NEW: Gomez U.S. Senate Campaign Kick-off Speech
Thursday, February 28, 2013
Mi nombre es Gabriel Gomez, no soy un político, y estoy corriendo para senador de los Estados Unidos.
For those of you who don’t speak Spanish, my name is Gabriel Gomez…I’ve never been in politics before…and I’m running for the United States Senate.
You may wonder why it is that I began in Spanish. Well, it’s an old habit. My parents emigrated from Colombia the year before I was born. My mom spoke no English at the time, so I learned Spanish first.
I then learned English quickly in school and eventually my Mom also learned English, mainly by going to the grocery store and talking to neighbors.
America’s first immigrants – the Pilgrims -- landed here in Massachusetts. My parents were right behind them…344 years later they landed at LAX. Even though the Pilgrims beat my parents to America, my family came to America with the exact same dream the first settlers had.
It was the American dream of freedom and opportunity, and the chance to achieve success regardless of race, gender, or social status.
I have that old fashioned view that if you come to America, you need commit yourself to the IDEA of America…one nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.
As a kid growing up in Yakima, Washington, we were your typical middle class family…except that our last name was Gomez.
My dad’s job was selling hops to beer companies. There are many days where I think I should have followed in his footsteps, or at least sampled more of his product.
Instead, I felt a calling from an early age to serve my family’s adopted country and ended up applying to the US Naval Academy.
My four years as a Midshipman reinforced in me one of the core values that I had already learned from my parents – that it is greater to serve others than to be served. More than anything else, that is the ethic I have tried to live my life by.
I graduated from the Naval Academy- but I never left the Naval Academy- or the values it taught me. I went through the Navy flight school and I became a Navy pilot, flying on and off aircraft carriers.
You may remember, the movie TOP GUN had just come out, ICE MAN was already taken, but LT Gomez had a nice ring to it.
And even though things were going great, I felt called to a different mission as a Naval Officer. I decided I wanted to become a Navy SEAL. My Commanding Officer tried to talk me out of it. He said less than 20% of those accepted for SEAL training actually made it through…and if I didn’t make it, I would lose my pilot wings. I did it anyway. I’ve never wanted to look back and have any regrets.
I am very proud of my service as a Navy SEAL, but the highlight occurred during my first SEAL detachment when I met a beautiful young woman named Sarah. She was a Peace Corps volunteer in the West Indies teaching at a school for children with special needs.
Talk about an odd couple. But if you think about it – the Peace Corps and the Navy SEALS are two of the best things America has to offer.
Sarah and I have now been married for over 17 years and moved to Cohasset 12 years ago, where we live today with our 4 kids and 2 dogs. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for Sarah’s support, wisdom and love. (let’s give Sarah a hand!)
When I left the SEAL teams, I went to Harvard Business School, and began a career in the private sector.
I have lived the American dream - an immigrant’s kid, who gets an opportunity to serve in the Navy, and then a chance to build a career…that’s the beauty of America.
I don’t think my parents even in their wildest dreams could have imagined that their son would have so many amazing opportunities.
I’ve spent 15 years in the investment business where we do all we can to help companies grow.
The most satisfying part of my job has been managing, investing and working to grow the retirement funds on behalf of public servants – to help create financial security for firefighters, police officers, teachers – many of them right here in Massachusetts. These are the people who have dedicated years of service to their communities and deserve a good retirement.
But I gotta tell ya, as a business man, if I were evaluating the federal government today, I would say that it is an overextended, bloated organization that literally has no budget, runs at a significant annual loss, and is $16 trillion in debt.
I would never invest pension funds for Massachusetts public employees in a company like that.
Yet we all are invested in that Government – and it’s time to fix it!
When I look at Washington I see non-stop bickering. I see a dysfunctional, partisan atmosphere.
America deserves better. Our country has problems and we need problem solvers.
That’s why I am running.
When I first announced my intention to run, many complained that they had never heard of me, that I haven’t been very active in politics. Guilty. As. Charged. It’s true. I’m not a politician. I don’t know all the political lingo – and I don’t want to.
