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[POLITICS] Gary Locke - 1st Chinese American Governor (Mainland)

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  • madchinaman
    BIOGRAPHY: GOLDSEA http://www.geocities.com/kin712hk/eng/interview/inter4_1.htm What if Gary Locke had never gone to Yale, never gotten a law degree and never
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 7 1:49 AM
      BIOGRAPHY:
      GOLDSEA
      http://www.geocities.com/kin712hk/eng/interview/inter4_1.htm


      What if Gary Locke had never gone to Yale, never gotten a law degree
      and never entered politics? He might have been whistling happily
      through his days as an electrician or plumber. He's one of those
      guys who loves nothing better than fixing things that don't work
      right. Fortunately for the people of Washington State, Locke heeded
      the call of public service and got himself elected governor in 1996,
      overcoming intense Republican efforts to paint him as a bleeding-
      heart liberal.

      Once in office he didn't disappoint the voters who saw him as a
      pragmatic centrist with progressive ideas. During his first term as
      governor Gary Locke instituted innovative reforms that would
      ultimately cut welfare rolls by 44%, saving enough tax dollars to
      revamp a failing educational system into the nation's fourth best.
      By the end of his first term Gary Locke's approval rating had soared
      to 70%, the highest in a quarter century. In 2000 the Republicans
      threw up their hands in despair and Locke won reelection by a
      historic landslide.
      Unfortunately, the start of Locke's second term coincided with the
      tech crash and the ensuing economic slump. It hit tech-dependent
      Washington especially hard. The governor's approval rating plunged
      to 29%. In the two hardscrabble years since, Gary Locke rolled up
      his sleeves and showed that he's no fair-weather leader. Even during
      the grimmest days he kept pushing his budget-cutting and education
      reform agendas. He went on trade missions to help local companies
      sell more overseas.

      By early 2003 Locke had gained enough national stature to be picked
      to deliver the Democratic response to President Bush's State of the
      Union Address. When summer arrived the economy was on the mend and
      Gary Locke was looking golden for another term. That was when he
      showed that his mantra about giving kids a good start applied to his
      own by announcing that he would not seek a third term. He and wife
      Mona wanted to provide their two grade-schoolers a more "normal"
      family life back in their Seattle home.

      When we pressed him, Locke left open the possibility of returning to
      politics at the national level if he were drafted into service as,
      say, a cabinet secretary or a running mate for a presidential
      contender. He couched it in terms of his duty to answer the call to
      ¡§serve my country¡¨. His likely response can best be judged by a
      three-decade political career that has consistently put public
      service ahead of private interests.

      Locke's ties to Washington go back to a paternal grandfather who had
      immigrated to Olympia at the turn of the century and worked as a
      houseboy before returning to China to start a family. His son James
      returned to Washington and fought under General Patton. Gary was
      born January 21, 1950 in a Seattle veterans public housing project
      called Yesler Terrace.

      Gary worked at his father's grocery store but earned the rank of
      Eagle Scout and graduated with honors from Franklin High in 1968. He
      worked his way through Yale, earning a poli sci degree in 1972.
      Three years later he got a J.D. from Boston University Law School
      and became a King County deputy prosecutor. In early 1981 he took
      off for five months to work as an attorney for the state
      legislature. That experience opened Locke's eyes to the potential
      for public service through elected office.

      His crime-fighting record helped him win a state house seat in 1982.
      Locke's star rose rapidly through hard work on the judiciary and
      appropriations committees. He chaired the latter from 1988 until
      1993 when he was elected chief executive of King County. That office
      gave Gary Locke a chance to prove his knack for upgrading social
      services while enforcing fiscal discipline. Locke might have stayed
      in that job several years longer but for a sex scandal that prompted
      popular Democratic governor Mike Lowry not to seek a second term
      despite a likely victory. Locke stepped into the breach.

      Locke's popularity is boosted by his pretty wife, the former Mona
      Lee. Before their marriage in October of 1994 she was a news
      reporter at Seattle's KING-TV. She gave birth to daughter Emily in
      1997, then son Dylan in 1999. As First Lady Mona has won raves by
      championing the causes of early learning and quality childcare.

      Gary Locke has never publicly expressed interest in running for
      national office. Supporters see no other progression for the
      lifetime civil servant. They dismiss the race factor by citing the
      fact that only about 6% of Washington voters are Asian, not very
      different from the 4% figure nationally. Some even feel that Locke's
      prospects for winning the presidency are better than that of any
      other minority politician. They cite his cleancut image combined
      with a sterling track record at the helm -- not to mention the
      likely support of the world's biggest software company: Bill Gates
      has shown himself to be a staunch supporter and friend.

      Getting slotted into one of Governor Locke's crowded days is like
      hitting a moving target. When at last our call was put all the way
      through to the man himself, we were caught a bit off guard by
      Locke's voice. It is youthful and vibrant. The wide-open friendly
      tone signals that we are about to have a conversation free from
      stiffness and formality. Yet he resists glibness. Time and again
      Locke eschews soundbite answers to offer thoughtful analyses of
      problems and solutions. At times he sounds like a policy wonk -- a
      criticism to which he's no stranger. The interview leaves us with
      the distinct impression that the Governor spends his days mired knee-
      deep in issues instead of staying high and dry in white shoes. We
      are also pleasantly surprised to find that Gary Locke is no less
      willing to delve into how he met and married Mona, or his assessment
      of an Asian American's chances in running for President of the
      United States, or his relationship with Bill Gates.

      GS: What was the initial impulse that made you give up the office of
      Chief Executive of King County to seek the Governor's office in
      1996?
      GL: Having been in Olympia and worked on so many issues, especially
      education issues and [having been] chairman of the budget-writing
      committee in the legislature, I just came to understand the power of
      the Governor. I've always been interested in actual management,
      administration. It's one thing for the legislative body to pass
      policy but it's how you administer and implement that policy with
      all the latitude that you have that can make all the difference
      between success and mediocrity in the policy. That's why when I left
      the legislature I wanted to get into administration. I was urged to
      run for county exec and really enjoyed that, had great success
      there. Nationally acclaimed programs, innovations. Suddenly Governor
      Lowry announced that he's not going to seek a second term so I was
      encouraged by so many friends and people from different interests to
      run for governor. Mona and I looked at it. We didn't have any
      children at the time. We had been married for a year and a half. We
      said, ¡§Wow, this is the time to pursue that dream of running for
      governor because if an opportunity presented itself five or six
      years later, we might have a family and it would be very hard on a
      family with young kids to run for governor.¡¨ So it was the right
      time for us.

