It is an honor to be back at CCSU, the institution that both my parents taught at for over 30 years. I grew up on this campus. It is because of this campus and many of you here today that I chose to become an educator.
For the past two months I have been on a listening tour across Northwestern Connecticut.
I've heard the concerns of parents whose children are graduating college with strong grades, but have no employment opportunities in Connecticut.
I've heard workers worried about their livelihoods being shipped overseas.
I've spoken to veterans returning from foreign wars who cannot find employment, and have difficulty accessing the services to which they're entitled.
Here in Connecticut - the wealthiest state in the Union - career politicians in Hartford argue over which jobs and benefits to cut.
The bustling and prosperous Connecticut of my youth, with the busy towns such as Waterbury and New Britain, have fallen on difficult times. Local farms have been shuttered, our roads have decayed, our schools are deteriorating through inadequate investment.
We stand at a crossroads, as a state and as a nation. Together we must make a choice to become the generation that builds an American economy for the 21st century and creates high paying jobs that will not be outsourced. The generation that shows to the world why America is and shall forever be an exceptional country.
I've heard from the people of the Fifth District that they do not want more of the same.
They do not want another career politician who will gamble away our future with representation that does not understand the challenges facing the people of our state. We cannot afford to elect a representative who is not familiar with the global economy, with the wars that claim our youth in remote deserts, with the complex global challenges that batter and beat the people of Connecticut.
This is why after two months of listening to the people of Northwestern Connecticut, I have decided to seek the Democratic nomination for Congress in the Fifth Congressional District.
For a century and a quarter my family has positively contributed to the civic life of our state. The history of my family is your history - it is our shared history as Nutmeggers.
My great-grandfather came here in search of the opportunity to work hard to build a better life for his family. What he found astounded him, and the future he built was indeed bright - it is because four generations of my family have worked hard to live the American dream, that I am able to stand before you today.
I am proud to put aside my career as an educator and foreign policy expert to serve you. I believe that our future can be brighter than our past if we choose the right path. I'm Mike Williams and I'm running for Congress.
America is an exemplary country, but we didn't get here by being complacent. Our journey has never been an easy one. This is one of the most trying times in our history, but we as a nation have always risen to meet the challenge.
Meeting this challenge today means creating a 21st century economy, a first-rate educational system, and a responsible and sensible foreign policy.
Our federal government must lead this charge and incentivize 21st century high paying, skilled manufacturing jobs that won't be outsourced to our cheaper competitors.
The government must create the conditions for small businesses to thrive. We must reduce the burden on inventors and entrepreneurs so that we can harness their economic potential. We must prioritize technologies of the future and alternative energy production in order to create a nation rooted in sustainable capitalism.
We cannot alone rely on the ingenuity of Americans to push us forward; we must also push for a better education system.
Let us create a system of early childhood education that is the best in the world, giving kids the ability to succeed.
Let us implement a stronger vocational-technical system that enhances our ability to create and keep high-paying, 21st century manufacturing jobs here in America.
Let us reform our universities so that quality higher education is accessible to all.
Balancing the budget on the backs of our children through cuts in education is nonsensical. We cut our nose to spite our face. Investing in the future is money well spent.
We must do the same for our veterans. The GI bill holds great promise for the defenders of our nation, and it must continue to inspire hope and meet the demands of our soldiers as well. Our veterans are returning home from service in our name, and cannot find employment. We can provide a quality education for them to reach their full potential - it is simply a question of will.
At this time, when we weigh our priorities and expenses, we must re-evaluate our military engagements abroad. America is strongest when we are the exemplars of our ideals, and not the enforcers of them. We must not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy, but rather confront them with our global influence rather than the barrel of a gun.
America won the Cold War not because of tanks, guns or missiles. We won the Cold War because we had a better system of government, a better economy and a more open society. The world wanted to be like us. We did not have to force people to change - they did so willingly.
As a great American, John Quincy Adams, once said - America is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.
Today I make a promise to you: I will run a campaign based on ideas and vision. I won't give you talking points and empty promises. Policy isn't explained in 15 words. You deserve better.
In the coming days, weeks and months, I will roll out dynamic policies on creating a new, sustainable economy by utilizing conventional business models to drive investment in alternative energies without raising taxes.
I will release our education policy, which will outline how we will equip our next generation with the skills they need to outperform the global competition. I will address the inequities of No Child Left Behind, reinforce vocational skills in higher education, and push for stronger universal early education that fosters learning from an early age, and lessens child dependency on the state. I will advocate Federal training grants to allow professionals, such as nurses, to pursue further educational opportunities, creating a strong and dynamic medical workforce.
I remember when a road used to pass through the middle of this campus, between what is now the campus center and the Technology department. Things have changed a great deal on this campus, but this school and this state have always stood on the right side of progress.
Long before that road or this building, a different path crossed this ground. Through this campus the Underground Railroad once ran, ushering many would-be Americans towards a new life of dignity and respect never before known to them. The promise of better days coursed across this campus long before this hall was ever created. In one of America's darkest hours, when we were closest to losing our Union, this state served as a gateway to the freedoms we celebrate today.
We have a proud heritage in this state. But one that is in decline.
It is time, our time, to rally together, together as one nation to temper the ills that confront us. We must be united or we shall fail.
Our future is a shared future - a future in which the aspirations of the wealthiest Americans are not divisible for the poorest. A future where the rights of one are not excluded from the other. A future in which your own abilities, and not your station at birth, determine your opportunities.
I need your help. I will listen to all and engage in discussion. America has shown that through reasoned discourse and sober thought, that no bridge is too far or mountain too high. And most importantly, I promise to always stand for you, keeping your well-being always in my heart and as my foremost responsibility.
If America is to ensure her greatness for the next century, we must be the ones to drive her forward. Let's start the journey now, let's start the journey together.
God Bless you, and God Bless the United States of America.