News release from former Democratic candidate for Indiana State Auditor, Sam Locke:
Former Indiana Statewide candidate Sam Locke calls on new generation of Democrats to lead
(South Bend, March 8, 2011) – Over the weekend, former Indiana Statewide Candidate Sam Locke joined Congressman Joe Donnelly, Indiana Democratic Party Chairman Dan Parker, numerous elected officials and candidates, and members of the College Democrats of Indiana at their annual Kennedy-Obama Dinner. The event, held at the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, brought students together from universities around the state in discussion of the role of young people in Indiana politics.
Following remarks by Congressman Donnelly and Chairman Parker, Locke discussed a number of the issues facing Democrats in Indiana, citing specifically the current stranglehold Republicans have over every statewide office, both houses in the Indiana General Assembly, and the majority of Indiana Congressional seats. He pointed to recent, controversial legislation as a consequence of Republican unilateral control. In light of these challenges, Locke offered that “a new day is fast approaching in Indiana politics, and [this generation] is going to make it happen.”
Locke recounted successes from 2008, wherein the College Democrats of Indiana knocked on over 80,000 doors, made more than 130,000 phone calls, and registered a staggering 36,000 new voters, turning Indiana blue for the first time in decades. He urged those in attendance to forge a new role in moving the Democratic Party forward by not only volunteering and voting, but increasing their efforts and even considering a run for public office.
Locke stated, “When it comes to transforming the political system, building upon generations of Democrats and making our party a force to be reckoned with, we’re ready.” Locke’s words were met with a standing ovation, many of the students staying long after the speech to speak with him about the upcoming elections and youth involvement. Logan Souder, President of the Indiana University College Democrats, agreed with Locke’s assessment of young people in politics, stating, “Sam’s speech really captured what’s great about both our party and our generation. All of us in this organization hope that he isn’t done. We really want to see him step up and run again.”
In closing, Locke shared a message for the Republican leadership, saying:
I close tonight with a message aimed at Governor Daniels, Speakers Bohener and Bosma, and Mike Pence. A message aimed at Richard Lugar or Richard Mourdock. A message aimed at Jackie Walorski, Todd Rokita, Marlin Stutzman, and Larry Buschon. A message aimed at Todd Young. To these and the other Republicans who would rather tear our communities apart than build them up, to those who believe it’s better to marginalize our neighbors than to include them: I HOPE YOU ARE READY…because we will not sit back idly and wait any longer. The mantle is ours to carry. Here we come.
The full text of Locke’s speech:
REMARKS BY SAM LOCKE
COLLEGE DEMOCRATS OF INDIANA KENNEDY-OBAMA DINNER
SATURDAY, MARCH 5, 2011
It’s truly exciting to be here. This group, because of what you embody, and because of the work you have done on my behalf in the past, means the world to me. I was so touched to have received the invitation to speak with you this evening.
I need to be upfront about a few things. At most of my speaking engagements over the past few years I have felt like the young guy with way too much energy. Sometimes, I felt like I was forcing excitement on the crowd. Tonight, speaking in front of the most enthused
group of Democrats in our State, I started, instead, to become a little self-conscience of the gray hair beginning to peak through up top, and – dare I say it – I even feel a little old. But I hope you’ll indulge me for the night, and let me include myself loosely in the term “our generation” as we talk about the issues we have before us. Secondly, I hope you aren’t expecting a vanilla presentation of focus-group tested ideas free of controversy, you might leave disappointed.
As I was preparing to speak with you all this evening, I kept coming back to this idea of the power that lies in a single day. In politics, one day is immeasurably important. When it comes to elections and campaigns, politicians and strategists make their decisions based on
winning the day – being on top of the poll of the moment or earning positive press coverage by the time the sun sets. We calculate and prepare our messages in hopes that we can stay ahead of the ever-evolving 24-hour news cycle. And, the other side of course, is it can take just one day for it all to come crashing down: just ask any of the former public servants who were marred by what started as a single day’s breaking news.
Don’t get me wrong, things don’t have to be crassly strategic – I, like I suspect many of you, have grown tired of the over-planned and over-prepped politicians that dominate both sides of our political landscape. We have also grown tired of one-day’s worth of news unfairly judging the service and devotion of an otherwise well-intended
Sometimes, it takes just one day for the most extraordinary things to happen, as well. It was August 28, 1963, when Dr. King stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, in the shadow of one of our greatest presidents, and shared his dream for a world of equality. This dream, and the promise that it captured, changed the course of history forever. Dr. King was just 34 years old when he delivered these remarks that would shape political philosophies for generations to come.
As we reflect on the recent and final launch of the Space Shuttle program, we are reminded that it was in a
single moment in July of 1969 that the first person tread across the surface of the moon, showing us that our hopes and aspirations could be within reach, no matter how impossible they seemed. This “giant leap for mankind” confirmed that innovation would lead us to brighter days, and that chasing the impossible could lead to accomplishments beyond imagination. Neil Armstrong was under 40 when he accomplished this remarkable feat.
More recently, it was on one November day, that hundreds of thousands of voters – young and old, of every race and background – came together in local churches and schools to cast a vote for our first African American president, and in doing so, turned the state of Indiana blue for the first time in 40 years.