      GS: As you were entering the race did you have a vision of what you
      wanted to achieve, what kind of changes you wanted to implement?
      GL: Really focusing on education issues, focusing on greater
      efficiency in government. The state of Washington is very unique.
      The state is responsible for 75% of the funding for every local
      school district. Not the community but the state is the primary
      founder of our schools. We subsidize the cost of educating our
      students. Our colleges and universities are state colleges and
      universities. Tuition pays a small fraction of the actual cost of
      educating the students. We wanted to get more students into our
      colleges and universities. To improve the quality of education from
      reducing class sizes to raising academic achievement, we had to find
      the money, not just from the growth of the economy, but also through
      efficiencies in other aspects of government. I'm glad to say that in
      my several years as governor our state has been twice ranked among
      the top 5 [best] managed states in America. Out of the 5 times that
      the award has been given -- it's not given every year -- the state
      of Washington each time has been declared the number one digital
      state government in terms of the use of technology to streamline and
      improve services in government.


      GS: How would you grade yourself in reaching the goals you had when
      you took office?
      GL: That was part of the dilemma of not seeking a third term.
      There's so much more to do, so much more to be done, especially
      since the down economy has really kind of stymied made it very
      difficult for us to accomplish many of the things that we wanted to
      do. Forty-seven states in America have huge budget problems. Look at
      the problem of California, even Oregon to the south of us. Many mid-
      west states are in worse financial difficulty than the state of
      Washington. We still have that significant deficit and yet we were
      still able to provide additional money to help schools reduce their
      class sizes, still increased enrollments, still provided more money
      for scholarships and financial aid. Not as much as a lot of the
      advocates would have liked, but we were still able to move forward
      albeit at a slower pace. We have accomplished a lot and
      unfortunately in this tough tough economy we've had to make some
      cuts in programs or just focus on priorities. That has made it
      harder for us to achieve all that we were hoping to.

      GS: An A for effort?
      GL: If you look at the context that we were operating in terms of
      the 47 states having to make huge cuts in programs and the huge
      national recession brought on by September 11 and the fact that the
      Boeing company laid off 25,000 people just in the Seattle area in
      one year, and the implosion of the dot-com industry and the downturn
      in telecommunications and the high unemployment rate to begin with,
      I think we've done a remarkable job. It's how we respond to the
      crisis and all the curves that have been thrown our way, including
      how I've managed to move ahead even though we've had a Republican-
      controlled state House and Senate. Later on we had a tie between the
      Republicans and the Democrats. If you look at all the circumstances
      in which we had to operate, we've made incredible progress
      notwithstanding those impediments.

      GS: How do you view Arnold Schwarzenegger in terms of the
      significance to the nation's political climate? Even for
      Washington's own next election?
      GL: I think it shows how much people are concerned about the economy
      and how people are concerned about domestic bread-and-butter issues.
      People are very upset that electricity rates have skyrocketed.
      People are very concerned about the downsizing, the mergers and
      acquisitions and layoffs that have occurred. I'm all in favor of
      rebuilding Iraq but how about rebuilding America?

      GS: Do you see it as a movement?
      GL: Instead of giving a trillion dollar tax cut that primarily
      benefits the most wealthy Americans, why not take just a fraction of
      those trillion dollars and provide true prescription drug coverage
      to all seniors. How about taking a fraction of that to create jobs
      by putting money into public highway construction and mass-transit
      construction and renovation and repairs of our colleges and
      universities and matching money for local school districts to repair
      and expand their public schools? That would pump so much money into
      the economy, putting millions people to work and providing good
      family-wage jobs and at the same time building and repairing the
      things that have to be done sooner or later.

      GS: Do you think Arnold Schwarzenegger's election signifies more a
      desire to fix the economy than a shift toward the policies that
      Republicans are known to espouse?
      GL: Look at Arnold Schwarzenegger -- he's pro-choice, in support of
      affirmative action...

      GS: He's definitely a social liberal or a center-of-the-roader
      but...
      GL: ...he's pro-gay rights, pro-choice and he's in support of more
      controls on guns.

      GS: How about in terms of economics? He seems to be focusing on
      cutting taxes to encourage more businesses to locate in California.
      You don't see that as a trend that many overtake Washington?
      GL: That's very different than giving billionaires a tax breaks.
      Even the democratic governors have been calling for targeted tax
      relief to help stimulate business growth and expansion. I said that
      in my response to President Bush's State of the Union Address.
      Targeted tax cuts for working families as well as business
      investment. We're doing that in the state of Washington. Democrats
      in the state of Washington in my administration have been supporting
      targeted tax relief and tax incentives for business growth to create
      family-wage jobs for everyday people. But to do that you don't need
      to give the billionaires of the country, the wealthiest 1% of the
      population, a trillion dollars in tax cuts. And they get more tax
      relief than the other 90% of Americans combined. Even the
      administration's own officials and even the research arm of congress
      concede that this trillion-dollar tax cut for the super wealthy does
      not create more jobs.

      GS: So you don't see any grounds for a movement toward having a
      Republican governor in the next election?
      GL: No.

      GS: One thing that no one disputes is your success with the
      educational system. It's ranked number four in the country now. What
      was the key to your success in getting the resources directed toward
      education at a time when there are many competing demands.
      GL: My mantra is that education is the great equalizer in our
      society. Regardless of your income level your ethnicity, your
      gender, with quality education we're all on a more level playing
      field. Does America stand for freedom, hope, opportunity? How do you
      achieve that? With quality education! And I keep saying that we want
      the young people at the state of Washington to have first crack at
      the jobs that are being made available by Washington employers.
      Don't we want Washington companies to hire Washingtonians first? If
      our kids aren't educated, then those Washington companies will
      recruit people from outside the state of Washington while our kids
      go unemployed. That makes no sense. We've gotta focus on education,
      we've gotta focus on giving our kids the tools they need to realize
      their dreams. How can you go around denying our kids opportunities
      to be whatever they want to be?

