|Photo by John Arundel |
Barack Obama at the Prince William County Fairgrounds four years ago, on the eve of the historic 2008 presidential election.
By Brian Moran
ALEXANDRIA, VA. - This weekend President Barack Obama will took the stage at Virginia Commonwealth University and officially kicked off his re-election campaign. On the eve of the first day of the president's re-election campaign, it's important for each of us to take an objective look back at where we were as a country when the president took office and how far we've come since then.
It is also important to examine the alternative Republican vision for our country as we prepare for this historic election.
|Photo by John Arundel |
Del. Brian Moran speaking at The Jefferson
Jackson dinner in Richmond.
When President Obama took office we were losing 700,000 jobs a month and our economy was spiraling out of control. From day one, he took swift action to address the immediate jobs crisis. He brought us back from a financial abyss and restored our faith in American ingenuity and enterprise. As a result, we've seen nearly 3.6 million new jobs added to the private sector, and more than two years of consecutive job growth.
As the recovery began, President Obama recognized that a sustained recovery required building a stronger middle class and creating more opportunity for more people. Immediately he began to lay the foundation for an economy that's built to last, where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share and everyone plays by the same rules. He invested in transportation, doubled Pell Grants and expanded education funding, cut taxes for 95 percent of working families, increased funding for veterans' health care and fought for returning servicemen and women with tax credits and other incentives for hiring veterans.
From health reform that has made insurance more accessible and affordable for millions of Americans, to student loan reforms and new rules for Wall Street, the president has made strengthening and growing the middle class a priority, so that as we recover from the recession, our economy will work for all Americans again.
President Obama has also fought to ensure that everyone has a shot at the American dream. In fact, the very first bill he signed into law was the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act — a huge victory for women's rights and for the economic security of middle-class families.
While the president has fought for women's equality, Mitt Romney and Republicans like George Allen and Gov. Bob McDonnell have been fighting to strip away women's rights. Romney and Allen supported legislation that would allow employers to deny their female employees health coverage for any reason, including for mammograms, prenatal care and cancer screenings. McDonnell signed legislation that will force an unnecessary ultrasound on Virginia women before they undergo a legal abortion. Romney and Allen also support personhood legislation, which could go so far as to ban birth control and fertility treatments.
Elections are choices, and in this case the choice is clear. The president comes to Virginia with a record of keeping his promises and putting our commonwealth and our country on the path forward once again. Romney and the Republicans have opposed nearly every bit of the progress we've made together and are vowing to undo most of it the minute they are sworn in. They are already spending millions on false attacks and trying to distract Virginians from their own disastrous records. No amount of spin will change the fact that this president has overseen 25 straight months of private-sector job growth and has made record investments in economic opportunity, particularly for the middle class. But that won't stop them from trying.
Even here in Virginia, Republican politicians such as McDonnell often engage in political jiu-jitsu by attacking President Obama's agenda while claiming credit for our share of a nationwide economic recovery. Just this month McDonnell sent a statement touting positive jobs numbers without mentioning that Virginia has benefited from the investments and actions of a federal government led by President Obama.
As Obama, Romney and their surrogates make their case to Virginians in the months to come, it's important to remember the simple truths about this election. No matter what attacks, falsehoods and fabrications Republicans conjure up in their campaign against our president, the fact remains that the American people hired Barack Obama to do a job — and that job is getting done. In the face of enormous obstacles we have begun to move forward once again as a country under the steady leadership of this president.
As Virginians evaluate that record against the divisive, distracting and downright dangerous agenda that Romney, McDonnell, Allen and others are running on, I am confident that Election Night 2012 will be another joyous one for President Obama and our Democratic Party.
Brian Moran is a former Democratic State Delegate, representing Alexandria.