building Facebook’s competitor. They are the entrepreneurs driving the American economy, not Mitt Romney‘s outsourcing pioneers. He would raise taxes on middle-class families to cut his own–and mine. That’s not who we are as a nation, and here’s why: The Eva Longoria who worked at Wendy’s flipping burgers–she needed a tax break. But the Eva Longoria who works on movie sets does not.
We face a choice this election. President Obama is fighting for changes that grow the economy from the middle out and help all Americans succeed–jobs, education, health reform, the DREAM Act, equal pay for women. He is moving us forward with opportunity today for prosperity tomorrow. Mitt Romney wants to take us back to yesterday.
But America was built by optimists. Optimists like my friend Amanda, who recently started a small business. When she went to buy her website address–her first and last name–she found that someone already owned it, but wasn’t using it. So my friend emailed the owner of the site to ask if she could buy it. The owner wrote back.
She is a 13-year-old girl who shares Amanda’s name, and politely explained that she could not give up the website. Why? Because the younger Amanda plans to be president of the United States, and she’s going to need the website for her campaign.
Here is a girl who at 13 years old firmly believes she can build her American dream. And here’s a president who’s building an America where that dream is possible. Let’s fight for the American dream! Amanda’s, yours, mine, all of ours! We know how to do that. We know what we need to do. Let’s re-elect President Obama!
SOURCE 2012 Democratic National Convention Committee