      GS: Was it your passion in making that argument that allowed you to
      get the resources directed toward education?
      GL: Especially when we had huge welfare savings in the first few
      years of my administration because we did such an incredible job of
      transforming our welfare system. We didn't kick people off welfare,
      we really focused on job training and retraining and helping people
      find jobs. Even after they found a job we focused on helping them
      get even better-paying jobs and getting more training. We constantly
      got all these awards for being number one in our country in welfare
      reform. We offer childcare, subsidized childcare. We're ranked
      number one in affordability and access to subsidized childcare.
      That subsidized childcare is not just to people on public
      assistance but to all low-wage workers. We don't say, ¡§As soon as
      you leave public assistance, you don't get any benefits.¡¨ That's
      unfair. That discriminates against people who are just above poverty
      level, who are struggling just as hard. And we shouldn't just give
      all the benefits to people on public assistance. It should be based
      on income. So we put a lot of money into childcare, job training and
      retraining. Because of that our welfare rolls dropped dramatically.
      We took the savings and put it into education, saying that if we can
      educate a lot of our kids so they get good paying jobs, they won't
      really need to go on public assistance.

      GS: So your success with public education was powered by your
      success in cutting welfare costs?
      GL: And just taking whatever additional money was flowing into the
      state because of a booming economy and putting it into education as
      well.

      GS: Did you have much opposition to devoting so much resources to
      pumping up the educational system?
      GL: There were people who resisted some of our efforts. So like on
      finding money for reducing class size, we helped write an initiative
      that took it to the people, and the people overwhelmingly supported
      it.

      GS: What was the most difficult aspect of being governor?
      GL: The complexity of the issues -- so many different issues that we
      had to deal with. When I was chairman of the budget writing
      committee or in the legislature I was only on one committee or two
      committees or a limited number of committees, depending on which
      year. I could really just specialize on those areas. As governor you
      gotta almost be on top of everything, and you're constantly moving
      from one issue to another -- though we had our core issues that we
      always kept uppermost like education and government efficiency and
      welfare reform and job creation.

      GS: Were there any pleasant surprises?
      GL: I just really loved going out and and meeting people and
      visiting towns and communities all across the state.

      GS: Even as of June everyone was expecting you to seek a third term.
      Recreate for us how you reached the decision not to run again.
      GL: Well, my wife and I promised ourselves that we would take a hard
      look at our future plans after our legislature was all done. We went
      off for a weekend and we just thought about it. We've been doing
      this for six and a half years, two terms would be eight years. Our
      kids were at an age that we really felt that we wanted to focus on
      them. There was lot more to do, but talking with other governors,
      even after three terms there will always be unfinished business. But
      our decision was what's really best for the family. Our kids are
      very young.
      While we've been down in Olympia, we split our weekends. We
      spent a lot of time in Seattle where we still have a family house.
      So it was very very hard because all the Republican leaders in the
      state were predicting that I would easily win reelection. There was
      no announced candidate against me. Even now two or three months
      after I announced that I'm not going to seek a third term, they
      still don't have a republican candidate to run for governor. Nothing
      is ever easy, nothing is ever guaranteed, but we're walking away
      from what even the Republicans were saying would be a definite third
      term. That was hard.
      Public policy and politics have been a part of my being for the
      last 20 years. Whether as a state legislator or county executive.
      And now as governor I very much enjoy public policy analysis and
      problem-solving and trying to move our state into a better future.
      Very proud of things we've embarked upon but also know there's much
      more to be done. So I leave with that bit of regret that we haven't
      been able to accomplish as much as we had hoped for and there's
      still things we'd love to tackle. But in the end governors come and
      go but your kids growing up in this tender special age, that's once
      in a lifetime.

      GS: Did you consult with anyone other than Mona?
      GL: There were a lot of people talking to us, all in fact urging us
      to run for a third term.

      GS: But on that weekend...
      GL: The decision-making was solely Mona and myself.

      GS: Who was more in favor of leaving?
      GL: We both had different thoughts on it. We both saw the pluses and
      minuses. We each had pluses and minuses in terms of a third term or
      no third term. So it really truly was a mutual decision. In the end
      Mona said whatever I decide, she would support.

      GS: What was the most difficult aspect of being governor?
      GL: The complexity of the issues -- so many different issues that we
      had to deal with. When I was chairman of the budget writing
      committee or in the legislature I was only on one committee or two
      committees or a limited number of committees, depending on which
      year. I could really just specialize on those areas. As governor you
      gotta almost be on top of everything, and you're constantly moving
      from one issue to another -- though we had our core issues that we
      always kept uppermost like education and government efficiency and
      welfare reform and job creation.

      GS: Were there any pleasant surprises?
      GL: I just really loved going out and and meeting people and
      visiting towns and communities all across the state.

      GS: Even as of June everyone was expecting you to seek a third term.
      Recreate for us how you reached the decision not to run again.
      GL: Well, my wife and I promised ourselves that we would take a hard
      look at our future plans after our legislature was all done. We went
      off for a weekend and we just thought about it. We've been doing
      this for six and a half years, two terms would be eight years. Our
      kids were at an age that we really felt that we wanted to focus on
      them. There was lot more to do, but talking with other governors,
      even after three terms there will always be unfinished business. But
      our decision was what's really best for the family. Our kids are
      very young.
      While we've been down in Olympia, we split our weekends. We
      spent a lot of time in Seattle where we still have a family house.
      So it was very very hard because all the Republican leaders in the
      state were predicting that I would easily win reelection. There was
      no announced candidate against me. Even now two or three months
      after I announced that I'm not going to seek a third term, they
      still don't have a republican candidate to run for governor. Nothing
      is ever easy, nothing is ever guaranteed, but we're walking away
      from what even the Republicans were saying would be a definite third
      term. That was hard.
      Public policy and politics have been a part of my being for the
      last 20 years. Whether as a state legislator or county executive.
      And now as governor I very much enjoy public policy analysis and
      problem-solving and trying to move our state into a better future.
      Very proud of things we've embarked upon but also know there's much
      more to be done. So I leave with that bit of regret that we haven't
      been able to accomplish as much as we had hoped for and there's
      still things we'd love to tackle. But in the end governors come and
      go but your kids growing up in this tender special age, that's once
      in a lifetime.

      GS: Did you consult with anyone other than Mona?
      GL: There were a lot of people talking to us, all in fact urging us
      to run for a third term.

      GS: But on that weekend...
      GL: The decision-making was solely Mona and myself.

      GS: Who was more in favor of leaving?
      GL: We both had different thoughts on it. We both saw the pluses and
      minuses. We each had pluses and minuses in terms of a third term or
      no third term. So it really truly was a mutual decision. In the end
      Mona said whatever I decide, she would support.

      GS: Why did you announce the decision so early? It gives Republicans
      more time to come up with a candidate.
      GL: If we had decided among ourselves, just the two of us, that we
      were not going to seek a third term, we would then have spent the
      summer raising money for a reelection effort. If we are not going to
      seek reelection, we could not in good conscience continue to have
      fundraisers. Second of all, in our state of Washington, even if we
      announced the decision in October not to run, having made the
      decision earlier, that would not be fair to Democrats who want to
      run for governor. For instance our attorney general who is a very
      very dear friend of mine who wants to run for governor said she
      would run if I was not going to run.