I want to have candid and open conversations with real people. I want to serve with common sense and straight talk.
What a great country. Anyone, even a son of immigrants, can step up and run for office.
There will be times in this campaign when I will appear confused about politics. For instance,
I’m confused why the US Senate has not produced a single budget in over four years.
I’m confused how the federal government consistently spends more money than it has.
I’m confused by politicians who attack each other rather than looking for common ground.
And I’m confused why we the voters continue to put up with it
When you run for office people in politics immediately try to hang labels on you. They ask you – are you a conservative? a liberal? a moderate?
Well, my response is this – No – I’m a Navy Guy.
I am a businessman. I am a Husband. I am a Dad. I am an American.
Sure, I’m running as a Republican, but I’m a new kind of Republican. Obviously as a Republican I hold some conservative views…but I’m an independent thinker, and I have no interest in going to Washington to engage in partisan trench warfare.
We have enough folks doing that already. I’m not afraid to work with people who disagree with me.
So having said all that, you’re probably wondering ‘why is he doing this?’ Let me tell you of a recent conversation I had with a Navy buddy of mine.
He called me the other day after hearing that I’m running for the Senate. He asked me if I had lost my mind.
(Sarah has asked me this many times over the years)
He said that politics is dirty, they will smear your good name, and that the very worst part is that if you win, you have to go to Washington and swim in that cesspool.
Well, as a Navy SEAL, I’m a pretty good swimmer, and I’ve swum in worse conditions.
But while I appreciate my buddy’s concern for me and I also realize that his view is held by too many Americans today.
I do not take this step lightly. I understand how nasty politics has become. But I know who I am and I know what I believe in.
My reply to my Navy buddy was this – if everyone takes that attitude, and we leave our country’s politics to the politicians, we will get more of the same. We will get what we have right now – dysfunction, gridlock, and failure. So I told him I’d rather try, even if I fail, than to simply stay in the bleachers complaining.
My friend then said I was naïve – maybe so.
Call me naïve because I think that our government doesn’t have to fail us.
Call me naïve because I believe that we don’t have to keep running our country deeper and deeper into debt.
Call me naïve because I believe that both parties in Washington can work together if they have the courage to try.
And call me naïve because I believe that it doesn’t have to be this way.
The simple fact is that if we are going to preserve the American dream for future generations, we have to get our government spending under control, and focus on our economy.
There is one place where the economy is doing better than the rest of the country – and that place is Washington DC.
The government business is booming: the lobbying business is booming, the special interest business is booming. Washington is doing great, but the rest of the country is still struggling.
Today, there are thousands of lobbyists in DC. And many of them are former congressmen, senators, and staffers.
Here’s an idea – how about passing a law that says if you serve as a congressman or a senator, you can never become a lobbyist? What would be wrong with that? You can be a public servant, or you can be a lobbyist, but you can’t be both.
And while we are at it, how about this – term limits for politicians. The president is term limited. Why not do the same for Congressmen and Senators? Let them come back home and live under the laws they have created. Let them actually live in the communities they have been serving.
It might be good for them, and it might give America the opportunity to phase out career politicians. It would give us the chance to get some new blood, some new thinking, and some fresh ideas in Washington.
Let me finish up with just a few observations.
Too many in Congress are entrenched in their ideological positions.
I will endeavor to be a voice for bipartisanship, reasonableness and common sense.
Sending yet another career politician to the Senate would be more of the same.
So today, I’m simply asking that you give me a fair chance in this campaign.
Ask yourself: is this addiction to debt as good as our government can be?
Ask yourself: is this the best we can do?
Ask yourself: is the path Congress has put us on a path you can in good conscience leave to your kids?
You and I know that Congress has failed us.
You and I know this path is unsustainable.
You and I know our country is better than its politics.
To me and my family, America is still that shining city on the hill – America is still exceptional.
It’s time to hit the refresh button, so please join our campaign for change.
Thank you and God bless the United States.
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