There are a few theories out there on why Indiana turned Blue that day. The cynic might argue that now-President Obama invested millions more dollars in Indiana than others have – reinforcing the sad and scary belief that fundraising prowess is the only path to electoral success. “Old-school” politicos might give Hillary Clinton credit. After all, had we not fought a full-blown Primary in Indiana, neither candidate would have had the exposure they needed to win again later in the year. I think a third theory is true. When you slice and dice the numbers, look at where we were successful and where the margins were most in our favor, the answer becomes pretty clear. Indiana was Blue in 2008 because of YOU.
As we join together tonight, we find ourselves in a moment just as critical, though perhaps not as obviously so, as the ones I’ve described, a moment saturated in possibility. Tonight, we have the opportunity to commit, gathered amongst like-minded friends, to not settle for status-quo and sterile ideas any longer, we can choose to reject pandering to the right, and we can challenge the idea that we have to keep looking to the same faces to lead us in the right direction. We have before us tonight a chance to say that a new day is fast approaching in Indiana politics, and we are going to be the generation to make it happen.
Our current political reality points toÂ the urgency of our work, of the obligation we have to step-up and double-down our efforts. As you know, Republicans hold the Governor’s Office, both houses in the General Assembly, and a majority of our Congressional seats. The ink is yet to dry as pundits have begun to write of the “death of the Indiana Democratic Party”. The consequences of this kind of unilateral control have been extremely clear over the last few weeks.
One after another, controversial pieces of legislation are making their way through the Statehouse. Issues like immigration and gay marriage have taken the spotlight – issues that require thoughtful and deliberate consideration. But rather than working together on what’s best for all Hoosiers, Republicans just want to pushÂ their bills through. We’ve seen legislation that seeks to create a government so powerful it would prevent women from making medical decisions over their own body, and we’ve even seen a so-called right to work bill that devalues the very people who have literally built our state over the course of its rich history. Rather than bringing everyone to the table, our Republican legislators just keep on pushing. This is the kind of radical, discriminatory leadership that has taken over in Indiana, and it seeks to forever set back the progress of the many great Democrats who have gone before us, fighting not just for working class Hoosiers, but for ALL Hoosiers.
Things are so bad at the capitol in Indianapolis, we might be tempted to look away. Maybe in Washington, the world’s image of a
civilized government, things are going better. Sadly, we find Republicans – riding into power on their empty promise to create jobs – instead focused on nickle and dime spending cuts rather than finding a bi-partisan way to finally tackle entitlement reform or finding innovative ways to boost small businesses and domestic manufacturing. We find an energy policy that has gas approaching $4.00 a gallon, and, perhaps worst – we’ve discovered a Republican majority who arrogantly panders to the powerful elitists that led us to the economic meltdown we faced just a few years ago. A number of our Indiana Representatives have even decided that, at a time when we should be striving to improve education and make it more affordable, they would rather cut funding to Pell Grants that make college possible for those who might have had no other way. Rather than working for a brighter future for Indiana and our country, Republicans just keep on pushing.
There must be better news? There are surely Young Democrats serving in these bodies leading the charge for a new way of doing business. After all, around 70% of people under the age of 30 associate themselves with OUR Party, they align with the ideals WE embody. By the next election, we will be almost a third of the electorate. Our representative democracy must include us somewhere, right?
Sadly, despite our mass and power, both nationally and locally – both in the power structures in our Party and in our great legislative bodies, that representation is not evident. In our Party, we find a power-structureÂ designed to be nearly in-penetrable by up-starts seeking to involve fresh faces and ideas.
While misrepresentation of young people is certainly a bi-partisan issue, it makes me especially sad to report that the two easiest examples of young legislative leaders are both playing for the wrong team. In the Indiana General Assembly we’ve got Northern Indiana’s own ultra-conservative Timothy Wesco representing the only voice of our generation. In Congress, 535 members strong, the only voice of our age group is 29 year old Republican Aaron Schock. The young people in this room, the YoungÂ Democrats around our state and in our country, need to forge a new role for ourselves within our party. We’re ready.
In light of what seems like challenging losses and difficult barriers for our Party, the pundits, Republicans, and even some of our own have forgotten that in the wings sits a group of young people who are ready to meet the challenges facing us today. Friends, it is on our shoulders, as the next generation of Democrats and Hoosiers, to lead the way forward. It’s time we push back.
Critics keep saying that 2008 was a fluke. They keep saying that the 80,000 doors we knocked on, the 130,000 phone calls we made, and the 30,000 new voters we registered was a one time thing. They think we won’t do it again, but, we’re ready.
They keep saying that sure we’ll go to rallies and get riled up, but we won’t vote, and we definitely won’t step up and run for office. They keep saying that our generation isn’t ready to lead…but look around this room, we’re ready.
When it comes to transforming the political system…building upon generations of Democrats and making our party a force to be reckoned with…we’re ready.
But its not just about us, because we recognize there is already an even newer generation taking form behind us. When it comes to taking responsibility – to owning and fixing our nation’s problems once and for all – WE ARE READY.
I close tonight with a message aimed at Governor Daniels, Speakers Bohener and Bosma, and Mike Pence. A message aimed at Richard Lugar or Richard Mourdock. A message aimed at Jackie Walorski, Todd Rokita, Marlin Stutzman, and Larry Buschon. A message aimed at Todd Young. To these and the other Republicans who would rather tear our communities apart than build them up, to those who believe it’s better to marginalize our neighbors than to include them: I HOPE YOU ARE READY…because we will not sit back idly and wait any longer. The mantle is ours to carry. Here we come. Thank you very much.