      GS: She's the one you're endorsing?
      GL: I'm not endorsing anyone just yet, but I'm a big fan of hers and
      she's a great attorney general and she's done great things for our
      state. In our state we have a law that prohibits anyone in the
      legislature or anyone who holds a statewide office from ever having
      any type of political fundraising between 30 days before the
      legislature starts and 30 days after the legislature adjourns. So
      this coming year, we're supposed to be in session for only 60 days.
      That means that basically from the beginning of December until the
      end of March she or any other person would not be allowed to raise
      any money for political campaign funds. If I were to wait too long
      to make our decision known, that would handicap her or any other
      democrat that might want to run for governor.

      GS: Now that you've made the decision and you're committed to it,
      are you starting to have any regrets?
      GL: Still the right decision. I feel good about the decision, but I
      will truly miss the work of governor. It's a fantastic job. So yeah,
      there's some mixed emotion there. But it's still the right decision.

      GS: You were speaking as though by not seeking a third term, you
      were leaving behind politics forever. Is that really what you mean?
      GL: I have no idea what the future holds. I don't believe in
      planning or plotting any type of political career. As I indicated
      yesterday, I wasn't even sure that the opportunity to run for
      governor would ever present itself, but I was county executive at
      the time and my precedessor was halfway through his first term. Then
      after [I had spent] two years as county executive, Governor Lowry
      announced that he would not seek a second term.
      It was only eight months before the election. Everybody was
      expecting him to run for reelection. I assumed that he would run for
      two terms, serve his two terms. By then Mona and I were hoping to
      have a family and two or three kids and who knows what we're doing
      and whether running for office would be conducive to the life and
      schedule that we would have had with the kids. Campaigning
      statewide, running for governor for the first time, that's an
      incredible undertaking and it would very hard to do that and spend
      time with the children.
      We have two U.S. senators, great U.S. senators, friends of
      mine, both democrats. I have no idea how long they would want to
      serve in the United States Senate, and I will support them as long
      as they want to be U.S. senators. So six, eight years from now who
      knows what I'll be doing and whether it will ever be the right time
      to go back into politics.

      GS: If you were asked to be running mate to a presidential
      candidate, would you consider running in the 2004 election?
      GL: That would be very hard to imagine. Don't know that someone out
      here in the Pacific Northwest could get that much attention. But who
      know? It depends on who the nominee is and how compatible we are.
      Serving my country is something that I'm always going to do in one
      capacity or another. Even if I'm not back in elective office, I
      intend to be fully engaged in public policy and speaking out on the
      issues. Just because I'm not seeking a third term, it doesn't mean
      that's the end of Gary Locke in terms of being active in politics,
      speaking out on issues or being active in the community.

      GS: You had majored in poli sci at Yale. Had you made up your mind
      to enter politics?
      GL: Not at all. I was searching around for a major. At that time I
      was thinking about urban planning and happened to take some courses
      in political science, especially around developing countries, and
      some political history, reading about the Cuban missile crisis and
      some other events. I just loved reading behind the scenes accounts
      of what was happening in the Johnson Administration or in various
      governments around the world, so I became fascinated with world
      political history. That was around the time of the Vietnam War
      protests and the Civil Rights Movement and I did not like the
      violence that was occurring. I felt that we should seek change
      through the law.

      So I decided to go to law school and thought that I would go into a
      practice that would help advance civil rights issues through the
      legal system and help improve communities through the law. It wasn't
      until many years later, after being a lawyer, that I started getting
      involved in Asian American political organizations and causes
      calling for equality in hiring and making sure that the issues of
      the community were heard and protecting social services and human
      services that affected Asian Americans. Through that I started
      volunteering on people's campaigns and just helping out, licking
      envelopes, doorbelling, putting up signs for them -- and really
      enjoyed it.

      One day I had a chance to apply for a job as a lawyer for the state
      legislature and got hired. It was for just five months while the
      legislature was in session. I just came to realize that people in
      the legislature were everyday people from all walks of life, from
      all different backgrounds, and they were here because they wanted to
      make a difference in their communities. And I said, ¡§If they can do
      it, why not me?¡¨

      GS: What issues were you dealing with?
      GL: I was the attorney for the Higher Education Committee. I was
      also the editor for a booklet that summarized all the legislation
      that the senators were about to vote on.

      GS: Was that the point at which you began considering running for
      the state legislature?
      GL: Not until afterwards, but it was that exposure to Olympia and to
      government.

      GS: You've been quoted as saying that your hero is John Kennedy.
      You've been compared to Bill Clinton. How do you feel about that?
      GL: It's quite an honor in certain respects. I mean, Bill Clinton,
      President Clinton... First of all, the reason that I admire John F.
      Kennedy is I remember the speeches he gave: his inaugural address,
      his challenge to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade, his
      challenge to help developing countries and join the Peace Corps, his
      campaigns for physical fitness. There was a charm and a wit about
      him. And that was my first glimpse of political leaders.
      I think those early impressions last you a lifetime. But as a
      son of Chinese immigrants from Seattle, I never had a chance to meet
      or even come close to President Kennedy. And I remember, Oh, just
      how shocked I was... I was glued to the television set when he was
      assassinated. We were at school and everybody was sent home. For the
      next several days, just watching TV and watching his memorial
      service had a big impact on me.
      But of course I got to meet President Clinton. I've never come
      across a more eloquent, articulate speaker. I've never come across a
      man as brilliant or bright as President Clinton.

      GS: You are compared to him because you seem to be a centrist. You
      don't seem to share the positions of most Democrats.
      GL: I'm a pro-business democrat but also very much believe in the
      rights of labor and the benefits that organized labor have given us.
      So many things that we take for granted in the modern workplace and
      workday are because of the blood, sweat and tears of organized
      labor. We got the 40-hour week, vacations, health insurance
      benefits, unemployment benefits, workers compensation programs,
      pensions, and safety and health rules because of the blood, sweat
      and tears of labor. But I also know that we've got to provide jobs
      for people, and we've got to focus on economic development. And
      we've got to focus on education.

      I suppose I can be considered a liberal on many issues from a
      woman's right to choose to affirmative action to really expanding
      social service programs, especially for kids and seniors. I'm a
      centrist in terms of welfare reform. I believe in offering a hand to
      people in need. And Washington State has received so many awards
      year after year for how we've approached welfare reform. We don't
      kick people off in order to reduce caseloads. We reduce caseloads by
      helping people get a job, then a better job, then another job. And
      we provide subsidized childcare so that people can get a job and
      know that their families or their kids will be taken care of. So I'm
      liberal on some issues, support gay rights, but perhaps centrist on
      some others.

      GS: What do you think of the national welfare system?
      GL: Our state of Washington was broke. When the feds announced
      welfare reform, they took away a lot of benefits for immigrants. I
      thought that was contrary to everything that our country stands for.
      When we put together our welfare reform, we were not required to go
      along with the federal welfare reform. We had actually received an
      exemption from our previous governor to continue our old welfare
      system for the next ten or 15 years. But I believed in welfare
      reform. However I did not support how the federal government or
      congress had passed measures that took away assistance for
      immigrants.
      So as part of our welfare reform we used 100% state funds to
      continue benefits and provide other services to immigrants because I
      really believe that we're an immigrant nation. Except for native
      Americans, we're all immigrants whether we're first generation or
      tenth generation. Whether our ancestors came voluntarily or
      involuntarily. To deny benefits for immigrants who have been
      taxpayers, who are not U.S. citizens but are here legally, have
      contributed but are down and out and need some help -- how can we
      turn our backs on them?
      I'm really pleased that a few years later Congress has repealed
      some of those punitive measures and now restored some of those
      benefits to immigrants. Let me say one more thing: I disagree with
      the administration's proposal to the extension of the welfare reform
      law. I think they're being way too punitive in imposing so many
      restrictions and conditions on the states, on governments as well as
      recipients of public assistance, requiring people to work so many
      hours, or to engage in job search for so many hours at a time when
      there are fewer jobs available. That doesn't make sense. We've been
      very successful in moving peple off public assistance and helping
      them get jobs because of the flexibility that we have. What the
      administration is proposing by way of tougher conditions and more
      hoops and hurdles that everyone has to jump through and jump over
      and the more bureaucracy that will be required at the state level
      will, I think, undermine the success that all the states have had so
      far.

      GS: Why did you begin the Democratic Response to the State of the
      Union Address by talking about your family?
      GL: I think it's important for people to understand that who and
      what America is. That whether we're first or tenth generation, we're
      an immigrant nation and that we're all hear seeking opportunities
      and freedom. And people come to America in pursuit of freedom, hope
      and opportunity.

      GS: Was it a reflection of your awareness that you're the highest-
      ranking Asian American? Was it a reflection of the responsibility
      you felt as an Asian American addressing a national audience?
      GL: I thought it was important that they know who I am and a little
      bit of my background. But I also wanted to say that our family's
      journey is no different than the tens of millions of Americans out
      there, whether their parents or grandparents came from Ireland or
      Russia or Poland or Germany

      GS: Has race been a factor in any of your election campaigns?
      GL: No. I'm really pleased that we won by such wide margins, yet the
      Chinese American population in the state of Washington is only about
      three percent and the Asian American population is less than five
      percent. We won by such very decisive margins, almost 60% of the
      vote when I was reelected, 57% of the vote when I was first elected.

      GS: Despite that, do you feel any special pressure as the highest
      ranking or most visible Asian politician?
      GL: It's been my belief that I can blaze a trail for other Asian
      Americans to enter politics if I can chip away at the glass ceiling
      by being a good governor. And by being a good governor, the rest of
      America, the people in our state are much more receptive to more
      people of color running for political office. I openly admit that I
      have benefited from the success and the courageous efforts of other
      political leaders before me. Whether it's Dolores Sibonga who ran
      for Seattle City Council, Wing Luke who's the first Chinese American
      member of a major city council in America -- unfortunately, he died
      in a plane crash in the early 60s -- to Norm Mineta and Bob Matsui
      and Senator Inouye, Patsy Mink.

      All those individuals have helped blaze the trail and their acclaim
      and the success they enjoyed among their colleagues in Congress, the
      respect they have nationwide, have made it easier for me to run for
      office. And I hope that what I have accomplished will make it easier
      for even more Asian Americans to run for office.

      GS: Do you think an Asian American can be elected president?
      GL: Depends on the person. Depends on the qualities of the
      individual and the platform of that individual.

      GS: How about in 2008? Is that a realistic time for an Asian
      American to think about running for the presidency?
      GL: Given the mood of the country and the concerns that people have,
      I think it would be possible for an African American or an Asian
      American to run for president now, and clearly in 2008. It really
      depends on the characteristics, the charisma, the goals, the
      platform, of that particular person and also the situation that the
      country finds itself in.

      GS: Would you be in favor of a constitutional amendment to allow a
      naturalized citizen to run for president? I hadn't thought about
      that before. I'll have to give some thought to it.

      GS: One proposal would require 20 years of U.S. residence.
      GL: I was going to say that. Clearly we have a lot of people who
      were born in others countries who came over as children but who have
      basically grown up their entire lives in the United States. I don't
      know why they should be prohibited the opportunity or even America
      be denied the opportunity to benefit from their leadership.

      GS: There's apparently a movement to get Arnold Schwarzenegger to
      run for president in 2008.
      GL: [Laughs] But also people like [Michigan] Governor Jennifer
      Granholm who was raised all her life in the United States but was
      actually born in Canada.

      GS: Your official reason for not seeking a third term is your desire
      to have a normal family life.
      GL: I find it very hard ever to mow the lawn at our Seattle house. I
      love home projects and find very little time to do that.

      GS: You're Mr Fix-It?
      GL: I really love working with my hands and doing plumbing and
      wiring and construction and gardening and things like that.
      GS: What has your family sacrificed because you've been Governor all
      these years?
      GL: Well, we do live in a governor's residence where there are no
      next door neighbors.

      GS: Is that good or bad?
      GL: It would be nice to just walk out the door and chat with your
      neighbors and chew the fat and shoot the bull and for the kids to
      run around and just bop in and out with the kids down the street or
      next door and play. Wherever you go, the people in the state are
      absolutely terrific, offering their thoughts or just saying thanks
      for the great job or just asking about the kids. When you're out of
      politics, we can have a lot more privacy and more time for
      ourselves.

      GS: Mona was a successful TV journalist. What has she given up?
      GL: She actually has sacrificed an incredible amount. She gave up
      her career as soon as we announced that we decided to run for
      governor because it would be a conflict of interest to have her as a
      news reporter and me running for governor at the same time. She is
      so much more articulate, vivacious and outgoing, and just a really
      outstanding speaker.

      GS: What impact did being Governor have on your marriage?
      GL: It really brought us together because we campaigned together. We
      had only been married about two years or a year and a half when we
      decided to run for governor, so it was really an incredible
      experience to travel the state together. We really ran as a team.
      She was my confidant and advisor. We just did so much together that
      it really helped us bring us so much closer.

      GS: With all that togetherness, did you discover any things about
      one another that are hard to deal with?
      GL: It was a hotly contested democratic primary. I simply could not
      have gone through that primary without her being there. The
      emotional support was just incredible. It's hard to describe to
      people unless they've actually run for office in a grueling
      campaign. And being County Executive at the same time. Trying to do
      two things, then crisscrossing the state. That's why I say, had we
      had kids, young kids, at that particular time, we never would have
      taken on that task.

      GS: How did you meet Mona?
      GL: It was kind of a blind date. Two families brought us together.
      My legislative assistant and her husband knew a TV anchor that
      worked with Mona. So those two families invited us over for a dinner
      party, just us six.

      GS: What year was that?
      GL: I was in the state legislature at the time and Mona had just
      arrived in town. That was in January, February of 1992.

      GS: So you had been dating quite a while before you got married.
      GL: Actually we got married in October of '94, so we dated about two
      years.

      GS: Are you close to her family?
      GL: Yeah. Her brother lives up in the Seattle area, so our two
      families do a lot together.

      GS: How about your family?
      GL: My mom and dad still live in the same house that they moved to
      when I was six years old.

      GS: In the housing project?
      GL: We moved from the housing project to our own house when I was
      six years old.

      GS: How do you stay in shape?
      GL: Walking fast from one event to the next.

      GS: Is that it?
      GL: That's about it. I'm learning golf. Mona and I just took up golf
      about four and a half years ago, but we don't really have that much
      time to play golf with the kids and all.

      GS: Any other pastimes?
      GL: I like swimming, but it's very hard to find regularly scheduled
      exercise time with the schedule I have.

      GS: Are you a Mariners fan?
      GL: Yeah.

      GS: Why did they not make the playoffs?
      GL: [Laughs] They went in a big slump. The pitching was good. The
      bullpen kind of faltered a bit in the end. A lot of our key players,
      including Ichiro, went into a slump there for a while.

      GS: Do you have a prescription for next year?
      GL: No. Otherwise they'd hire me to be general manager or director
      of operations.

      GS: You've mentioned encouraging other Asian American to get into
      politics. Is there a special role that Asian Americans can play in
      the national dialogue?
      GL: I think our native cultures have emphasized respect for our
      elders, care of our elders, but also focusing on education. But my
      overall response is that Asian Americans are part and parcel of the
      great success of America. Our grandparents came over in the 1800s to
      work in the railroads, work the lumber camps, goldmines, worked in
      the canneries, farmland that most people thought could never raise a
      crop, worked as merchants in cities that were just emerging. They
      fought in world wars, died for our freedoms and our liberties. Asian
      Americans have given our blood, sweat and tears to the communities
      and to this country. There's a prosperity that we on the west coast
      enjoy. So much of the prosperity and progress of the western states
      is because of the blood, sweat and tears of Asian Americans. From
      doing the dirty work to fighting in our world wars and contributing
      to our society now as doctors, researchers, people in high tech, as
      innovators, in all different professions. We have every right,
      indeed a responsibility, to help set the policies that will move our
      communities and our nation forward.

      GS: We know you don't want to speculate, but if you did run and
      become President, what would your be your main goals, the things you
      really want to achieve as president?
      GL: [Laughs] I'm not thinking about that. I'm Governor of the state
      of Washington. What would I like any president to do? I think we
      need to focus on improving the educational system of our country. We
      need to solve the healthcare crisis in our country. We should not be
      giving trillions of dollars in tax cuts for the very wealthy when we
      need to provide prescription drug coverage to all seniors under
      medicare. We need to make sure every person has healthcare. I'm not
      advocating a nationalized system like Canada. There is no way that
      the most prosperous, innovative, advanced country cannot figure out
      a way to make sure that every person has healthcare.

      GS: We need to focus on the environment too. We need to focus on
      global warming. That's having a major impact on our state. We will
      see more floods in the winter. More droughts in the summer. Less
      water for drinking. Less water for fish. There are so many issues
      that the president needs to focus on, education, healthcare,
      environment.
      GL: And people want to work. Americans are hardworking people. They
      want jobs. They're willing to work. I love work. I love working with
      my hands and I love public policy. And I have cousins and uncles and
      aunts who build Boeing airplanes and people who are scientists and
      people who are Microsoft engineers and software developers. People
      want jobs. We've got to figure out how to get more people to work.

      GS: Speaking of Microsoft, people seem to think there's a special
      friendship between you and Bill Gates.
      GL: I've gotten to know Bill Gates over the years. A little bit
      before I was running for Governor. But I have really gotten to know
      him much more because Mona and Melinda Gates are friends. I
      appointed Melinda Gates and my wife Mona to co-chair the Governor's
      Commission on Early Learning. Since then Mona has created a separate
      501(c)(3) foundation from some initial seed funding from the Gates
      Foundation, but she's helped raise a lot of money on her own to help
      advance the work of the foundation.

      GS: There seems to be a lot of similarities between your views on
      social issues.
      GL: I think there are some similarities. I think Bill Gates and his
      father don't believe in these huge tax cuts. Certainly they don't
      believe in eliminating the inheritance tax. Bill Gates believes that
      he's going to give away most of his wealth and leave a little bit to
      his kids, but he expects his kids to learn the value of hard work.
      And he very much cares about healthcare issues across the world and
      is focusing on healthcare and reducing poverty around the world. But
      he's also focused on education and the power of technology to
      improve education.



      =================

      BIOGRAPHY:
      http://www.geocities.com/kin712hk/eng/index.htm
      http://www.geocities.com/kin712hk/eng/index.htm (video)

      GARY LOCKE was born into an immigrant family and spent his first six
      years in Seattle's Yesler Terrace, a public housing project for
      families of World War II veterans.

      He worked in his father's grocery store, became an Eagle Scout, and
      graduated with honors from Seattle's Franklin High School in 1968.
      Then, through a combination of part-time jobs, financial aid,
      and scholarships, Locke attended Yale University, where he received
      his bachelor's degree in political science in 1972.

      After earning a law degree from Boston University in 1975, he
      worked for several years as a deputy prosecutor in King County,
      prosecuting people for crimes such as robbery and murder. In 1982
      Locke was elected to the Washington State House of Representatives,
      where he served on the House Judiciary and Appropriations
      committees, with his final five years as chair of the House
      Appropriations Committee.

      Prior to his term as governor, Locke was elected chief executive of
      King County in 1993 and took on all of the challenges facing
      Washington's most complex urban area.

      He was first elected governor in 1996, making him the first Chinese-
      American governor in U.S. history. On November 7, 2000, he was
      reelected to his second term. As governor, he has worked to make
      Washington a better place to live, work, and raise a family by
      making the state's schools among the best in the nation;
      strengthening the state's economy with an efficient, effective
      transportation system and business climate; and making state
      government more accessible and user-friendly while ensuring it
      delivers to taxpayers the services they most need at a reasonable
      and sustainable cost.


      ---------------------

      BIOGRAPHY
      http://www.governor.wa.gov/bios/bio.htm


      Gov. Gary Locke was elected Washington's 21st governor on Nov. 5,
      1996, making him the first Chinese-American governor in U.S.
      history. On Nov. 7, 2000, Locke, a Democrat, was re-elected to a
      second term.

      As governor, Locke works to make Washington a better place to live,
      work and raise a family by:

      Promoting excellence in education.
      Strengthening the economy and creating jobs.
      Protecting families.
      Enhancing the environment.
      Advocating and modeling responsible government.
      Born into an immigrant family on Jan. 21, 1950, Locke spent his
      first six years in Seattle's Yesler Terrace, a public housing
      project for families of World War II veterans. He worked in his
      father's grocery store, became an Eagle Scout and graduated with
      honors from Seattle's Franklin High School in 1968. Through a
      combination of part-time jobs, financial aid and scholarships, Locke
      attended Yale University, earning a bachelor's degree in political
      science in 1972.

      After receiving his law degree from Boston University in 1975, he
      worked for several years as a deputy prosecutor in King County,
      prosecuting felony crimes. In 1982, Locke was elected to the
      Washington State House of Representatives, where he served on the
      House Judiciary and Appropriations committees, with his final five
      years spent as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

      Prior to being elected governor, Locke served as chief executive of
      King County in 1993 and took on the issues and challenges facing
      Washington's largest city.

      Locke and his wife, Mona Lee Locke, a former reporter for the NBC
      affiliate KING 5 television in Seattle, were married Oct. 15, 1994.
      The Lockes have two children—Emily, born in March 1997, and Dylan,
      born in March 1999.

      -------

      BIOGRAPHY: MONA LOCKE (WIFE)
      http://www.governor.wa.gov/bios/firstlady.htm


      First Lady Mona Locke is known for her dedication to her family and
      as a dynamic champion of issues related to children and families,
      with a special emphasis on early learning. She became Washington's
      20th First Lady on January 15, 1997.

      Mrs. Locke travels the state talking to parents and caregivers about
      issues related to caring for babies and toddlers. She also helped
      launch a multimillion-dollar public awareness campaign about the
      importance of a child's development during the first years of life.

      Mrs. Locke co-chaired the Governor's Commission on Early Learning
      with Melinda Gates and is founder of the Foundation for Early
      Learning, a non-profit organization working to ensure that every
      child enters school prepared to succeed. As chair of the
      foundation's board of directors, Mrs. Locke actively promotes the
      expansion of parental educational opportunities and works to raise
      the quality of childcare statewide.

      Mrs. Locke serves as honorary chair of Washington's SAFE KIDS
      Coalition; Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies; and the Hands On
      Children's Museum in Olympia. She is an advisory board member of
      Mothers Against Violence in America and honorary national board
      member of LISC/KICK, an organization designed to increase the
      quality of childcare centers across the country.

      Mrs. Locke supports the goals and work of First Spouse's across the
      country. She participates in the Scholastic Book Club's worldwide
      reading initiative by leading an annual statewide celebration to
      promote literacy. She has also worked with Habitat for Humanity,
      spearheading a Washington state "First Spouse's Build" project.

      Mrs. Locke co-produced and narrated an award-winning PBS documentary
      on early childhood education in China based on a cultural exchange
      trip she led to that country. Her delegation included 50 teachers,
      childcare providers and parent educators from five Pacific Northwest
      states.

      Mrs. Locke has worked as a television news reporter in Washington,
      DC; Green Bay, Wisconsin; and Seattle, Washington. She has a
      bachelor's degree in English literature from the University of
      California at Berkeley and a master's degree from Northwestern
      University's Medill School of Journalism.

      The Lockes have two children—Emily, born in March 1997, and Dylan,
      born in March 1999.

      =================

      Text: Democrats Respond to Bush's State of the Union
      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-
      srv/onpolitics/transcripts/demstext_012803.html


      Following is the text of the Democratic response to President Bush's
      State of the Union as delivered by Gov. Gary Locke of Washington
      state.


      Good evening. I'm Gary Locke, the governor of Washington state. It's
      an honor to give the response to President Bush on behalf of my
      family, my state, my fellow Democratic governors and the Democratic
      Party.

      Tonight, I'd like to offer our view of how to strengthen America.

      My grandfather came to this country from China nearly a century ago
      and worked as a servant. Now I serve as governor just one mile from
      where my grandfather worked. It took our family 100 years to travel
      that mile. It was a voyage we could only make in America.

      The values that sustained us--education, hard work, responsibility
      and family--guide me every day.

      I want every person to have the chance this country gave our family.
      But like many of you, I'm concerned about the challenges now before
      us.

      Tonight, President Bush spoke about the threats we face from
      terrorists and dictators abroad. Many of the young Americans who
      fought in Afghanistan, and who tonight are still defending our
      freedom, were trained in Washington state.

      We're so grateful to them, to all the members of our armed services
      and their families, and we pray for their safe return.

      But the war against terror is not over. Al Qaida still targets
      Americans. Osama bin Laden is still at large. As we rise to the many
      challenges around the globe, let us never lose sight of who attacked
      our people here at home.

      We also support the president in working with our allies and the
      United Nations to eliminate the threat posed by Saddam Hussein and
      Kim Jong Il of North Korea. Make no mistake: Saddam Hussein is a
      ruthless tyrant, and he must give up his weapons of mass
      destruction.

      We support the president in the course he has followed so far:
      working with Congress, working with the United Nations, insisting on
      strong and unfettered inspections.

      We need allies today in 2003, just as much as we needed them in
      Desert Storm and just as we needed them on D-Day in 1944, when
      American soldiers, including my father, fought to vanquish the Nazi
      threat. He must convince the world that Saddam Hussein is not
      America's problem alone; he's the world's problem. And we urge
      President Bush to stay this course, for we are far stronger when we
      stand with other nations than when we stand alone.

      I have no doubt that together, we can meet these global challenges.

      But to be strong abroad we need to be strong at home. And today, in
      too many ways, our country is headed in the wrong direction. We are
      missing the opportunity to strengthen America for the future.

      Democrats have a positive, specific plan to turn our nation around.

      Today, the economy is limping along. Some say it's a recovery, but
      for far too Americans, there's no recovery in our states and cities.

      There's no recovery in our rural communities. There's no recovery
      for working Americans and for those searching for jobs to feed and
      clothe their families.

      After gaining 22 million jobs in eight years, we've now lost 2
      million jobs in the last two years since President Bush took office;
      100,000 jobs lost last month alone.

      Two years ago, the federal budget was in surplus. Now, this
      administration's policies will produce massive deficits of over a
      trillion dollars over the next decade.

      These policies have powerful and painful consequences. States and
      cities now face our worst budget crises since World War II. We're
      being forced to cut vital services from police to fire to health
      care, and many are being forced to raise taxes.

      We need a White House that understands the challenges our
      communities and people are facing across America.

      We Democrats have a plan to restore prosperity, so the United States
      once again becomes the great job engine it was in the 1990s. It's
      rooted in three principles: It must give our economy an immediate
      jump-start; it must benefit middle-class families rather than just a
      few; and it must be fiscally responsible, so we have the savings to
      strengthen Social Security and protect our homeland.

      Our plan provides over $100 billion in tax relief and investments,
      right now. Tax relief for middle class and working families
      immediately.

      Incentives for businesses to invest and create jobs this year.
      Substantial help for cities and states like yours and mine now.
      Extended unemployment benefits without delay for nearly a million
      American workers who have already exhausted their benefits. And all
      without passing on the bill to our children and grandchildren
      through exploding budget deficits for years to come.

      Now, as you heard tonight, President Bush has a very different plan.
      We think it's upside down economics; it does too little to stimulate
      the economy now and does too much to weaken our economic future.

      It will create huge, permanent deficits that will raise interest
      rates, stifle growth, hinder home ownership and cut off the avenues
      of opportunity that have let so many work themselves up from
      poverty.

      We believe every American should get a tax cut. That's the way to
      create broad-based growth. But we shouldn't spend hundreds of
      billions of dollars on a plan that helps neither the economy nor the
      families that need it most, while making it harder to save Social
      Security and invest in health care and education.

      Think about it: Under the president's proposal to eliminate taxes on
      stock dividends, the top 1 percent--that's people who earn over
      $300,000 a year--would get more tax relief than the bottom 95
      percent of taxpayers combined. That's wrong, it's irresponsible and
      it won't create jobs.

      Let's choose the right course, the successful and fair course, for
      our economy.

      We have another urgent priority: homeland security. In this
      unprecedented fight against terror, the front lines are in our own
      neighborhoods and communities, and this one hits home.

      In 1999, an Al Qaida operative tried to enter my state with a trunk
      full of explosives. Thankfully, he was caught in time. Now, a year
      and a half after September 11th, America is still far too
      vulnerable.

      Last year Congress authorized $2.5 billion in vital new resources to
      protect our citizens: for equipment for firefighters and police, to
      protect ports, to guard against bioterrorism, to secure nuclear
      power plants and more.

      It's hard to believe, but President Bush actually refused to release
      the money. Republicans now say we can't afford it. The Democrats
      say: ``If we're serious about protecting our homeland, we can and we
      must.''

      Now, to strengthen America at home, there's much more to do. You and
      I know that education is the great equalizer, the hope of democracy
      and the key to the information economy of the future.

      In my state we have raised test scores, cut class sizes, trained
      teachers, launched innovative reading programs, offered college
      scholarships, even as the federal government cut its aid to
      deserving students.

      Democrats worked with President Bush to pass a law that demands more
      of our students and invests more in our schools. But his budget
      fails to give communities the help they need to meet these new, high
      standards.

      We say we want to leave no child behind, but our schools need more
      than kind words about education from Washington, D.C.; we need a
      real partnership to renew our schools.

      Tonight, we also heard the president talk about health care.

      Too many seniors can't afford the remarkable new drugs that can save
      their lives. Some are skimping on food to pay for needed medication.

      On this issue, the contrast is clear. Democrats insist on a Medicare
      prescription drug benefit for all seniors. President Bush says he
      supports a prescription drug benefit, but let's read the fine print.

      His plan only helps seniors who leave traditional Medicare. Our
      parents shouldn't be forced to give up their doctor or join an HMO
      to get the medicine they need. That wouldn't save Medicare; it would
      privatize it. And it would put too many seniors at too much risk
      just when they need the security of Medicare.

      And, finally, let's talk about the environment and energy.
      Environmental protection has been a tremendous bipartisan success
      story over three decades. Our air and water are cleaner. In
      communities in my state and yours, conservation is a way of life.
      But the administration is determined to roll back much of this
      progress.

      Our nation should lead global efforts to promote environmental
      responsibility, not shun them. And instead of opening up Alaska's
      wilderness to oil drilling, we should be committed to a national
      policy to reduce our dependence on oil by promoting American
      technology and sustainability.

      Yes, the Republican Party now controls the executive branch and both
      houses of Congress, but we Democrats will hold the administration
      and congressional leaders accountable.

      We will work to create jobs and strengthen homeland security. We
      will fight to protect a woman's right to choose, and we will fight
      for affirmative action, equal opportunity and diversity in our
      schools and our workplaces.

      Above all, we will demand that this government advance our common
      purpose and not pander to narrow special interests.

      That's the vision of the Democratic Party, in statehouses, in
      Congress, and in the homes of millions of Americans. We believe it's
      the best course for our nation. It's the vision we will work for,
      and stand for, in the coming years.

      This is not an easy time. But I often think about my grandfather,
      arriving by steamship 100 years ago.

      He had no family here. He spoke no English. I can only imagine how
      he must have felt as he looked out at his new country.

      There are millions of families like mine, people whose ancestors
      dreamed the American dream and worked hard to make it come true.
      They transformed adversity into opportunity.

      Yes, these are challenging times, but the American family, the
      American dream, has prevailed before. That's the character of our
      people and the hallmark of our country.

      The lesson of our legacy is, if we work together and make the right
      choices, we will become a stronger, more united and more prosperous
      nation.

      Good night and God bless America.
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